Setting up a fully functioned WordPress site can be a daunting task. It goes from choosing the right web host to picking out a good theme, implementing the installation process, adding essential plugins then putting in your content. All things checked then your site is ready to be launched.
Thing, however, is far from stopping here. What goes beyond having your site up and running is another list of tasks you need to fulfill at a regular basis. This often involves your site’s security, maintenance, SEO and functions. Who would forget or ignore those such important things. I hope nobody does. Choose to ignore those if you like but that would cause you serious harms. In today tutorial blog, we have a checklist right here for you to make sure everything falls into place from the get-go.
- Optimize your general settings
- Reinforce your security
- Word on your SEO optimization
- Prevent spam comments
- Plan your publishing schedule
- Check RSS Feed settings
- Keep track of your site’s performance
- Back up everything
1. Optimize your general settings
In the settings section of your WordPress admin panel, here are some options you should pay special attention to:
- Set up Permalinks/ Pretty Links
Title and tagline identify your brand and let readers as well as search engines classify your blog into a proper field. Therefore, be choosy when picking your blog’s “name and profile” as they would also affect your SEO results. The timezone in WordPress is set to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) by default. Remember to change this setting if you live in another area of the world.
No one likes an ugly URL as
http://example.com/?post=1. Something as
http://example.com/checklist-for-new-wordpress-site-owner is much prettier and more human-readable. You can change how your URLs look by navigating to Settings >> Permalinks then fill in your preferred link structure in the Custom structure field. Category and tag can also be added into the links.
2. Reinforce your security
Nothing is worse than having your site hacked at its very debut. Hence, tightening your safety measures comes first in the priority list. You can apply many techniques to secure your site. Yet the most urgent task is changing your admin URL path. The default /wp-admin path and administrator account as “admin” are too predictable. Change them to something else so that it is harder to guess.
Next, limit the number of failed login attempts to prevent hackers from repeatedly guessing your password. More on other security approaches can be read at our detailed blog about Tips to enhance your WordPress site security. And choose to start learning how to handle a WordPress security attack to get yourself well prepared beforehand.
3. Work on your site SEO
Attracting organic traffic to your site from the very start is the right tactic to go for. The more your blog is optimized for SEO, the betterweb crawler/spider evaluate your content and the higher you are going to stay on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). We would highly recommend the SEO plugin by Yoast for any WordPress site as it is useful and easy to use, even for beginners.
Among a list of cool features, it helps optimize your titles and meta descriptions for posts, pages, categories, tags and other custom post types, custom taxonomies. This plugin also create and submit XML Sitemap of your blog to a variety of search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com. That Sitemap provides a list of pages and metadata on your site to make sure the search engines know your blog inside out. You can read more on how to install and configure Yoast plugin in our blog here.
4. Prevent spammy comments
Spammy comments make your site look bad, especially for a newly launched blog that is still on its way to seek for community’s recognition. So make sure all comments on your blog are thoroughly filtered. Akismet is the reliable WordPress plugin for this anti-spam purpose. It is integrated by default in the WordPress installation package. All you have to do is active this plugin and enjoy its work. Every comment, trackback or pingback is sent to Akismet service for testing and analysis. It saves you from the burden of monitoring and manually deleting every spammy comment on your blog.
5. Plan your publishing schedule
Most bloggers prefer to schedule their posts for a proper timing rather than publishing them right after they finish. Thankfully, WordPress has the scheduled post option that comes in handy for this. However, when your blog relies mainly on fresh content to drive traffic, you need a more advanced tool to plan everything out. Or I may say an “editor calendar plugin” to be exact. Using plugins would help you visualize your publishing plan as well as keep every content organized and on schedule. You can try out the plugins below to fully experience those aforementioned.
6. Check RSS Feed settings
Turning visitors into loyal readers is crucial to any blog, especially new-born one. RSS Feed is the option in WordPress that helps users easily view and subscribe to your post update right on their browsers, desktop application or any other feed reader service. In the Reading settings section of the admin panel, you are free to optimize your RSS Feed options as to how many posts displayed, how it is viewed (in full text or summary), etc. If you need to observe your feed analytics or other advanced features, you should consider using FeedBurner for your Feed. Read more at this blog about 5 benefits of using FeedBurner with WordPress and make your own judgement.
7. Keep track of your site’s performance
It is imperative to get regular update on your blog’s statistic regarding the amount of traffic, where users coming from, their on-site time, their page views and other personal details as age, gender, occupation, etc. You should also observe which page is the most/least popular to get your blog tailored to targeted visitors’ preference.
Google Analytics would normally be recommended as a perfect tool for this tracking purpose. And we have no intention to go against the trend either. It is powerful, feature-rich and easy to install. If you are new to this, refer to this tutorial for How to add Google Analytics to WordPress in less than 1 minute or watch this video for a more visual guide.
8. Back up everything
Task like backup is boring. I know. But you should never neglect it. Things may go wrong one day and you can’t really tell when. Therefore, always remember to back everything up and keep your data intact from any potential harm. Things can be done manually at different levels as daily and full backup. Yet if you are not much of a techie, referring to a plugin like BackupBuddy or VaultPress is more advisable.
Still confuse about which WordPress backup plugin fits your site best? These 7 top backup plugins might help you out. One more thing to keep in mind is make sure you know how to restore WordPress from backup before going any further.
It does not require a lot of hard work to maintain your website as long as you know how. I hope the must-do checklist would give you an overview of what needs to be done. Some will require to be done on a daily basis, while other could be done on a regular schedule.
Is there anything else I should add to the list? Tell me in the comment below so that we can perfect this post together 😉