WordPress blog is your best choice for your blog website as it was released as a blogging platform in 2003.
WordPress is a free, open-source website creation platform covering 43.2% of the usage of all websites on the internet.
Now it has evolved as a multi-purpose Content Management system (CMS) that is the easiest and most powerful blogging and website builder today.
Ease of use, the most popular CMS, collaborative publishing process, and a lot more are the good attributes of the WordPress blog website.
However, it has its own set of difficulties when you are going to set up your WordPress Blog on the platform.
Your first task when you are going to start a blogging website is to buy domain and hosting.
Then you should choose your domain name for your blog website related to your niche.
The Third thing, after choosing your domain name, you have to install the WordPress software on your blogging website.
In this post, you are going to learn the initial WordPress blog setup before publishing your first blog post, assuming that you have done all three tasks mentioned above.
Before publishing your first blog posts, there are many things you need to do and set up. There are lots of initial steps you have to take for your blog SEO (search engine optimization), blog structure, blog layout, blog URLs, and many more.
So, let’s begin to explore your essential tasks checklist to complete before publishing your first post and get success on your WordPress blog website.
Table of Contents
Choosing a Theme And Customizing It
After entering into the WordPress dashboard, first, you have to choose the theme for your blog website.
A WordPress blog theme determines the overall look and feel of your website. It enhances user experience, establishes your brand, and sets the tone for your content.
Your well-chosen theme makes a strong first impression. It ensures a pleasant browsing experience for your audience. A clean and responsive theme can boost user engagement and encourage return visits because your WordPress blog theme defines your site’s visual appeal and navigational structure.
Free theme WordPress blog and Premium theme WordPress blog are the two categories available for you when you choose the WordPress blog theme. The choice is yours. The only difference between them is premium costs you and has more features and functionality.
“WordPress blog theme free” when you search on the internet, you will find lots of. Because there are 9,124 WordPress free themes in WordPress directories. Approximately 31,010 WordPress themes are available for download or purchase i.e. Premium WordPress blog theme.
How to install a theme to your WordPress blog
Once you have chosen your theme according to your preference and niche, It is simple to install a theme to your blog site.
- Hover over Appearance on the left side of your WordPress dashboard
- Select themes
- Click the Add New button
Note: If you chose a free theme in the WordPress directory, Search for the theme by name and click Install. If you purchased a premium theme, Click the Upload theme button and upload the ZIP file you received when you purchased it.
After installation, you have to click the Activate button to make it active on your site.
How to customize your WordPress Theme
Your chosen best WordPress blog theme should be customized to match your brand and niche. For example: Changing colors, and fonts, and adding a logo if necessary.
Customizing your theme allows you to tailor it to your niche, making it uniquely yours.
Personalization distinguishes your blog from countless others. It creates a sense of authenticity, aligns your design with your content, and strengthens your brand identity.
A customized theme visually conveys your message and makes your blog memorable to visitors.
The interface of customization of your chosen theme depends on the theme itself self whether it is a free WordPress blog theme or a premium one.
- Go to an appearance on the left side of the WordPress dashboard
- Click on theme
- Click on Customize
You can customize your interface of the chosen theme from the left side of the theme. You can see a live preview of the changes you make in the process. After completing the customization, hit the publish button to save the changes you made.
For, the change in Colors, fonts, header and footer, and adding logo in your theme. there you will see the theme options on the same Appearance >>Theme on the left side of the dashboard.
Installing Essential Plugins
Plugins expand your blog website’s capabilities, adding features and functionality that may not be available in the core WordPress system.
Essential plugins enhance your blog’s SEO, security, and performance.
They optimize your content for search engines, protect your site from cyber threats, and improve the overall user experience. Plugins are essential tools for creating a robust and user-friendly website.
Like WordPress blog theme, you can find both Free and premium plugins. WordPress community offers over 60,000 free plugins with thousands of premium plugins. That’s why, if you can think of a feature or function, there is possibly a plugin for it.
For a premium plugin, you can search in Google and buy it. For free plugins, you can search in WordPress itself or you can visit the official WordPress.org plugin directory.
Many free plugins listed at WordPress.org also offer premium versions with more features. Among the thousands of plugins available for your WordPress blog, this blog post listed 15 Free WordPress blog plugins you should have in your WordPress blog website. However, it depends on your necessity and your website.
How to install WordPress Plugins
WordPress dashboard interface is simple and effective. Therefore, it’s not difficult to install plugins on your blog website.
- Go to plugins on the left side menu of the WordPress Dashboard
- If you chose a free plugin, search for the plugin by name and click on Install Now
- If you purchased a premium plugin, click the Upload plugin button and upload the ZIP file you should have received when you purchased the plugin.
- Make sure to Activate the plugin after installing it.
