First Steps On A Fresh WordPress Install

As I’m sure most of you do too, I’m now managing a good handful of sites which are running WordPress. I’ve now got a solid routine going when it comes to getting WordPress up and running and in this post, I thought I’d share it with you.

Get the backups set up

On every site I run, I’ve got a double backup combination of WordPress Backup to Dropbox and BackupBuddy for complete peace of mind. One, as the name suggests, sends a nightly backup to my Dropbox, and the other one sends me an email with the backup attached.

With some of the sites I’m running these days, losing even a day’s work would be absolutely catastrophic. For example, along with six of my friends, I’m writing a book this year and we’re using a little WordPress install I’ve got set up. Losing even one day would more or less ruin the entire project; whilst backups in duplicate might be a little overkill, it’s my way of ensuring I’ve got complete peace of mind. With your site, you might decide you only need weekly backups; whatever it is, a regular backup schedule is essential. It doesn’t really matter what tools you use, either. Just so long as you’ve got something, that’s all that really matters.

Get your SEO on

The next plugin I get up and running it Yoast’s excellent SEO plugin. I’ve talked before about why I’m such a fan of the plugin; it pretty much does everything you could want in an SEO plugin, plus a couple of other things you didn’t know you wanted in an SEO plugin, but would like anyway (such as the ability to add content to the start and ends of RSS feed entries).

It’s definitely worth taking some time to set up the plugin correctly. Again, as I said in WordPress SEO Tips:

SEO plugins aren’t the set-it-and-forget-it kind of plugin, unfortunately. You actually have to do something with them in order to get them to work for you.

For years I had the All In One SEO plugin installed on another blog, but I never actually did anything with it. In hindsight that was incredibly silly, but at the time I thought I was improving my SEO. I mean, I had the plugin installed and everything!

I can’t stress enough the importance of taking the time to get these things set up properly. It might take an extra ten minutes, but if you don’t do it, you might as well not bother in the first place.

Get some cache

The final in my trio of essential plugins is W3 Total Cache. Total Cache is my caching plugin of choice and for a host of reasons, I love it.

As well as providing all the usual caching goodness, I’m provided with minifying, browser caching and — most handily — CDN support. I’m running WPCDN on WPShout and it just makes it a breeze to use. Enter a couple of details and it’s done.

As with our SEO plugin, this is something I’ve talked about before. Further as with our SEO plugin, unless you set it correctly, it’s useless:

It is worth noting, though, that unless you set it up correctly it will have little or no effect and may even slow your blog down, as this post shows!

Get rid of wp-content for uploads

You’ll notice that images and other media on WPShout aren’t stored in /wp-content/uploads/, they’re stored in /media/, which I think has a much nicer look to it, especially when people are going to be looking at the sources of images for higher resolution screens.

This is actually really easy to do — you can set the upload path to whatever you like; under Settings, Media, use the field “store uploads in this folder” to set the name of the new folder. Save your changes, and that’s it. Just a simple way of getting a slightly more professional look.

Wrapping up

Four quick tips! A trio of plugins and a new destination for uploads. If you’ve got any quick tips you use when installing a new copy of WordPress, let me know in the comments.