So you have just installed WordPress? Not sure what to do next or which order to do it in? Here is a little guide to help get you started with you new WordPress blog.

Change Your permalink structure

Want to start writing posts straight away? Changing your permalink structure is good SEO practice and if you apply it from the start will save you the hassle of having to install redirect plugins to change it later. Go to Settings ยป Permalinks and change it to something like /%year%/%postname% or /%category%/%postname%/

Further Resources

Enable Spam Blocking

Askimet comes with your WordPress installation and is an excellent tool to filter out the junk. In order to use it you need a WordPress API key and you need to activate it in the Plugins section of your admin page. In addition to Askimet I use WP Captcha free which has eliminated 99.9% of spam and it does not require any configuration or any user interaction such as captcha/image verification.

Further Resources

Security

Don’t know how secure your WordPress installation is? Unsure of file permissions or .htaccess? WP-Security Scan will check your installation for security vulnerabilities and will recommend what actions to take. I also recommend that you block access to the wp-admin folder by using the .htpasswd & .htaccess generator on the htaccesstools website.

Further Resources

Sitemaps and SEO

Want to get your site noticed? Google XML Sitemap Generator will create and publish a sitemap to all major search engines. All-In-One SEO Pack optimises your blog for search engines. Interested in knowing more about who visits your site then enable WordPress.com stats and join Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics.

Further Resources

Contact Form

If I like to contact someone personally I would like to contact them through a contact form other than posting a comment on a blog post. I was recently contacted by someone who wanted the contact details for a blog which was using one of my themes. Having a contact form makes your site more accessible and allows your audience to connect with you. Setting up a contact form isn’t difficult and there are plenty of plugins that can do this for you like Contact Form 7 which is really easy to use.

Social Networking & RSS Feeds

Get your posts noticed more and increase your traffic. Sign up for Twitter, Digg, Delicious etc. and add your blog to a blog directories like Technorati and Blogcatalog. Sign up for Feedburner to process your RSS feeds along with the WordPress FD Feedburner Plugin plugin.

Enjoy this post? Would you do anything differently? Please share your experiences.