Update 2020: Originally this post had 17 things to do, but 3 of those things are outdated, so there are only 14 things to do now! 🙂
So, you’ve got a brand new wordpress blog!
This post will tell you what you need to do after you start your wordpress blog.
If you already have a wordpress blog, you can still do these things if you haven’t done them yet 😉 .
So, here is my checklist of the 17 important things to do after starting your wordpress blog! Enjoy! 🙂
(Psst…If you’re thinking about why you should start a blog, >> 22 Reasons for You to Blog
And if you don’t use wordpress, click here to read about why you should use wordpress).
1. Decide whether you want to ‘www’ or not
If you have noticed, some blogs, like http://mashable.com/, don’t use the ‘www’ in their address. And some blogs, like http://www.techcrunch.com/, use the ‘www’.
So if you type http://www.mashable.com, it will redirect to http://mashable.com, and vice versa.
One advantage of having a www is your blog address will look more formal.
And if you don’t use the ‘www’, your address would be shorter.
To decide, go to yourblog.com/wp-admin/options-general.php and change both the ‘WordPress address’ and ‘Blog address’ to http://www.yourblog.com, or vice versa.
WWW Image by bull3t
2. Set up a feed so people can subscribe to your blog
If you are wondering what a blog feed is, it is a slimmed-down version of a blog that is created to be easily syndicated. You can subscribe to it using email or an RSS reader. A feed is represented by the orange RSS icon.
Many people prefer to get updates of your new blog posts through this easy way.
You can set one up at feedburner (Here’s how mine looks like). It’s free and easy! Just type in your blog address and click Burn Feed 😉 .
After that, set up email subscriptions, which enables your readers to subscribe by email. Go to Publicize >> Email Subscriptions in order to activate it and get the form.
Not setting up email subscriptions is a big mistake when it comes to getting subscribers to your blog because most people don’t know about RSS readers. Also, about 50% of my blog subscribers subscribe by email, so email subscriptions is a must!
After that, put the form and the RSS icon on your blog and link it to your feed at feedburner so people can subscribe.
3. Install Feedburner Feedsmith
Feedburner Feedsmith is a plugin that detects all ways to access your original wordpress feed and redirects them to http://feeds2.feedburner.com/yourfeed.
This plugin is needed for feedburner to track every possible subscriber to your blog by redirecting those who access http://www.yourblog.com/feed to feedburner. So, click here to install this plugin!
4. Subscribe to your own feed via RSS and email
It’s important to subscribe to your own feed, because it lets you see what your subscribers see, and when something is not right with your feed, you’ll notice. Besides, it boosts your subscriber count by 1 too 😉 . Hehe.
You can either use an RSS reader or email to subscribe to your feed, but it is best if you subscribe to both of them.
If you have a google account (which you most probably do – if you use Gmail, you have one), you can go to Google Reader. After logging in, click ‘Add a subscription’ and type in your blog address there.
5. Get your blog a favicon
A favicon is the icon you see next to your browser address bar and in your browser bookmarks. Gloson Blog’s favicon is .
It helps you brand your blog and also helps people locate your site more easily in their bookmarks.
To do this,
1. Create a square image and upload it to http://www.html-kit.com/favicon/ to generate a favicon.
2. Download it and upload the .ico file it using an FTP client to /wp-content/themes/yourthemefilename.
3. Go to the wordpress administration area and then go to Appearance >> Editor.
4. Click on “header.php” to edit it.
5. Add this code on the line just before </head>:
<link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”wp-content/themes/yourthemefilename/favicon.ico” type=”image/ico” />
(Be sure to replace ‘yourthemefilename’ with your theme file name 😉 )
6. Press Ctrl + F5 (Clear cache and reload) on your homepage. You should see it now! 😉
6. Change the permalink structure
A permalink is the address of a blog post. This post’s permalink is https://www.glosonblog.com/17-important-things-to-do-after-starting-your-wordpress-blog/.
By default, the permalink structure is like this: http://yourblog.com/?p=123.
Instead of the post ID, I suggest changing it to http://yourblog.com/your-post-title in order to gain SEO benefits. Also, if a visitor looks at it, he will know what the post is about before clicking it.
To do this, go to yourblog.com/wp-admin/options-permalink.php and then, type in “/%postname%/” in Custom Structure.
Don’t worry about broken links because the default structure will redirect itself to the new structure 😉 .
For example, this post’s old permalink structure is https://www.glosonblog.com/?p=1833. Click it and see what happens 😉 .
Link photo by cindy47452
7. Write Your About Me page
An ‘About Me’ page is essential for every blog. When your readers are interested in your content, they want to know who wrote it. That’s when they go to the ‘About Me’ page.
Basically, it is just a page that tells who you are, what is your blog about, interesting things about you, and of course, a picture of yourself.
It really helps your readers to know you and your blog better! (Here’s my ‘About Me’ page by the way.)
8. Set up a contact form
A contact form is an professional and easy way for your readers to contact you. It also protects your email address from spammers.
There are some wordpress plugins that allow you to put up a contact form. I recommend Contact Form 7, a very popular contact form plugin.
After installing it, make a new page called ‘Contact’ and insert the form into it. (Here’s how it looks like on this blog 😉 )
9. and don’t forget the archive page too!
An archive page (here’s mine) is where people can find all the posts on your blog, from the first post to the latest post.
An archive page is important because it lets people discover your older content easily (and generate more pageviews).
To make an archive page, I recommend SRG Clean Archives, the one I’m using now. It’s clean and displays all your posts neatly.
