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Checklist for New WordPress Sites

After installing WordPress as our blogging and content management system twice now, I have a few tips for new WordPress sites using shared hosting and addon domains.

  1. Setup the addon domain. This could include purchasing a domain name, changing the name servers with your domain registrar, and creating the addon domain with your web host. The addon domain is often a subdirectory of the main domain. I’ve discovered it’s easier to manage when the main domain and the addon domain are in separate, sibling subdirectories inside a parent directory.
  2. Create and configure your .htaccess files. You’ll need one to redirect your main domain to its subdirectory. I use another so the new domain doesn’t show up as a subdomain of the main domain. Using permalinks to make the site more search engine optimized modifies the .htaccess file too.
  3. Create a database and install the WordPress software. Your web host might use Fantastico which makes this much easier.
  4. Modify the WordPress options for how you want the site to operate (you can change things like receiving or not receiving email when someone comments a post).
  5. Configure Akismet. It comes with WordPress by default and helps manage comment spam. You’ll need an API key to use it
  6. Create a robots.txt to make the search engines happier by removing some of the duplicate content.
  7. Install and configure an analytics tool to see how many visitors you get and what they do. WordPress.com stats and Google Analyticator are good choices depending on the level of detail you need. You’ll need an API key for WordPress.com stats.
  8. Install and configure Search Everything unless you just plan to write posts. This lets visitors search pages, comments, attachments, and many other things depending on the options used.
  9. Install and configure Google Sitemap Generator. It’s used by the search engines to better navigate your site.
  10. Choose a theme. There are a ton of free themes and you can always modify them to your liking.
  11. Check the permissions of your files and directories. Giving too much access is a security risk.

Once your blog or site makes it big consider adding WP-Cache for better performance and AdSense Manager for monetizing it.


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