Site Setup Checklist

Here is a quick checklist of things to run through once a your domain has been repointed to your host and you have installed WordPress on your site. See our article on adding domains for full details of how to do this.

Some of these things don’t technically need to be done right away; nevertheless from experience setting up several website it is best to have a set routine to go through, getting certain things out the way as soon as you launch the site.

That way when you have a portfolio of sites you don’t have to go back figuring out which things you have configured for which sites – you follow a set pattern every time you set up a new blog that means all the bases are covered.

  • SSL normally installs automatically within 24-48 hours of you installing a new domain on your host; however if you want you can open up a live chat and get your host to install SSL on your new site right away.
  • Install the plugins you anticipate needing right away if you prefer; see our plugins page for some of the more popularly used plugins. You don’t need to actually activate them until you need them later. Shortpixel is a very good plugin to install immediately to optimize images, as is Really Simple SSL to force https redirects.
  • You can also delete plugins that are not usually needed if you want to, like Jetpack, MOJO, Hello Dolly, WPForms Lite.
  • Install and use a Theme you like. Check out the ones supplied by default, or else see our Themes page for some good free and Premium themes to try out.
  • If you plan on setting up an email for a new site, then now is a good time to do it. It allows you to connect things on your site to it like Google Analytics, Plugin registrations and Contact Forms.
  • See this article for setting up and linking your site with a Google Analytics account for tracking traffic.
  • It is also a very good idea to hook your site up to Google Analytics early on using the MonsterInsights plugin that already comes with many WordPress installs. See this article on doing this.
  • Go to Settings…General and set your Site Title, Tagline, site email and other settings.
  • Go to Settings…..Permalinks and set the structure to Post Name only if this is what you prefer; see our article on the importance of link structure. This step is very important and can save a lot of irritation down the line if you do it right away.
  • Go to Settings….Reading and set whether you want your home page to be a static page or to show a collection of your latest blog posts.
  • Selecting the Customize…..Menus page at the top of your screen allows you to quickly add top level pages to the top bar menu that is common to so many sites, like Home, About Us, Products, Blog etc. Doing it through this menu automatically creates the pages for you to then go in and edit individually.
  • Cycling through all of the options pages from the Customize menu, one by one, will allow you to have the bulk of the site setup as you want it, sorting out menus, widgets and homepage settings.
  • Create About Us, Contact Us and Privacy Policy pages. See here for a good tool for embedding contact forms in a page and here for creating generic privacy policies and cookie consent.
  • Install a free backup plugin such as UpdraftPlus and then aim to backup your site at least monthly.

And then some other things that might not be urgent, but are useful to do when you get time:

  • Uploading a WordPress sitemap to Google Search Console – GSC needs setting up and linking first, but see this guide.
  • Making site load faster – Assuming you’re not already using an ad provider like Ezoic who will sort caching and site speed for you, using a plugin like Autoptimize or WP Super Cache can be helpful to compress code on your site and make other small tweaks to make pages load faster.
  • Add social media buttons – Loads of plugins for this, but Shared Counts is one I’ve used. Be aware though, these plugins can use a lot of code and affect site speed. Only use if it makes sense for your site.