Let us say that you have just downloaded and installed your WordPress CMS, and it is installed on your host’s server so that you can create your WordPress blog online. You may be tempted to start posting content left right and center and working on things such as getting more links to points towards your blog. However, before you go off and start building up your blog, here are 10 things you should do in order to correctly set up and optimize your blog.

10 – You should create a “Contact Us” page

Your first question may be, why call it a Contact Us page? There are numerous reasons for this, but the main two reasons are that people expect to see a page called a Contact Us page. In addition, calling such pages a “Contact Us” page is SEO friendlier than calling it something such as an “About Me” page. You do not need to put your e-mail address on to your Contact Us page. There are plenty of WordPress plugins that will allow you to create a Contact Us page that will hide your e-mail address from your viewers and allow your viewers to contact you directly via your blog.

9 – Add an automatic database backup plugin

You need a plugin that is going to back up your WordPress blog every time that you upload a new post. If you are clever, then you will also back up your WordPress blog offline too. Nevertheless, having a plugin automatically backup your blog is a very practical way of making sure that a server crash, or a malicious hacker, cannot destroy your years of hard work and dedication.

8 – Edit the URL perm links for your blog posts

You are going to have to change the default URL of your post to make it something that is a little bit more search engine friendly. When you install your WordPress onto the server of your choice, you are going to have a default URL. This URL is going to look similar to www.example.com/?p=17. The 17 would be your article’s unique ID.

You should change your URLs so that they are more SEO friendly. For example, if you created a post that was called “Carrots in the springtime”, then you could set up a URL such as www.example.com/carrots-in-spring.php

To change your permalink structure, you need to go to your blog and log in to WordPress. Go to the administration area towards “Settings” and into “Permalinks.”

7 – Change your default username and password

When you first set up and install your WordPress blog, you will find that your blog is set on the default settings. These days it is unlikely that you have been given a default password, but if you have, it is imperative that you change your password as soon as possible before you do anything else. This is because even if your password is computer generated, it still has a fair amount of predictability behind it, and a hacker can use this to his or her advantage. Your username, on the other hand, is very likely to be a default username, and you need to change it as quickly as possible otherwise every hacker is going to know your username (because it is the default one).

6 – Install the Yoast SEO Plugin

This is one of the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress, and many people find it very useful for driving organic traffic to their website. The search engines such as Google, Bing/Yahoo, and Ask are going to send you organic traffic if you optimize your blog for them. Yoast will allow you to optimize for them but letting you do stuff like create a sitemap for your blog. This sitemap can then be sent to the search engines, where each will eventually crawl your sitemap and index your blog or website.

5 – Install the Akismet plugin

As your blog grows, you are going to get more and more spammers who are looking to try their luck on your comment section. They will spam links into your comment section, with the hope that you will be too busy to search out and remove all the links that they keep adding.

Plugins such as Akismet will help you to filter out spam. It is very good at catching robotic (programmed) spam because they operate under certain conditions that Akismet can detect. How it manages to detect what is spam, and what is not spam, is a mystery to those who did not design the program. Nevertheless, you should add it into your WordPress blog. It may not seem like a priority at this early stage, but it will save you a lot of headaches in the future.

4 – Create a custom directory for your core files

Your core WordPress files will be saved and stored within your website’s root directory, which is not great because all the hackers will know where it is. They may guess what your installation folder is and try to gain unauthorized access via it. Instead, all you need to do is create a secret folder on your website and move your core files to that secret folder.

3 – Change your directory for media uploads

WordPress is going to save your media uploads in the default files, which is most likely going to be wp-content/uploads/ folder. But you are able to upload your media files into a custom directory or subdomain. All you need to do is log in to your WordPress blog and go to the administration area. Click on “Settings” and then go to “Media.” You then enter in your custom subdomain or directory within the text field “Store uploads in this folder.” You should then check the box that says: “Organize my uploads into month and year based folders.”

2 – Add five posts to your blog

Some people think you should just add one and then keep adding another one each week. Others think that you should add several months’ worth of blog posts when you first start your WordPress blog. Both answers are correct, but the safest option is to upload five posts. Even a dedicated blog reader is probably not going to read more than five of your blog posts in just one visit.

1 – Pick a clean WordPress theme

Clean means that there are no bugs in it, and that the program code is clean and that there are no awkward elements within the theme. Awkward elements may create bugs later or may make your blog take longer to load. Look at a few theme reviews and pick a safe, simple, and clean one to start with. You can start looking into more “out of this world” blog themes when you are more of a blogging expert.

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