WordPress Installation Checklist

By | December 17, 2017

I’m going to kick my series of WordPress guides with a WordPress installation checklist. This is the same checklist I use when installing and tweaking a new a WordPress website.

Some of you would naturally consider yourself a WordPress expert and will skip over this post. Do me a favour and just flick through it, you might learn something new or discover something you forgot.

The WordPress installation checklist is a list of simple steps you can use as a guide when planning, installing and configuring a new WordPress website. For your convenience and carbon pleasure, we will also be creating a PDF version you can print and keep, but the PDF version will not have the extended descriptions or tips you find below.

Also, this checklist will never be fully complete. Now and then we will tweak some of the steps and add new ones. Readers can also suggest a step or two and then even more changes will be made. So, it will be a good idea to bookmark this page and return regularly for updates.

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WordPpress Installation Checklist

Step 1) Find a cool domain name

The debate about whether to include a hyphen in the domain name or not is still raging on; with no clear winners. The only thing everybody agrees on is that a hyphen between words is better for SEO and domain names without the hyphen is better for us humans. Furthermore, in my experience, I found that a .com domain is a little better for SEO than other TLDs (Top Level Domains), but then again, I can be wrong. Be careful when choosing a domain name, because you need to live with it for many years.

Step 2) Renew the domain name for 3 years or more

You will never get a clear answer about domain age and SEO, but it always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when a domain is registered for a few years. You can read more about domain age and SEO here.

Step 3) Get a hosting account and change domain DNS settings

If you do not have a clue which hosting company to use or what package to choose from; I found an article with a good Bluehost vs. Hostgator review.

Step 4) Create a WordPress MySQL database and download WordPress

This should not be to difficult to do; however, I will point you in the right directions. Watch the video tutorial below on how to create a MySQL database in cPanel. You can download WordPress from WordPress.org.

Step 5) Extract the WordPress archive, rename wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php and update the WordPress configurations

Open the wp-config in your favorite text editor and fill in your MySQL database credentials. A configuration setting that most skip is the “Authentication Unique Keys and Salts” setting. This is actually, apart from the database credentials, the most important setting for your WordPress blog. You can use the WordPress.org secret-key service to generate your own unique keys.

Step 6) Upload the WordPress files and begin the WordPress installation

Open your favorite FTP program and upload all the files to your server root (normally /buplic_html). No go to your website (www.yourdomain.com) and start the WordPress installation process. Complete the installation process and login to your administration panel.

[su_note note_color=”#FFF6BF”]Please use long secure passwords![/su_note]

Step 7) Update the general WordPress settings

Go to Settings -> General to update the general settings. The important settings here are the Site Title, Tagline and Membership settings. I will lose my mind if I see another “Just another WordPress site” tagline, so please come up with something original. The rest of the settings are all up to you.

Step 8) Update your Permalink settings to something SEO friendly

Go to Settings -> Permalinks in your WordPress administration panel to change the permalink settings. Read our “Best WordPress Permalink Structure for SEO” for more on Permalinks.

Step 9) Find a cool theme and install it

I would suggest you find a Responsive theme. When you found the perfect theme for your blog, go your WordPress administration panel and then to Appearance -> Themes. On the Themes page, go to Install Theme. On the Intall Theme page, in the search box, type in the name of the theme you found and press Search. In the Search results under the theme you would like to install, click on the Install Now link. Follow the instructions and activate your theme.

Step 10) Secure your WordPress Login

It is recommended that you password protect your wp-login.php file to stop brute force attacks. There is unfortunately no easy way to do this, but HostGator in all there wisdom prepared an article for us mortals. You can read more about WordPress Login and Brute Force Attacks here.

Step 11) Start installing important WordPress plugins

Coming Soon…

Step 12) Create some posts

At least create 10 posts before moving to the next step.

Coming soon…

This is not the end. We will return to this post and continuously edit it until we have the perfect checklist. In the meanwhile, I’m sure the steps above will get you started quickly.

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