Congratulations on choosing WordPress for your new website.
This article will not cover the basics of setting up your WordPress website, nor will I cover web hosts or anything like that. This article is assuming you have already picked your web hosting and installed WordPress.
If you haven’t done that and want to skip all the technical bits and pieces to getting your WordPress website online, get in touch and I’ll share details about my Quick Start Package.
Here are the key things you should do with your new WordPress blog now that you have WordPress installed.
Choose Your Theme
The first thing you want to do is choose your theme. Take a look at several themes, and make sure you find one that fits your needs. Think about how you want your site to look, and check out the themes to see if they have specific functions (for example, a landing page layout, a customizable home page).
Remember, you can always change your theme. If you can’t find the “perfect” one right now, find one that is close enough. You don’t want to delay the launch of your website or business because you can’t find your ideal theme!
I recommend avoiding using a page builder like Elementor or Thrive. They will ultimately slow down your site, and the development of Block focused WordPress themes has really improved.
To get started, I recommend using one of the three following themes, be sure to upgrade to the premium versions. The premium versions just give you so much more.
I’ve been loving this theme for many years, and when I want to create a lean, fast website, GeneratePress is top of the list.
Could be considered a bit more techie-focused, but combine the premium GeneratePress plugin with the GenerateBlocks plugin, and you’ll have a fantastic site.
Install Important Plugins on Your New WordPress Blog
Next, you’re going to want to install important plugins.
This could vary depending on your niche. You can always install other plugins after you start and see what you need.
Here’s my list of a few of my favorites:
CleanTalk – This plugin will take care of the spam, spam bots, and any other kind of icky stuff that will inevitably hit your site. CleanTalk is super affordable and, in my opinion, the best spam manager available right now.
CleanTalk Security – I figure I might as well include this one next. Pair this with CleanTalk and you have a great setup to manage the spam & spambots and help keep your website secure.
Fathom Analytics – I’m moving away from Google Analytics because of the privacy issues, especially in the European Union. Fathom Analytics is so much better and nowhere near as confusing as Google Analytics. Yes, it costs you money each month, but the peace of mind and ease of use make this one a winner.
WP Rocket – There are so many different caching plugins available, but for the DIY user who isn’t technically minded, installing and using WP Rocket is the way to go. It’s easy to set up and affordable. Essentially you just purchase the plugin, then install it on your site, and you’re good; you can start to customize it more if you like, but the initial installation will work as well.
Updraft Plus – I have a different system set up to manage the backups I do for my clients, but for a new website owner Updraft Plus is the best plugin you can use to ensure that your website is backup and you have copies available in case something happens to your website.
Imagify Image Optimizer – When you upload an image to your website you should already have it optimized and resized to the exact dimensions it will be displayed, but sometimes we forget, get busy or insert distraction here – no matter what the distracting having a plugin that helps to optimize your images is a good thing.
SEOPress – When you start publishing your first blog posts, following SEO best practices will help you in the long run. For your SEO plugin I’m recommending SEOPress, it’s light weight, it is easy to use and the free version works great, but update to the pro version and you get some additional features like a redirection feature and a broken link checker.
You may notice that I mention 1 security plugin, but if you have a great web hosting and you practice good website maintenance the need for a plugin will be greatly reduced. So make sure the web host you have chosen understands WordPress and makes security a priority. I’d also like to add that signing up for one of my protection plans will also provide you the support, maintenance, and security to keep your website well protected.
Create Your Basic Pages
The next thing on the to-do list is to create your basic pages for your new website.
Having an About page is important so people can learn who you are, in fact its often the second most visited page on any website.
It’s also important to have a Contact page so that people can get in touch with you and hit helps provide some legitimacy to your website.
If you have a magazine-style theme, set up a Blog page so that people can read all of your posts, even if they are not featured on your home page.
Some other pages that are good to consider creating are:
- Work With Me
- any Landing Pages or Sales Pages that you need
If you have been featured on other blogs or interviewed in an article or on a podcast, put the links to those items on your Press page.
Your Work With Me page can list your products or services or provide instructions on how people can request a Discovery Call with you.
The Testimonials page is pretty self-explanatory, as that is where you can feature testimonials you receive from your clients. You can also create landing pages for people to sign up for your freebies and sales pages so that people can purchase your products and services.
Create Your Email List & Messages
This isn’t exactly related to your website, but start building your email list now. Email is still important and you don’t want to be building your business on someone else’s foundation. I’m looking at you Facebook.
My email service of choice is ConvertKit, you can sign up for free to get started. So no excuse!
Upload Your Freebie
You should create a freebie (an ebook, some templates or checklists, a video or audio) as a “thank you gift” to give to people when they sign up for your newsletter.
Upload your freebie using Google Drive, Dropbox or Amazon S3, or some other type of cloud service that will allow people to download the freebie.
Make sure you go back into your autoresponder messages and put the download link to your freebie in the first message, so people will be able to get their gift.
Create Your Opt-In Box
You will have to have a place where people can sign up for your newsletter list. Log in to Convertkit and either create a form, or even easier a landing page.
Next, install the ConvertKit WordPress Plugin on your new website and once you have that installed create a blank page with the URL you want to use for your freebie (like this one), then at the bottom of the page you’ll see an option to display the landing page you created in ConvertKit.
If you don’t have any testimonials right now, start collecting them!
Ask any current or past clients for a testimonial that you can use on your site. Take screenshots of any positive comments and reviews on Facebook or any other social media platform and add those to your testimonial page.
If you are just starting out and don’t have any clients yet, maybe you can do some work for a discounted price in exchange for a testimonial.
Set Up Social Media Profiles
If you haven’t done so already, set up your social media profiles. Be sure to place the links to your profiles on your website.
Start Promoting Now
It’s time to start promoting your website!
Share the links to your main site and any specific blog posts or pages. This may be hard for you if you have a hard time talking about yourself.
Remember, you have to promote your site! If people don’t know your website exists, they cannot visit it!
Create A Content Plan
Your Content Plan doesn’t have to be complex or time-consuming.
It can be a simple piece of notebook paper with a list of blog posts you plan on writing over the next few months.
You can make it fancier if you wish. The point is just to have an outline of what type of content you want to publish and when, so you know what you need to be working on.
So there you have it, 10 things you can start doing right now with your WordPress site that you have it installed.
Get my free training to learn…
- Learn why backups and a disaster recovery plan are vital for your business
- Understand why you should never give your main passwords to third parties
- Put together a website maintenance schedule that helps you and your employees
- See why it’s important to choose a good web hosting company for your website