As a beginner blogger, you might simply be overwhelmed with the task of setting up your WordPress website. I mean, you might have a very clear idea of what your website should look like, yet not know how to turn intent into reality. There’s just so much information out there: so many WordPress themes, WordPress plugins, widgets and security concerns, that you would almost be forced to sit in a corner sobbing your heart out. However, all you really need is to know the essential settings after installing WordPress.
Thus, to make your life easier we will be looking at those essential WordPress settings that will help you to create a successful WordPress site. These settings will help you to not only secure your site but they will also make sure that it performs faster and is optimized. There are tons of things to do after installing WordPress, but for simplicity’s sake we have whittled them down to 17.
If you’re a beginner blogger, or just don’t know what to do, then buckle up and read on this setting up WordPress guide. Furthermore, from these settings, you can create a checklist for future purposes. However, for now, for our discussion on how to configure WordPress, we will look at these WordPress essential settings in chronological order, so you can easily follow along.
Further reading: Difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
- 1. Reset Installation Password
- 2. Clean Up Your WordPress Dashboard
- 3. Setup Your Website’s Title
- 4. Set Your Site Tagline
- 5. Setup Your Preferred Site Address-WordPress(URL) & Site Address (URL)
- 6. Review Membership Options Under General Settings
- 7. Setup Language Preferences
- 8. Set The Date And Time Settings
- 9. Update WordPress Version
- 10. Delete Dummy Content
- 11. Create Basic Pages
- 12. Setup Your Site Menu
- 13. Delete Unused Plugins And Themes
- 14. Update All Existing Plugins
- 15. Set Up Permalinks
- 16. Add And Remove Widgets On The Sidebar
- 17. Create Post Categories
1. Reset Installation Password
With your access to HostGator cPanel, you’ll be able to download WordPress using an installer. Once you’ve installed WordPress, you’ll also get an initial password to use when accessing the WordPress dashboard.
However, the first thing you want to do after installing WordPress is to reset your password. WordPress will give you the option to use an auto-generated password, but these can be vulnerable to brute force attacks. The best thing to do is to set up a password of your own that is both strong and memorable to you.
How To Reset Your WordPress Password
- Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
- Look at the menu on the left sidebar. You should find the ‘Users’ menu and in there you will find the sub-menu – ‘Your Profile.’
Here you have the choice of generating a strong password or using your own. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. If you choose to generate one then click ‘generate password’ and you will get a strong one. If you do not want to use the WordPress generator, there are password generator alternatives out there such as LastPass and Password Generator that you can use.
Enter your new password and then click on ‘Update profile.’
3. Setup Your Website’s Title
When you install WordPress, you will most likely have the default WordPress website title to start off with. You should change this by going to the ‘WordPress General Settings.’
How To Setup Your Website’s Title (WordPress Dashboard)
- Go to the menu on the left sidebar. Find and click on Settings then General Settings.
- Next, you will now see that Site Title box. This is where you type your site title.
How To Setup Your Website’s Title via WordPress Customizer
- When you are inside the WordPress customizer, go to the Appearance Menu on the left sidebar dashboard menu. Find the Site Identity sub-menu.
- Type in the name of your site in the option for Site Title. You can also include the tagline of your website.
After saving the settings, you will be able to see your title on the front page of your site. It will also be available in the search results. This is basically what your site is about.
5. Setup Your Preferred Site Address-WordPress(URL) & Site Address (URL)
One of the most important things to do after installing WordPress is to set up the preferred site address. This address is a means for your visitors to get to your site.
This is the address they will type in when they want to come to your site. This off-course depends on what you want your site to look like. All you have to do is type it into the WordPress address field and if you want your homepage to be different then you can type it in here as well.
7. Setup Language Preferences
On WordPress you can set the language you would like to use. WordPress has a very long list of languages to choose from. In the case that you are using a language different from English, you may want to use WordPress translation services by installing one of the many amazing multi-lingual WordPress translational plugins.
How To Set Your Language Preferences
- Once again go to General Settings, find the Site Language option.
- Choose your language of choice and save.
You can also set the language preference setting when you are manually installing WordPress. Some themes are translation ready and make it easier to blog in different languages.
Read: Blogging Tools and Tips To Increase Productivity
9. Update WordPress Version
When you install WordPress you may get an older version of WordPress with your installation. You have to look for the update notice. To secure and optimize your WordPress site, you have to make sure it is fully updated. When you see the update notification at the top of your dashboard, click on it and press ‘Please Update Now.’ Back up your site as needed when you update.
11. Create Basic Pages
The About page tells your readers what your website is about and aims for. Read this article to know how to write a stunning about me page.
How To Create Basic Site Pages on WordPress
- Go to the ‘Pages’ sub-menu and click on ‘Add New.’
Creating these now while doing your WordPress setup settings is crucial for creating your menu. You will have to use a plugin in order to create a contact form. You will use the shortcode from this plugin in order to do this. There are many WordPress contact form plugins out there that you can use.
13. Delete Unused Plugins And Themes
While there are many WordPress themes for blogs and websites and an equally extensive list of WordPress plugins that you can install, you need to ensure that your website is not bogged down by themes and plugins that are not in use. So, as one of the important parts of your WordPress website maintenance tasks, you should delete as many unnecessary plugins or themes as possible.
Just make sure you have an updated default WordPress theme. Do not delete your default WordPress theme because if something happens for some reason and your theme is broken, your website will automatically revert to the default. So just keep it updated!
Setting permalinks is extremely important when you are changing your WordPress settings, as it controls how your post URL’s will look like when published. Permalinks also help with SEO, so do not stick to the default setting.
How To Set Permalinks in WordPress
- Go to Permalinks menu under Settings.
- Select one from the given list. However, to gain SEO value, you should change it to post name or a custom structure. If you choose Custom Structure, you can also add a category and post ID.
It is also important to change permalinks with caution as tampering with them may make content from before the change to show up as 404 pages.
17. Create Post Categories
Categories are groups that your posts are put into when you add and create them. When you start setting up your site, you will most probably know what it will be about. You may also most probably know what the first few posts will be about. Use this knowledge to create your categories. They will not only help with SEO but will as well make your site easier to navigate.
How To Create Categories in WordPress
- Go to the Posts menu and click on Category.
- Fill the category details including the name, slug and short description.
Do not leave the ‘Uncategorized’ as the default category. Change it to a category you can use.