Last updated on April 26th, 2018
After installing WordPress and before writing the first blog post, you should setup WordPress to perform with best practices and install important plugins. This will optimize WordPress for search engines, reduce website spam, and make pages load faster.
Overall you want to provide the best user experience while your website performs like a well-organized orchestra.
How to Setup WordPress after Installation
First go to your WP dashboard via your wp-admin URL. Login and consider updating the following information.
Permalinks are short for permanent links. They are the URL structure of your blog posts. It is best to adjust the default permalink structure to make a more user and SEO-friendly URL.
Permalinks can be adjusted in Settings → Permalinks.
By default, WordPress permalinks are setup to include the date of a blog post in the URL. I find the date in the URL irrelevant and most website URLs avoid this. I recommend changing the default permalink.
You may use one of the other predefined permalink structures or make your own custom permalink using available WP structure tags.
My permalink structure is setup to a custom structure, /%category%/%postname%/. This will make my default blog post URL to only include my domain, category, and blog post name. You may want something different.
WordPress categories group related blog posts and are part of the taxonomy design of WordPress. Think of them as topic or subject. You may notice them in WordPress sitemaps which point to blog posts.
Categories are hierarchical taxonomies, meaning they can have parent and child categories.
Categories, along with child categories, can be used as navigational menus on a WordPress website.
Depending on the WordPress theme or installed plugins, categories can be displayed at the top or bottom of blog posts. This makes user navigation easier if they want to read more about the category topic.
You should delete the default WordPress uncategorized category as it doesn’t provide reader or SEO benefits. Categories can be found in Post → Categories.
Blog posts can be assigned to several categories but you must assign at least one. It is best to only assign one category, two if necessary.
Don’t go overboard with new categories. Only make a new category if a good amount of blog posts can be categorized. Unnecessary categories can make your website look puzzled.
WordPress tags are another form of taxonomy. They are like a mini or micro topic of a WordPress post and are more specific. Unlike categories, tag do not have an hierarchy structure.
Tag can be found in Post → Tags.
WordPress comes with a tag cloud widget which can be used to display your tag topics on the sidebar.
Tags are optional and you shouldn’t make too many of them. Do not name tags the same as a category as this is redundant and results in poor user experience.
Bad Examples of Categories and Tags:
1) Tag is forests and category is forests.
2) Tag is athletic shoes and category is basketball shoes.
Things to Consider
WordPress security and backups are important. Many hosting providers, including WordPress managed hosting cover these important tasks.
After you setup WordPress, make sure to install the recommended plugins.