WordPress: Getting Started
The Sample Defaults
Delete them suckers!
Your first step is to get rid of the sample stuff that comes default with the WordPress install.
• the “Hello World” post
• the sample page
• the sample links
To get rid of the sample “Hello World” post, go to the Posts menu option in the left hand menu. When you hover over the “Hello World” sample post four administration options will appear. In bright red is the option to Trash the post. Click on this link and the post will be removed from the blog.
WordPress Trash is very much like the Windows Recycle Bin or Mac Trash can, it’s removed but until you actually empty the trash you can recover it at any time.
Remove the default links by clicking on the Links menu option and clicking the check boxes next to each link and then choose Delete from the Bulk Options drop down box.
You can remove the sample page using the same steps to remove the sample post, but under the Pages menu.
Next we’re going to setup your blog’s functionality, so head over to the Settings menu option.
The General settings page – ensure that you have given a descriptive blog title and tag line. If you don’t do this then you end up with the generic “Just another WordPress blog” text showing up in the search engines, which doesn’t look very professional! Use your main keyword for the blog title and a keyword rich description for the tag line.
The Writing settings page – you may want to increase the size of the post box (the area where you actually write the blog post). If you have a large screen then 40 lines is good, but otherwise 30 lines is good for smaller resolutions. The Update Services on the Writing page is very important because it notifies various websites when you have a new blog post. You can use this list: Here’s a Ping List For You, to increase the number of back-links to your site by adding more sites to ping when you add a new post. Just copy and paste into the Update Services box.
The Reading settings page – setup how your visitors will see your blog. For most people this page can be left alone but if you want to increase the number of posts on a page then it can be done here. If you decide to go with a static homepage, the setting can be chosen here too. Be sure to create the pages first! A Home page and a Blog page. You can name these pages whatever you like, then chose them in the Front page displays section.
The Discussion settings page – this is where you set who can and can’t post comments on your blog. If you are having trouble with comment spam you might want to turn off comments on this page, however using Spam plugin is a better choice and I mention two later on in this post.
The Permalinks settings page – This page lets you set SEO friendly URLs which contain your post title in the URL. By default the URL for your individual blog posts will be what is known as dynamic and not be search engine friendly. Many people are afraid of this setting or just don’t understand it so they leave it alone, but if you’re interested in search engine traffic, this setting MUST be setup correctly. The best option is to use a custom Permalink structure like /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/ which means if your blog title is “How My MIL Pisses Me Off” the URL will be afterbedtimeblog.com/2011/12/how-my-mil-pisses-me-off
Now, It’s Time To Add A Few Plugins For Functionality
Plugins are small scripts that enhance the features and functionality of the default WordPress installation. They can be as small as adding a famous quote to the bottom of each blog post to something as complex as turning WordPress in to an e-Commerce shop.
Blogs have become magnets for spam and there are numerous robots scouring the Internet to find blogs to post their useless junk to. There are two ways to fight back though. The first is to enable your Akismet plugin. To do this you will need to sign up to WordPress.com and get your unique key. Akismet looks for spam patterns from a vast database so every time someone marks a comment as spam it is updated in Akismet and will filter any other comment that matches the spam text. Another great anti-spam filter is WP-SpamFree. It doesn’t use any fancy filtering options, instead it tries to place a cookie on the computer of the person posting a comment. Since spam robots will automatically reject these cookies the plugin doesn’t even allow the comment to be posted. These two plugins are highly effective in reducing the comment spam on your blog.
Search Engine Optimization
WordPress press does a pretty awesome job of SEO out of the box but there are some fantastic free plugins that puts the SEO on steroids. I love All-in-one-SEO-Pack which makes your meta data more search engine friendly. You can control the titles, descriptions and keywords on each blog post with more flexibility.
W3 Total Cache to empty your page cache. If you made changes to a post or to your site’s design (widgets, menus, whatever) but don’t see them when you reload the page, you probably need to empty your cache. W3 Total Cache does and excellent job.
WP Database Optimizer (once installed, you’ll find this listed under Tools. If your blog is feeling kinda sluggish, this is a great tool for cleaning up your database that can be crowded with the gook left behind by deleted comments, deleted posts, deleted plugins, deleted themes, etc.
WordPress Security Plugins
AntiVirus for WordPress which scans your site for any common exploits and spam injections. It will notify you of anything unusual and enable you to take action before it’s too late. Before installing this plugin, I suggest you research similar plugins because there are several available and I haven’t tried them all.
Stealth Login which hides your wp-login.php URL. Many spam robots simply search the Internet for any website with wp-login.php in the URL and if it can’t find it then it will move on.
I am partial to CommentLuv cause I swear it kicks ass and it helps encourage commenting and it’s great for seo back linking purposes. There’s a premium version and there’s a free version available in the Plugin Directory (Plugins > Add New). However, do your research! There are other commenting systems available for WordPress.
I love Shareaholic’s Sexy Bookmarks and it’s free in the plugins directory, but again, there are other options, so do a bit of research before installing.
Google Analyticator is a slick simple way to enter your google analytics code without having to code anything.
Jetpack is also great for simple tracking. You’ll need a WordPress dot come account.
You can run both plugins!
For Appearances Sake
Install your theme, either a free one from the theme directory, a premium one you bought, or the wicked blog design I created for you. 😉
Setup your Menu. Go to Appearances > Menus and create a new menu, give it a name and save it. Then load the new menu in the Themes Location Dialog Box under Primary Navigation. You may not have any pages to add now, but you will. If you’re moving from another platform and have uploaded your posts, you may want to go over to the old platform and manually copy the text from your pages and paste the text into new pages. After you’ve saved your new pages, be sure to add them to the Menu and then save the Menu settings.
Your sidebar widgets. Go to Appearances > Widgets and you’ll find some default widgets available, maybe some that came with your theme. You can also find additional widgets in the plugin directory or buy premium widgets.
Now Go Write A New Post!
And by the way, I’ve got CommentLuv for ya’ and I’m sure that new blog can use a back link, so leave a comment!
And can you do a fellow blogger a solid and stumble this post!Or tweet it! Whatever your poison.