30 Tweaks for Setting Up WordPress For the First Time

This is a short checklist of items that I created when I was setting up a friend’s new blog. It’s pretty much all the tweaks, I make to a standard install of WordPress that I use.

Once you have created your admin user:

  • 1). Login and set the password to something you can remember!
  • 2). Update any pre-installed plugins that you need, remove any that you don’t.
  • 3). Set the title and Tagline in General Settings
  • 4). Check your WordPress address is correct
  • 5). Update your email address.
  • 6). Check the membership of the blog including the New User Role
  • 7). Don’t forget to check your timezone!
  • 8). Go to the writing tab, and check the size of the post box! I usually set mine to 15 lines.
  • 9). For remote publishing, I always check the XML-RPC box.
  • 10). Add any Update Services that you want to ping.

On the reading tab in Settings:

  • 11). Set your frontpage, to either blog style or have a static page.
  • 12). How many posts do you want per page? Five is a reasonable number
  • 13). Set your feed to show the ‘x’ most recent posts. I usually set that to 10 if I’m doing full feed or 25 if not.
  • 14). Set your feed to show the full text or summary. Most people recommend the full text for feeds.

On Discussion Settings:

  • 15). I always set “An administrator must always approve the comment” which is ideal for a new blog, and prevents unnecessary spam.

On the Privacy tab:

  • 16). I always set to “I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Sphere, Technorati) and archivers” but if you’re for a small or private audience, then check the other option.

On the Permalinks tab:

  • 17). Set the options for your permalinks. I usually use the /%postname% tag with something else, for example ../%postname%/

Plugins – There are two plugins that are pretty useful to get at the beginning:

  • 18.) Akismet for spam. You’ll need a WordPress.com API key for this.
  • 19.) WP-Cache Manager. You’ll need to activate it, enable the manager and set the time (in seconds).

Users Tab – On the Users tab, click to find your admin profile:

  • 20.) Set the Nickname to something you like. Hit ’save’.
  • 21.) Set your “Display name publicly as” to the Nickname in 20.)
  • 22.) Check your basic details, Website, and any Bio. Info.
  • 23.) Go to the Design Tab.

If you have a good host, you’ll have a variety of themes pre-installed.

  • 23.) Find a good one, activate it.
  • 24.) Go to the Widgets and select the ones you need.
  • 25.) Go to the Theme Editor…
  • 25.) Add your Google Analytics code in the footer!
  • 26.) Add any other code that you might need to the footer.

General Tidying Up: Let’s set the links categories

  • 27.) You will need to decide what links categories you need.
  • 28.) Remove or add any particular links you need in the blogroll.
  • 29.) Set your initial categories for posts, too.
  • 30.) Remove the Hello World post and default links in the blogroll!

This has been honed over numerous installs of WordPress, but is by no means the only possible set. If there are any errors, please read the comments and submit one!

WordPress 2.7 is coming – the preview…

Well, WordPress 2.7 is just around the corner, yet another upgrade, yet another version that is likely to introduce all the things we love and hate about WordPress

New Features and Bugs

Take a look… I won’t be in the first wave of upgrades at all. I’ll likely hang around for version 2.7.1 before upgrading unless there’s an immediate requirement to upgrade.

I think the interface will be useful and more friendly, but I won’t really know until my customers have tried it out! For more information, check out an extended discussion at WebTools Collection.

Switching to a New Platform: WordPress MU

As some of you have been following the blog, InvestorBlogger is in the throes of becoming a multi-blog. This is a great thing for InvestorBlogger because I’ve always found that the blog had a fuzzy focus on topics: covering a wide range of topics from Taiwan to Making Money to Blogging Issues and much more.

I’d been thinking about it for quite some time before I made the jump. And jump it has been. On the surface, WordPress MU looks surprisingly familiar to WordPress 2.5 but once you scratch the surface you begin to realize that somethings that were surprising simply in WP 2.5 are surprisingly difficult in MU:

1). sitemaps – I can create sitemaps for readers but not for Google. All of the MU plugins that were touted to work just DON’T! So, I’ll be writing a sitemap by hand for the time being. This shouldn’t be hard to do as most of the posts are already in the sitemap for the old space. It is certainly going to be easier than the three hours I’ve spent trying to tweak plugins.

2). javascript – Javascript just doesn’t work in posts or sidebars meaning that if you want to include YouTube Videos and Ads, you have to find work arounds that will allow you to achieve the same result. Apparently, this is done because of security issues with Multi-User blogs as Javascript might render the entire site hackable. However on a single user install, this can be a pain.

3). Database – a lot of plugins are integrated with the database, therefore are unsuited to MU installs because they archive the data in the DB. Individual blog settings are typically overridden by each blog: so if you set up the data in the plugin for Blog 1, when you finish the same steps for Blog 2, you will typically find that the data for Blog 1 has been overwritten. I spent hours with several plugins trying to figure out the problem.

These are three issues that I’ve faced: I don’t have more than a partial solution for each.

A bigger issue, though, is the much smaller testing community for MU meaning that bugs are less likely to be found, plugins aren’t tested in as wide a range of settings, and the active community really is full of people with REAL computing skills. This means that I will likely have to spend a lot more time tweaking this install than I ever spent before. What’s worse: WordPress Plugin Authors are increasingly frustrated with the speed of WP updates. We’ve already gone from version 2.3.2 in January to version 2.6.1 in August. Each of the versions has had niggles and issues that haven’t been dealt with properly, and yet new editions are still coming out!

But the options for a multi-site blog are quite limited anyway. b2Evolution, a couple of plugins for WP, one or two paid plugins, MU, or a life resigned to perpetually upgrading plugins, managing numerous installs, and fragmented sites. I guess that’s why I chose MU: I decided to live with the limitations of the system. I love the fact that I can set up a new blog in about 15 minutes, which if I were to do on a regular install would take closer to one hour. I also like the way I can control the over ‘look’ of the website, choosing either to retain the ‘corporate’ look (like this blog) or drop it in favor of a different one altogether: see Taiwan.

Until there’s another solution, I’ll be using MU. I just hope I don’t find a solution within a couple of months!