This post will outline tasks that are essential after installing WordPress to ensure that they have effective SEO from the start.
So you have just finshed installing WordPress and now you may be wondering “What Now!”. Well, now you should proceed in setting a foundation for a good Search Engine Optimized (SEO) blog. Following this article and guidelines this will hopefully ensure that whatever your purpose for the blog, you will have a solid foundation on which to build upon.
Some of these recommendations are as simple as changing some of the default WordPress Dashboard settings and others include downloading and installing third party plugins.
1. Configure WordPress Basic Settings immediately after installing WordPress
The first step completed immediately after installing WordPress should be to setup and config the default blog settings. This is accessed by going to Settings -> General in the WordPress Dashboard.
In this area you set up the:
- Site Title – The title of the Blog
- Tagline – If your theme is setup to display a tagline, this is where you edit it.
- WordPress Address – The actual full address of the blog.
- Site Address – For most cases this should be the same as your WordPress Address.
- E-mail Address – The email address of the blog administrator.
- Membership – Whether or not you wish to allow visitors to register.
- New User Default Role – If you have chosen to accept registration, this will set the role that new users will have.
- Timezone – Select from the drop-down list your preferred timezone.
- Date Format – Select the date format wou wish your blog to use or create your own.
- Time Format – Select the time format you wish your blog to use or create your own.
- Week Starts On – Select the date on wish you wish the default start of the week day to be.
Finally, be sure to go through and configure the settings for the other option and setting pages in the WordPress Dashboard.
2. Setup & Configure WordPress Permalinks
WordPress offers you the ability to create a custom URL structure for your permalinks and archives. This can improve the aesthetics, usability, and forward-compatibility of your links. This is also an essential task that should be carried out immediately after you have completed installing WordPress.
The way that you construct your WordPress posts is an essential feature in helping to improve your SEO rankings. Every post you create has a permanent web address that WordPress creates called a permalink. You can select how WordPress should structure your Permalinks by clicking on Settings in the dashboard menu and then clicking on Permalinks.
Under the Common Settings in the permalink page you have a few options to choose from in configuring your permalinks.
- Default – The default URL structure is a mix of odd characters and ID numbers
- Day and Name – Suitable for news and time centric blogs
- Month and Name – Suitable for news and time centric blogs
- Numeric – An incrementing number rather than the post’s actual title.
- Custom – By specifying a variable in %% signs you can choose the structure
As you can see from the image above I like to use the permalink structure of:
This will create links that have the category of the post and title of the post in the URL. These links will not only be more readable and memorable, but are also better for search engines.
WordPress uses a file called .htaccess to create the permalinks, if this is not writable by the server, WordPress will give you instructions on creating the file yourself.
Here is an example of WPInsite permalink structure in use:
3. Ensure Correct Folder Permissions are Set and Configure Uploads
One of the neatest things about using WordPress is that when you are creating a Post you can upload files directly in WordPress and not need to ever touch your FTP program. This is great if you have multiple writers or non-tech writers, however you may need to double check that uploads are working on your server.
In the WordPress Dashboard, click on Posts > Add New to bring up the Add New Post screen then click the image icon to add assets using WordPress’ Uploader. Enter a file and try uploading. If all goes to plan the file will appear there successfully. If not, you will most likely need to create a directory for the upload facility to upload to, or set permissions for the directory to be writable. You can do this through your FTP program, the error message will tell you what folders to create.
Options for the uploads are controlled via Settings > Media -> Uploading Files.
4. Setup & activate your SPAM prevention – Akismet
Akismet in a invaluable tool as nobody likes SPAM. Akismet is a spam filter plugin for comments. It is automatically installed with WordPress, so enabling it after installing WordPress is as simple as going to your WordPress Dashboard and click on Plugins, find Akismet in the list and click “Activate”. A message will appear asking for your WordPress.com API key, simply click the link and create a WordPress.com account and then copy and paste the key back into your Dashboard.
5. Install & Configure Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.
To use this plugin you first need to install it, and then go to the XML-Sitemaps link under Settings tab in your WordPress Dashboard and you will see a configuration page for Google Sitemap. Simple adjust the options and save the settings.
[button size="medium" color="orange" style="cart" link="http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/"]Download the Google XML Sitemap Plugin[/button]
6. Download & Install W3 Total Cache Plugin
The most complete WordPress performance framework. W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
Using this plugin will greatly improve your blog loading speed, which will also help to improve you Search Engine Rankings. There are a lot of option in regards to this plugin, so be sure to follow the installation and configuration settings found either through the plugin or on the WordPress download page.
The plugin works even better if you utilize a Content Delivery Network. This is a third party service that you will need to purchase. WPInsite is proudly powered by MaxCDN. To view more details visit the MaxCDN website.
More information on installing W3 Total cache can be viewed by reading this post. CloudFlare and W3 Total Cache WordPress Integration
[button size="medium" color="orange" style="cart" link="http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/w3-total-cache/"]Download the W3 Total Cache Plugin[/button]
7. Adding Analytics Tracking with the Google Analytics for WordPress Plugin
You spent all that precious time installing and configuring your blog. Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly how many visitors are viewing your site. Well with this plugin you now can. The plugin incorporates Google Analytics into your blog.
The Google Analytics for WordPress plugin allows you to track your blog easily and with lots of metadata. You do need to sign up for a Google Analytics account to use this plugin.
[button size="medium" color="orange" style="cart" link="http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-analytics-for-wordpress/"]Download the Google Analytics for WordPress Plugin[/button]
8. Download and Install a Contact Management Plugin
Having an efficient way for your visitors to be able to get in contact with you is viable to the success of any blog. Set up a contact page and utilize any of the vast numbers of Contact Plugins available for WordPress. A plugin that I can recommend is:
Fast Secure Contact Form
This plugin allows a webmaster to easily create and add contact forms to WordPress. The contact form will let the user send emails to a site’s admin. An administration panel is present, where the webmaster can create and preview unlimited forms.
Features a super easy admin panel, multi-form feature, autoresponder, no templates to mess with, and an option to redirect visitors to any URL after the message is sent. Includes CAPTCHA and Akismet support to block all common spammer tactics. Spam is no longer a problem. You can add extra fields of any type: text, textarea, checkbox, checkbox-multiple, radio, select, select-multiple, attachment, date, time, hidden, password, and fieldset.
[button size="medium" color="orange" style="cart" link="http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/si-contact-form/"]Download the Fast Secure Contact Form Plugin[/button]
Owning and running a WordPress blog is a wondering thing and can be quite enjoyable and rewarding. You never stop working on improving your blog. you will find yourself constantly changing plugins, editing your theme and other modifications as your knowledge of the WordPress platform increases.