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Hey friends, greetings! I am happy and excited to launch yet another wordpress based website. And this time it’s my very own website in wordpress platform.

Everytime I setup a new website (AKA install wordpress) I have to do a list of things before I even start to write the content. So without wasting any time, here are all the things I do right after setting up wordpress site in my server,

Looking for a tutorial on how to make a WordPress site? Here it is:

#1 Activate Akismet Plugin (for SPAM)

If you are a wordpress user for a while you will know that wp blogs attract a lot of spam/junk comments. These are automated like computer viruses for blogs and you have to spend time dealing with them.

example spam comment

Example spam comment

So right after installing wordpress I activate the default Akismet plugin (it comes pre-installed on WP)

All you have to do is to give itself a API key for it to work properly. You can grab an Akismet key from the website by creating a free account.

It takes care of all the known and common spam comments and it also deletes them after 15 days. So you will have time to focus on your website and all the things that matter.

#2 Install WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast

Right after that I want to take total control of my website SEO (Search Engine Optimization). All my blogs and websites gain traffic from Google, Yahoo & Bing –so I like to have a killer and SEO friendly base right from the beginning. The SEO plugin(formerly Yoast SEO) is developed by Joost de Valk and now the #1 SEO plugin for wordpress.

Wordpress SEO plugin by Yoast

WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast

It has plenty of features that let me control every aspect of my website such as the sitemap, internal links, meta data, social tags, webmaster tools verification etc. I just activate the plugin, configure it a little and I am done. I create a sitemap for my site, which will come in handy in the next step.

#3 Add My Site to Google Webmaster Tools

I go ahead and get my site registered at google’s webmaster tools. Over there I am allowed to configure how my site appears on google search. It also helps google know about my site and quickly put it on their search listings.

In order to put my site on GWT, I have to verify with a meta tag. I can do that with the help of the SEO plugin I installed earlier here,

webmaster tool verification code box

Webmaster tool verification code box

Next I add the sitemap (which I generated from the SEO plugin) into GWT. This helps speed up the google indexing process. Right now a new website won’t have much content other than the homepage and the “hello world” –but still it’s good to have your root domain in google search as early as possible.

There are other webmaster tools for various search engines like Bing & Yandex –but for now I am just adding google and leave it alone.

#4 Setup a Backup Plug-in

I will then add a new backup plugin and backup my site. There are plenty of backup plugins which you can use depending on your need. I use an old backup plugin called “Automatic WordPress Backups” –not under development right now but it works.

What it does, it connects with a remote web host called Amazon S3 and stores my site in a zip folder under my account in Amazon S3. It is fast and reliable.

Taking backups in wordpress

Taking backups in wordpress

For some reason this plugin is not working here in my new server, so I used an alternative called backup Buddy to backup my website.

Update 1: I got it working! It seemed like that my new server had the option turned off for security purpose. I turned the option on to use for the plugin.

Update 2: I now use another plugin called Updraft Plus. Please use it over any other free plugins. It is super easy to use and takes 2 copies of your website. Easy to restore your site too!

It is important to keep backups on a regular basis and when you are about to make a big change. When I update the theme files directly, I just make a copy of that file first and keep it as a backup. If I screw it up, all I have to do is to replace the broken file with the original one.

#5 Setup Login Lockdown Plug-in

Internet is full of hackers. One can instantly go into my login page and try to log in. They use software to brute force login attempts. So this handy little plugin, Login Lockdown will block certain IP’s and computers when they fail to login for a number of times.

For an example if I set login attempts to 3, this means when someone wants to break in with random passwords and fails 3 times –their IP will be blocked from my site for few hours. This will not stop a professional hacker (with lots of IP’s) but hopefully slow them down.

Login form protection

Login form protection

This plugin will also email me for failed login attempts/lockouts in case I need to take further protection measures. Just install and activate this plugin and you will be done.

#6 Setup Google Analytics on my site

I am an analytical person and I love to track my website hits, what pages they saw, how long they stayed etc stuff. It is a measurement of web success and lets me know which pages are performing and which need work.

So what I do is to setup a new property under my Google Analytics account and then get my tracking code.

Now there are couple of options to install GA on your website. You can use a plugin which will take care of it, or you can paste the code in your template code.

If you are using a modern theme, you will have a box where you put google analytic tracking code in the theme options.

Tracking code box in Thesis Theme

Tracking code box in Thesis Theme

After inserting this code, I also don’t want my site to track my own visits, otherwise my site analytics will be inflated. So what I do is to use the google analytics browser extension in google chrome.

This way when I visit my website, my hits don’t get counted. And speaking of which, this means that all the other websites of the internet that also has GA, my hits get ignored too –but it’s okay!

#7 Install a Cache Plug-in

A wordpress website is a dynamic asset. When you visit my site, the browser calls it from my server and presents all the files, images and scripts for you to view.

When you visit my site again, it does it again. So when using a cache plugin, it is like taking a screen capture of that page and it stores on your browser/local server.

Meaning, when you visit my site again this time it will load faster (since now it is just a screenshot)

When I post a new article or make a new change to my site, the cache will reset automatically with the new version. This helps my site to load faster than original and gives my user a better and faster experience.

I use the W3 total cache plugin. When you enable the cache plugin and have all the default settings, you will be good to go.

#8 Change the Permalinks to be User Friendly

By default wordpress permalink(URL slugs) are like this,

There are few problems with this basic structure:

a) it is not readable so people have no idea what this page/article is about
b) search engines cannot give me extra credit when not using a readable slug
c) it is not easy to remember or share.

Going to the settings > permalinks I will now change the URL structure from numeric to post name.

Changing to a custom permalink structure

Changing to a custom permalink structure

This will make my posts slugs appear like this,

So now,

a) it is easy to read and when shared people will know what this post is about
b) search engines will give me extra credit when the slug is relevant to the content
c) it is easy to memorize and type in.

#9 Turning off Changing The Media Auto Resize Option

This is an under looked setting and for years I didn’t thought this exists. Whenever you upload an image via the wp media uploader, wordpress will automatically make 3 copies of that image. These copies are, thumbnail, medium, and large.

So multiply this with all the images you will upload over the course of your blog/website. This makes your site eat up so much space in your server. Of course web space is almost unlimited but when you want to take backups or restore, the site becomes heavy.

Instead we can change the setting to have perfect sizes for the site. If my content area is 600 pixels wide, I can set the medium size to 600 and all the images will crop to upto 600 pixels.

Go to settings > media and then set all the values you want to use.

Disable media auto resizing in WordPress

Change media auto resizing in WordPress

You are done!

#10 Start Writing Content..

Now that I am setup, I will just add a few more small changes, tweak the theme and add some social media sharing buttons of my choice.

Then I will begin writing killer content for this fresh new blog (Ohh I just did!)

#Bonus Tip: Put Your Site Offline from Regular Visitors

Many of my clients will ask me to put the site offline or in an under construction mode during the development. Here’s how you can put your site offline or add a coming soon page.

You tell me what do you do after setting up wordpress for the first time?

Share your thoughts in the comment bellow and don’t forget to share this post on Facebook, Twitter & Google+

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