You can always manage your existing plugins by going to the plugins tab.
Creating important pages
The next you have to do is create your important pages.
Every WordPress blog website or any other business website has its important pages according to their preference. These pages will because after your navigational menu/s.
These important pages provide information to your readers and help build trust. These pages create a foundation of trust and transparency in your blogging site.
To establish your credibility and professionalism in your blogging site, these pages play a crucial role.
There are certain pages that almost every website whatever its purpose has and those pages are:
- About Us Page
- Contact Page
- Product and Service Page
- Disclaimer page
- Terms and Conditions Page
- Blog page etc.
How to add a navigational Menu (Important Pages) in WordPress Blog
The important pages or your navigational menu location on your blogging site depends on your WordPress theme. For example, most WordPress pieces come with a primary menu that appears on the top.
Some themes may include a secondary menu, a footer menu, a mobile navigation menu, etc.
To create a navigational menu
- Hover over Appearance >> then the Menus page in your WordPress dashboard
- Give the name of the menu and click on Create menu
- Click on the ‘View all’ tab to see all your site’s pages you have added as your important pages.
- Choose the pages you want to add to the menu by clicking the box next to each of the pages.
- Once your pages have been added, you can move them around by dragging and dropping them in the “Menu Structure” section to change their order and rearrange them.
- Although there are different locations depending upon your chosen WordPress theme, it’s your primary menu so check mark on the primary menu.
Here is your finished menu on your site.
You can play around with your menu on your blogging site. Such as adding a drop-down menu, adding categories, adding custom links, editing and removing a menu item, and many more. To learn more about those, you can visit a blog post: How to add a navigation menu in WordPress (Beginner’s Guide) from WordPress itself.
Configuring Permalink structure
A permalink is the shorter form of a Permanent link. It is the full URL for your blog page on a website. It mostly includes your domain name and a slug (the part of the URL that follows the domain name.
Permalinks determine the structure of your post and Page URLs. SEO-friendly permalinks improve your search engine rankings and make your URLs more user-friendly.
A concise, descriptive URL structure enhances both SEO and use experience. It makes it easier for readers to understand the content of a page from the link itself.
That’s why, a proper permalink makes navigation easier for your site visitors. A well-structured URL communicates the content’s relevance, attracting more clicks from search results.
How to configure your WordPress Blog permalink structure
Your goal should be to create a permalink an easy-to-understand URL for both humans and search engines. You can see many permalink structures on the WordPress dashboard. But the most common and used permalinks structure is: “Post Name“
To change the permalink of your blog pages and posts
- Click on Settings on the left side of your WordPress dashboard.
- Click on Permalinks
- Select post name
- Click on Save changes
Your blog post or page permalink after structuring looks like this
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You can change the permalink structure of each blog post, tags, categories, and website URL. For more information visit: How to Create Custom Permalinks in WordPress.
How to set the title (Name) of your blogging site
Here, you are learning about your WordPress blog website title. Not a page title or a blog post title. Most of the businesses put their logo on the site title. You can too. But it is better to give a name to your blogging website.
Name of the your blogging site is the name of your brand. It increases the understanding of your website. It is the first thing your site visitors see on the search engine.
Your blog name or site title specifies, to both users and search engines, what your brand is called and what they can expect to find on the website.
It is easy to set your blog name.
- Go to Settings on the left side of your WordPress dashboard
- Click on General
- There you can see the Site Title and Tagline for your blogging site
- Fill them as per the purpose of your blog
- Click on Save changes
After setting up your blog name or blog title it is shown on the search engines, on the tab of your web browsers in the same manner as your blog post titles are shown when your visitor clicks on the post link.
Creating Categories and Tags in your WordPress blog
Categories and tags are used to group your posts together differently. They will help your blogging site develop a proper site structure that is meaningful and semantic.
These both tools are great for your blogging SEO. Category means to broadly group your posts, like a table of contents on your blogging site. Tags are meant to describe specific details of your posts, like index words in a book.
How to add categories and tags to your blog post
Adding categories and tags to your WordPress blog website is very simple. Either you go to “Posts” on the left side of your WordPress dashboard. Click on the category and tag it individually in the drop-down menu of Posts.
Or When you click on “Posts” and then click on “Add New“
On the right-hand sidebar, you will see categories and tags
You can add categories and tags before writing or after writing your post.
For more details visit: how to Add Categories and Subcategories in WordPress
Integrating Google Analytics into WordPress Blog
In today’s data-centric age and time, tracking visitors and generating detailed segment reports on various web traffic analysis parameters is a must-have aspect for your blogging business and digital marketing business.
Among many popular tools for this purpose, Google Analytics for WordPress blogs is your excellent choice for analyzing visitor trends and traffic sources. One main reason is it is excellent and Free.