If you are looking for a more creative and fun archive plugin, you should try Snazzy Archives, and here’s how it looks like.
10. Find a free theme and tweak it to make it unique
or hire someone to design it or design one yourself 😉 .
A theme (design) is really important to a blog because it represents the blog’s brand. Because if content is king, the design is the shiny robe and crown.
So I recommend you to find a not-so-common theme that you like. Then tweak it and make it a little (or better, a lot) different than the original.
One way is to change the structure of the theme by going to the Theme Editor (yourblog.com/wp-admin/theme-editor.php) in wordpress.
Another easier way is to change the images of the theme. The images are located in the theme’s folder.
After editing the images (like changing its color or texture), you can overwrite them to your blog using an FTP client like Filezilla.
(In the directory /wp-content/themes/yourthemefilename/images)
Be sure to press Ctrl + F5 to clear the cache to see the new design.
11. Set up your ping list
A ping list is a list of services that will be pinged each time you post. The services will notify sites and directories that you have posted a new post, thus giving you more exposure.
To set up your pinglist, go to the Update Services section in yourblog.com/wp-admin/options-writing.php.
And paste the sites you want to send a ping to. Note that the more pings you list, the more server resources your host has to use. So you might get suspended on a shared hosting if you use too much server resources.
This is a short recommended list of pings.
http://api.moreover.com/RPC2 http://bblog.com/ping.php http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2 http://ping.weblogalot.com/rpc.php http://ping.feedburner.com http://ping.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php http://ping.bloggers.jp/rpc/ http://rpc.pingomatic.com/ http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2 http://topicexchange.com/RPC2 http://www.blogpeople.net/servlet/weblogUpdates http://xping.pubsub.com/ping
12. Install Google Analytics (or any site stats counter you want)
Site statistics counters are important for you to monitor, analyze and study your blog’s traffic, so you can get to know your visitors better
I recommend Google Analytics, because it’s quite advanced and has lots of features. It’s free and all you need is a Google Account.
Google Analyticator, a wordpress plugin, allows you to easily add a Google Analytics tracking code.
Note: And please don’t become a stataholic! Write more posts!
13. Install WordPress DB Backup to schedule blog backups
WordPress Database Backup, a wordpress plugin, allows you to schedule blog backups (hourly, twice daily, daily, weekly) easily and have them automatically sent to you by email or stored in the server.
Backups are really important because if anything ever happens to your blog, you have the backup, your best defense.
14. Change the admin username
Most of the login usernames of wordpress blogs is ‘admin’. If your wordpress blog’s login username is ‘admin’, too, you should really change it to something that can’t be guessed easily because the default name makes hackers’ lives so much easier.
Changing it is super duper easy. Here are the steps to do it:
1. Go to the wordpress admin area.
2. Go to Users >> Add new
3. Fill in the details with a different username and give it administrator privileges.
4. Log out and log in with the new username.
5. Delete the ‘admin’ user.
6. When you do so, it will ask you whether you want to move the posts and links of ‘admin’ to another user or delete them. Attribute the posts to the new username you have just created.
Photo by Darwin Bell
15. Install the All-in-One-SEO Pack Plugin
All-in-One-SEO-Pack is a really popular wordpress plugin to do all the basic SEO things on your blog like page titles, post titles, meta tags, descriptions and those kinds of stuff. By default, the browser title of a wordpress blog post is:
Blog Title >> Blog Archive >> Post Title.
If you install All in One SEO, the structure will be changed to (or you can customize it):
Post Title | Blog Title
Which looks simply much better and shorter.
It also noindexes the date and category archives so that it won’t appear in search engine results pages and won’t receive duplicate content penalty.
16. Create your own 404 page
A 404 page is what your readers see when they go to a non-existing page on your blog. Like this: https://www.glosonblog.com/thispagedoesntexist.
By default, the page is just a ‘404 error – Page not Found’ 404 page that isn’t much help to your readers. Why not make it more helpful instead?
To do this, go to the wordpress admin area and then Appearance >> Editor. Click on 404.php to edit it.
Find the part of the code where it says <h2>404 Page Not Found</h2> or something like that. Then overwrite that line with this code (My version of a 404 page).
Be sure to make a backup of your old code before overwriting. It will probably work on most themes, but in some cases, it won’t, then you need to have a little bit of HTML knowledge in order to make it work.
<h2>404 Page Not Found</h2>
<p>Oopsie! The page you are looking for cannot be found! It might be renamed or removed. Please check your spelling or return to the homepage.</p>
<p>Or, you can also view our latest posts below. Hope you’ll enjoy them. Thanks! ;-)</p>
if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>
<li><a href=”<?php the_permalink() ?>” title=”Permalink for : <?php the_title(); ?>”><?php the_title(); ?></a>
<?php endwhile; endif; ?>
Feel free to edit and customize the code! 🙂 Do tell me if this code doesn’t work!
17. Write a post!
Still, without any content, a blog won’t be a blog.
So go on and write a post! Write a unique high-quality thought provoking post on a topic you are passionate about!
After that, promote it on twitter, facebook, stumbleupon, and so on and on. Ask your friends to read it too! 🙂
Photo by KatieKrueger
So here are my 17 things to do after starting a wordpress blog checklist. Be sure to bookmark this post and read it when you start a new wordpress blog! 😉
If you know of another thing to do after starting a wordpress blog, please tell me in the comments!
And if you have any questions, please drop me a comment and I’ll be very glad to answer it! 🙂