There’s so much to do when you first launch a website (and yes, a blog is a website). So, today, let’s take a look at some of the basic steps that everyone should keep in mind. These tips range from avoiding a very common WordPress security vulnerability, to basic WP plugins, xml sitemaps and some tips on getting started with social media.
1.) Delete the “Admin” User in WordPress:
When WordPress is installed, the default is to create a user called “Admin”. This is a security vulnerability. Hackers know that user name is created and that it has complete administrator rights to your site. It’s very easy for hackers to run a program that identifies WordPress sites with this logon. Then, it’s simply a matter of hacking your password.
The solution is to create a new user account (with the “Administrator” role). Then, logon with your new account and delete the “Admin” user. If you’ve created blog posts with admin as the author, WordPress will prompt you to assign them to your new user name.
Quick Tip: Make sure that all of your passwords contain a minimum of eight characters. Also, include at least one capital letter, a number and a special character such as an asterisk or an explanation point.
2.) Install some Basic WordPress Plugins:
There are so many plugins available and it’s tempting to install too many which could potentially cause issues by decreasing your website performance or potentially breaking things. Having said that, there are certain plugins that most bloggers will agree you need. (Of course this list can’t possibly include all of the plugins that I would recommend and I haven’t even mentioned the word “theme” in this post.)
- Anti-spam plugin: The Akismet WordPress plugin installs with WordPress by default. Another option is to replace it with the Growmap Anti Spambot plugin.
- Backup: There are a lot of free backup plugins available in the WP repository. If you’re managing multiple sites, you may want to check out the premium plugin BackupBuddy by iThemes. (Yes, that is my affiliate link.)
- SEO: Hands-down, the most popular choice is WordPress SEO by Yoast.
Quick Tip: Many premium WordPress themes have SEO built in. If you find yourself changing your WP theme or installing an SEO plugin, you can use the SEO Data Transporter plugin to transfer any SEO data that you had previously entered. If you need help with this plugin, check out my post How to Change a WordPress Theme and Keep your SEO Meta Tag Data.
3.) Create an XML Site Map:
An “xml site map” is not the sort of site map that many website owners create for their website visitors. (For example, a bank may have a link on their site called “Site Map” that helps their visitors find pages like checking, saving, mortgages, loans, etc.) Xml sitemaps are created for the search engines. It contains important metadata with information such as when the page was last modified, how frequently it changes and how it ranks in importance relative to other URLs.
There are WordPress plugins available to handle this (including the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin that I mentioned earlier). Do-it-yourselfers can accomplish this without a plugin in 3 easy steps:
- Generate a free sitemap (on a site like xml-sitemaps.com).
- Upload your sitemap to your website using either your website host CPanel or an FTP (file transfer protocol) program like Filezilla.
- Submit your sitemap to the search engines using Google and Bing webmaster tools.
4.) Create Your User Name for Social Media Sites:
I always suggest starting by setting up your user name on Twitter because the maximum number of characters is 15, which is the shortest restriction of all of the common social media sites. Start with Twitter and then use the same user name on all of the other sites that you create profiles on.
Quick Tip: When you create a user account on a social media site, be sure to complete your profile. This is an opportunity to incorporate keyword-rich descriptions that will help people find you on the search engines.
5.) Create a Gravatar (globally recognized avatar):
Even if you don’t even have a blog yet, be sure to create your globally recognized gravatar at Gravatar.com. What is a gravatar? Have you ever noticed how some people have their profile picture next to their blog comments? They have created a gravatar and associated it with the email address that they use for commenting.
Did you know that some bloggers won’t approve comments if you don’t have one? The assumption is that spammers are less likely to have established gravatars than legitimate website visitors.
More Tips for WordPress Bloggers
Just in case you’re still reading this and you’ve been nodding your head and saying (to yourself), yep – done that already, here’s a great post by Daniel Sharkov called “6 SEO “Strategies” that Might Cost You Traffic and Money”. Daniel talks about 6 common mistakes, misconceptions and strategies that could be costing you organic traffic. (So, of course I encourage anyone who may or may not have already completed the initial 5 suggestions that I’ve made to read Daniels’s article.)
Quick Tip: In response to Daniels mistake #5, I can’t resist sharing my How To Set up Google Authorship & the Rel=Author Tag post for those of you who haven’t done this already.
Over to You:
What advice do you have for bloggers? Feel free to let us know which plugins you couldn’t live without and any other tips that you think we’d find valuable. As I always say, “We can all learn from each other.”