Google Analytics tells you who and when visited your website, what visitors are doing, how they discover your site, how they interact, their geo-location, bounce rate, page views, time spent on pages, traffic sources, and much more.
So you must add the best tracking tool – Google Analytics in your WordPress blog.
How to integrate Google Analytics into your WordPress Blog
There has been an update in Google Analytics since 1 July 2023. Now Google Analytics has become GA4. Universal Analytics of the before version no more works.
If you already have a Google Analytics Account, you should update to the new version. If you don’t have a Google Analytics Account, Go to Google Analytics and Open an account with your Gmail.
You can integrate Google Analytics into your WordPress blog via many methods. Some popular methods are:
- Adding Google Tag Code to Header.php
- Installing the Google Analytics WordPress Plugin
- Using Google Tag Manager
- Hosting WordPress Google Analytic Locally
Among many methods, you are going to learn the easiest method without the need for technical knowledge. And that one is Installing the Google Analytics WordPress Plugin in your WordPress Blog.
- Go to your WordPress Dashboard
- Click Plugins>>Add New
- Type “GA Google Analytics” in the search box.
- Install it and Activate the Plugin
- After activation, Go back to Dashboard >> Settings>>Google Analytics
- Click Plugin Settings
- Copy and Paste the “Tracking ID” you have, when you sign up for your Google Analytics Account.
- You must check the “Universal analytics/analytics.js” and “Include tracking code in page head (Via wp_head)” boxes that set up Google Analytics on the WordPress website.
- Click on “Save Changes“
Once you have integrated Google Analytics with your WordPress site, the next step is to verify the integration.
- Go to Google Analytics
- Click on Real-time >>Overview
- Visit any page of your WordPress Blog Website
- If Google Analytics is connected to your blogging website, you will see a bar indicating your website data goes back well in Google Analytics.
Setting up Google Search Console
Google Search Console (known as Google Webmaster Tool before) is one of the best and most free services of Google. It enables you to track your website’s presence on SERPs.
It provides insights into your site’s performance such as current SERP standing, website errors, uncovering and resolving code markup errors, and more on Google. This tool can be used for Google site verification, especially site ownership.
Monitoring your site’s performance through the Search Console allows you to address issues and optimize your content for better visibility in search results. It’s a valuable tool for SEO and overall site health.
The main benefits of Google Search Console are:
- Enable you to improve your SEO techniques
- Offer you a unique insight into your current setup
- Improve your search appearance data
- Increase the use of structured data testing
- Make improvements to your site’s HTML
- Check on backlinks and optimize internal links
- Verification of your domain ownership
How to verify your WordPress blog site in Google Search Console
To connect your WordPress blog to Google Search Console, there are several ways you can follow. When you add your web domain and continue to connect with the search console, you can see two options: Recommended and Alternative Methods.
If you are good at technical knowledge, you can apply any one. But in this segment, you are going to learn the easiest method with the SEO plugin i.e. Yoast SEO.
- Visit to Google Search Console website and click on the “Start Now” button.
- Sign in with your Google/Gmail Account.
- You can see two methods for your site verification. Go for the URL prefix method because it is a flexible one. Enter your website URL.
Note: While entering your website URL, You need to know that Google considers HTTP and HTTPS as two different protocols. It also considers the www version and non-www version of your website as two different websites.
- After entering the correct website address, click on the “Continue” button.
- Click on the Alternative Method Tab and Choose HTML Tag for verification.
- Copy the Verification code located at the very end of the string provided.
- Go to your WordPress dashboard and Click on Yoast SEO >> Settings.
- Click on the General Tab. You will have a drop-down menu.
- Click on the Site Connection tab. There you will see different site connection methods.
- You go for Google and Paste the code you have copied from HTML Tag.
- Go back to Search Console and click on “Verify“
- Google search console will now look for the HTML tag in your website code and will show you a success message.
- That’s all. Click on the “Go to Property” link to visit your Google Search Console Dashboard.
Adding a sitemap to Google Search Console
A sitemap is a crucial component of a WordPress blog website’s infrastructure. It plays a vital role in SEO and user experience. The sitemap of your blogging site serves several important purposes. Such as:
- Improving crawling and indexing with a roadmap provided by the sitemap
- Ensures inclusion of all pages
- Faster indexing of new blog content
- Better SEO provides metadata about each page
- Improved user experience
- Enhances mobile usability
- Identify the errors and issues in your website’s structure or content.
- And many more
It is a fundamental tool for website owners and webmasters to ensure that their sites are properly crawled and indexed by search engines. It is a relatively simple yet highly effective aspect of SEO and website management that should not be overlooked.
How to add your sitemap to Google Search Console
As the name suggests, a sitemap is a literal map of your website. It shows the structure of the site, the sections in it, the links between your pages and contents, and more to help search engines find your blog content.
