In this post you’ll learn about some things you should do immediately after installing WordPress.

If you want to get started the right way, read on…

Set an under construction page

Okay, you’ve installed WordPress and logged into your site. The first thing you likely want to do is put up an under construction page so that your site is hidden from visitors while you are working on it. There are a plethora of plugins and even themes that you can use for this task.

You might want to have your under construction page include a timer, social media icons, or an email subscription box. Here are some of the top under construction plugins in the wordpress.org directory and here are some premium landing page themes (ad). I also wrote a post highlighting some of my favorite under construction and coming soon plugins.

If you are installing an under construction plugin:

  1. Go to dashboard > plugins > add new.
  2. Either search for a plugin and hit install, or use the upload button at the top next to the words “add plugins.”
  3. Once your plugin is installed, hit activate.
  4. Now go to the options page for the plugin, customize it, and turn it on or enable it (this typically turns on maintenance mode).

For more under construction plugins, you can check out this article from Trip Wire Magazine.

Another option is to install a landing page theme, either prior to setting up your new website. You can use a plugin like Jonradio’s Multiple Themes plugin to run your landing page theme to visitors while using another theme for your site, while also keeping your site hidden as your work on it.

If you are installing a landing page theme:

  1. Go to dashboard > appearance > themes.
  2. Either search for a theme and hit install, or use the upload button at the top next to the word “themes.”
  3. Once your theme is installed, hit activate.
  4. You can now customize your theme, likely under the appearance menu item from the dashboard. Sometimes there are theme options in other areas as well.

Configure the general settings

There are some general settings you will need to configure for your new site.

WordPress-General-Settings

To configure the general settings:

  1. Go to the dashboard > settings > general.
  2. You’ll want to change your site title and tagline.
  3. Change your timezone.

Configure the reading settings

Reading settings include stuff like setting your homepage as either a static page or blog page, controlling the number of posts on the blog page, customizing your feed, and deciding if and when you want search engines to index your site.

WordPress-Reading-Settings

Next, configure the reading settings.

  1. Go to the dashboard > settings > reading.
  2. If you want the front page to display a static page instead of posts, change the options accordingly.
  3. If you want the front page to display posts, change the number of posts to what you want.
  4. Change the feed option to show a lot more posts, I chose 100. This way anyone subscribed to your feed will get more articles.
  5. Change the feed to show a summary instead of the whole posts. This way anyone subscribed to your feed will have to click the article in the feed and visit your site to read the whole thing.
  6. You might want to click the “discourage search engines from indexing this site” option for the time being. Just remember to uncheck it once you launch your site.

Configure the permalink settings

Next, configure the permalink settings. Pretty much every SEO is convinced that permalinks that use actual words are much better for ranking in search engines that numbers, dates, or other formats. It also is much more user friendly if the link shows the actual name of the post instead of a bunch of random letters or numbers.

WordPress-Permalink-Settings

To change the permalink structure:

  1. Go to the dashboard > settings > permalinks.
  2. Click the post name option.
  3. Hit save changes.

Delete sample page, post, and comment

When you installed WordPress, you automatically published a sample page, post, and comment. You now will want to delete those. To do so:

  1. First, let’s delete the sample page.
  2. Go to dashboard > pages > and under the page hit trash.
  3. Hit the trash tab from the top.
  4. Empty the trash.
  5. Next, we’ll delete the sample post.
  6. Go to dashboard > posts > and under the post hit trash.
  7. Hit the trash tab from the top.
  8. Empty the trash.
  9. Finally, let’s delete the sample comment.
  10. Go to dashboard > comments > and under the comment hit trash.
  11. Hit the trash tab from the top.
  12. Empty the trash.

Want a second opinion about deleting these things? BobWP wrote a post that seconds my opinion that you should delete the sample page, post, and comment.

Delete unused themes and plugins

Let’s now clean up your new site by deleting any unused themes or plugins that have been installed with WordPress. Depending on your host or how you installed WordPress, this could be a lot or a little.

First, let’s look at plugins. Most WordPress installs seem to come with the plugin Hello Dolly, a completely unnecessary plugin that I always delete. You probably also have other plugins. I recommend keeping and using Akismet and Jetpack. Decide what you want to keep or use, and delete everything else. To delete a plugin:

  1. Go to dashboard > plugins.
  2. Under the plugin you want to delete, hit deactivate.
  3. Under the plugin you want to delete, you can now hit delete.
  4. You’ll then be taken to a screen asking if you want to delete the plugin and all its files and data.
  5. Click yes, delete these files and data.
  6. You’ll be taken back to the plugins page.

Most WordPress installs also come with at least the default theme for the current year. You cannot delete the theme your site is using, so you’ll need to wait until you install a new theme before you can delete that. If you have several themes installed, you can delete any that aren’t in use. There really is no reason to have unused themes installed, so I recommend deleting them unless they are specially customized and you might go back to them in the future.

  1. Go to dashboard > appearance > themes.
  2. Hit the theme you want to delete.
  3. From the lower right, click the delete button.
  4. You’ll get a message asking if you are sure. Click yes.
  5. You’ll be taken back to the themes page.

Start thinking backups

Now that your new WordPress site is well on its way to being setup how you want it to be, and before you do any real heavy customizing by installing a theme and setting it up, you should start to think about how you are going to keep backups of your WordPress site. I’ve seen many people that haven’t taken the couple minutes to do this, and it can really end up burning you in the future if your site is hacked, breaks, or becomes lost for some other reason.

There are many options out there, from free plugins to paid services that do it for you.  I have put together this post on the top WordPress backup services and plugins. Another similar article is WPKube’s 7 top backup plugins.

Start thinking security

Going along with setting up backups, you should also worry about security so that your site doesn’t get hacked in the first place. Here is a list of 15 security plugins that you might consider using.

So there you have it! In this post we have discussed some of the things that I believe you should do immediately after installing WordPress.

It might seem like a lot, but this is really a lot of very simple and pretty basic stuff that you can actually do quite fast 😉. These really are necessary things that will set you up to move forward successfully with WordPress.