Smashing Magazine just asked for reader’s best WordPress tutorial ideas and so I’m going to unveil the first five essential tasks/tweaks I do whenever I set up a WordPress blog …
Here goes … Five Essential Tweaks For Your WordPress Blog Install
1. Install the Google Sitemap Plugin – and link to it in my footer. If I could only do one tweak, this would be it.
2. Activate the Askimet Plugin – If you don’t, plan to be wading in comment spam. Somehow the spammers REALLY know how to find a way to get that spam junk into your blog.
3. Burn the Feed – with Feedburner of course. I failed to do this with my very first blog, then I ended up moving blog platforms and lost some readers and momentum in the process. With Feedburner, if you ever move, it’s a quick tweak in one place and everybody gets updated to the new feed automatically.
4. Change the Permalinks Structure – I use this format … /%postname%/ … I use the category slug so I can optimize my post titles with keywords that I won’t or don’t include in post titles. My friend Brian Gardner puts a .htm also at the end, which I’m experimenting with as well. My theory is that in search results some people might see the .htm and think there’s actual content in that link. Jury’s still out on that one. Update: I initially included the Category in the permalink structure, but have now switched my thinking on that … I only use the PostName in the Permalink Structure. Putting the Category in the Permalink causes some headaches and makes for longer URLs.
5. Use a Contact Form Prominently – I’ve seen it dramatically increase my correspondence with both my customers and readers. See mine in action here. I use this Contact Form plugin and it’s been extremely reliable. Some of my friends use this one.
OK, that’s it … at least the first essential tweaks and changes I do for a new WordPress blog.
For other posts like this, see the Advice I Give My Clients category.