There are different ways to add your sitemap to the search console. As you are learning the easiest one in this blog post, the easiest one is to add a sitemap to the search console with WordPress plugins.
And the good news is, if you installed the Yoast SEO plugin in the steps above, you have already added an XML sitemap to your site automatically.
To see your sitemap…
- Go to Yoast SEO on the left side of your WordPress dashboard.
- Click on Setting
- On the New page, Click on Site features
- Scroll down until you find the APIs.
- You can see XML site map is already On automatically.
- To see your XML site map. Click on the View the XML sitemap button and you will see this.
- Copy the URL from the Browser. Usually, a sitemap looks like
- Go back to your Google Search Console dashboard and Click on the sitemaps menu from the left column.
- Add the copied URL from the browser under the “Add new Sitemap” section and click on the Submit button.
- Google will now add your sitemap URL to your Google Search Console
Additional setups before publishing your First Blog Post
There are other many things you have to take care of before publishing your first blog post. Writing blog posts and publishing only won’t give you any results.
You must have your WordPress blog site set up properly same as any physical business setup before starting. Because you are doing blogging as a business, not as a hobby.
Set Up SEO
SEO (search engine optimization) helps your content rank higher in search engine results.
Effective SEO strategies attract more organic traffic to your blog. It expands your reach and increases visibility to your target audience. It is a critical component for driving traffic and growing your blog’s online presence.
For this purpose, you have already a WordPress plugin on your Blogging site. That is: Yoast SEO.
Configure discussion Settings
Discussion settings control how comments are handled on your blog.
Proper configuration helps manage and filter comments effectively, reducing spam and maintaining a healthy discussion environment. It ensures that meaningful interactions thrive on your blog while eliminating unwanted distractions.
To assist you with this, there are also many plugins on the internet. Search it and apply the same process of adding new plugins setup to your WordPress blog. The most popular WordPress plugin for this is Akismet.
Set Up Social Media Integration
Social media integration enables easy sharing of your content.
Integrating social media connects your blog to a broader audience. It facilitates content sharing, increasing your reach and engagement.
Social media is a powerful tool for promoting your blog and engaging with your readership.
Lots and lots of WordPress Plugins are available for you to complete this setup on the WordPress plugin directory. You need to find a good one and add it to your WordPress blog. I am using for this purpose the WordPress plugin: Shareaholic.
Backups protect your site from data loss.
Regularly scheduled backups ensure that even in cases of technical issues, hacking attempts, or accidental deletions, you can quickly restore your website and content.
it is like having an insurance policy for your digital assets. It is a safety net for preserving your hard work and online presence.
Again, for this purpose, you have many choices of WordPress plugins. I am using to configure backups for my site the WordPress plugin named: Updraftplus.
Secure your Website
Security safeguards your site against hacks and breaches.
Website security is paramount for protecting your data and your users’ information.
A secure website fosters trust safeguards your reputation, and prevents costly disruptions and legal issues.
Wordfence Security is the popular WordPress plugin for this purpose. You can use anyone choosing the available WordPress plugins for security in its directory.
Legal compliance protects your website and users.
Complying with regulations, such as GDPR and COPPA if applicable, not only ensures legal protection but also builds trust with your audience. It demonstrates your commitment to data privacy and responsible online practices.
Set up an Email List For your WordPress Blog
Email marketing helps build and engage with your audience.
Building an email list is a strategic move to connect with your readers on a more personal level.
It allows you to promote your content, products, or services directly to your audience’s inboxes, fostering long-term relationships. It is a valuable asset that helps you build and engage with your audience.
There are many choices to set up your email list for you. If you plan to build an email subscriber list, you can integrate an email marketing service like MailChimp or CovertKit with your WordPress blog. Then create a lead magnet along with the sign-up form to collect the emails of your subscribers.
Besides, these are all set up before publishing your first blog post, it will be very easy for you to create blog posts continuously if you have your Content plan handy with you. Other than the layout of your Home page, you should adjust the sidebar and remove the unnecessary default layouts so that your WordPress blog looks clean and nice.
Once you have completed these essential setups, you will be well-prepared to publish your first post and start building your blog’s content. Remember to regularly update and maintain your WordPress website to ensure its long-term success.
By understanding the why and importance of each step, You will be able to explain them clearly in your blog post. it will help your audience grasp the significance of a well-structured WordPress blog setup for a successful online presence.
Completing these setups for your site and understanding their significance, you are ready to launch your WordPress blog with a strong foundation for success. Each step and setup plays a vital role in enhancing your site’s functionality, user experience, and long-term growth.
Did you set up all these steps when you set up your WordPress blog?
If you are new, follow the steps to set up your strong foundation WordPress blog website.
If you have any doubts or confusion, you can put it in the comment section.