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Four must do items

Now that you’ve installed WordPress you need to configure and few settings. Here’s the things that I do with every WordPress site I build. You access all of these setting via your sites admin panel, and any of the plugin I mention are installed through the admin panel too. There’s no nasty SFTP required to get them installed.


1. Site title and tagline

This may seem self explanatory, but I’m going to go through it anyway. The site title is probably going to be your practice name, ie John Smith Architects, and the tag line might be Melbourne based architect specialising is residential projects.  We’ll talk more about the importance of the tag line later, but for now what’s important is that you include words in your tag line that you want Google to find you with.

Action

  1. Go to Settings > General
  2. Enter the title and tagline in the appropriate fields

2. Hide your site until you’re finished building it

One of the first things I do with a fresh WordPress install is add the plugin Underconstruction. What it does is hide the site from the world while you finish building your site and adding content. The plugin has a settings page and allows you to turn on an under construction message for anyone who may happen to stumble upon your new website.

As a side note, by default your WordPress install (at least on WPengine) has a setting that hides your site from search engines. This is good while your site is at sandbox stage. Once you’re ready to go live we’ll turn that setting off as well as this under construction page.

Action

  1. Install Under construction plugin
  2. Go to the underconstruction settings and turn it on (its off by default)

3. Change your admin name

This is a security measure, so its really important. By default WordPress gives the first user of the site the name of admin, which means that thousands of sites around the world have the same user name. This makes it easier for nasties to break into your site. Before you get all freaked out, I just want to point out that your install via WPengine set up your user name using the name you used when buy your hosting account. This is better than using admin, but if signed up using the same name of your site, ie your name architects, then its not that hard to figure it out. How much of a risk is this really? no idea, but to be on the safe side you do this.

Install the plugin Admin username changer and change it to something else. Doesn’t really matter what, it just has to be something someone won’t guess. Once you change this name make sure you update your passwords file we set up previously.

Action

  1. Install Admin Username Changer plugin
  2. Change user name to something hard to guess

4. Turn on Permalinks

What is a Permalink I hear you ask? Permalink turns an ugly URL address of a page like http://websitesforarchitects.org/?page_id=39 into something humans can read like, http://websitesforarchitects.org/configuring-your-new-wordpress-install. In this example Wordress has been setup to use the title of the page to replace the ugly part of the address. There are lots of different ways to configure permalinks, but I just choose post name from the list of options of the permalinks settings page. What this means for architects is that things like your project names will now be in the URL rather than just a number. All this helps Google find you.

Action

  1. While in the admin section select settings > permalinks
  2. Change user name to something hard to guess

 


NEXT: Optional configuration of your Wordpress install