You have bought a domain name and a hosting space and installed one of the most popular content management system – WordPress. Now, you might be wondering about the next move that you should take.
Luckily, this guide is about customizing your WordPress site when you first set it up. The default settings that ship with new WordPress installations may not work well for most website situations.
In this article, we will show you how to provision your WordPress site to make it friendly to you as the administrator, your visitors and search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
- A domain name
- A hosting account (you can find leading WordPress hosting providers on HostAdvice)
- Access to the admin section of your WordPress site
Step 1: Login to the admin section of your website
First, log in to the backend of your WordPress website. To do this, enter your domain name on a web browser followed by ‘wp-admin’. For instance, if your domain name is ‘www.example.com’, enter the text below on your browser:
Then, enter your username and click ‘Log In’ to proceed.
Step 2: Customizing the URL structure
The first thing that you should change on a clean WordPress installation is the permalink structure. The default values are not SEO friendly because they look very weird both to humans and search engines.
A good URL structure should just contain the post name and to make friendlier, you can end them with a ‘.html’ extension but this is optional. So navigate to Settings->Permalinks and enter the values below:
Step 3: Customize the homepage of your WordPress site
Depending on your needs, you might decide either to display a static page on your wordpress site or simply display your latest posts. A static page looks more professional especially if you are running a business website with WordPress.
To change the settings, navigate to ‘Settings->Reading’. Then select either a static post or your latest posts on the options. You should also enable the option for displaying summary in feeds.
This will speed up the load time on your WordPress site when you later create posts because only a summary will be displayed on the archives and category pages.
Step 4: Customizing comments settings
Comments indicate that your visitors are actively engaged with your blog posts. So, you should allow users to post comments on your articles. To avoid spammy content, you should make sure that comments author fill out their names and email address. To do this, go to ‘Settings->Discussion’
In case you start receive a lot of spam comments from bots on your WordPress site, you might consider installing captcha software such as Google re-CAPTCHA to avoid the menace.
Step 5: Changing your theme
WordPress comes with some few themes which can get you started. However, you might consider installing professional premium themes to make your website look more appealing. There are lots of stores on the web that sell high quality themes and a simple Google search should help you to get one.
Theme files are provided as a zipped archive. Once you finalize the payment and receive the file from the vendor, you should navigate to ‘Appearance->Themes’, then click on ‘Add New’
Then upload your theme and install it on your WordPress site and apply it to your WordPress site.
That’s all when it comes to setting up your WordPress site for the first time. Once you have changed the URL structure, changed the language, configured the time zone and customized the home page, comment sections and theme, you are ready to start creating pages and posts to engage your audience.