Settings > General
Make sure that the Site Title and Tagline fields are properly filled out. Nothing looks more unprofessional than the old “Just Another WordPress Site” appearing in the browser’s title bar.
Also, make sure that you have set the correct Timezone and Date/Time formats. You wouldn’t want the wrong dates or times showing up in your blog post, right?
Settings > Discussion
Many sites these days aren’t using the WordPress comment capabilities. Give this page a visit and make sure the settings reflect your preferences.
Settings > Permalinks
Ensure that your new site is using a nice, SEO-friendly permalink structure. Pretty much any setting outside of the default should do just fine.
If you have not done it yet, you need to Secure, SEO, Backup, Spam and Update plugins to make your site complete.
The team that works on the WordPress core do a great job of patching security holes rather quickly. These days, the software will even update itself when a new fix is released. This is just to keep the core software secure, you need to install plugins to make it even safer.
I use iThemes Security to make my and my clients WordPress sites harder to hack. iThemes security hides common WordPress security vulnerabilities, preventing attackers from learning too much about your site and away from sensitive areas like your site’s login, admin, etc. and will “lock out” a user after a number of failed login attempts.
That can slow down bots who attempt brute-force attacks on your site. The sad thing is that those attacks will happen. It’s only a matter of time. And, don’t forget, the more complicated password/passphrase you use – the better!
Don’t Forget the SEO
WordPress out of the box is already technically quite a good platform for SEO, it is not enough you need to be able to create good content people will read. The SEO plugin that I prefer is WordPress Seo, the WordPress Seo, care of all the technical optimization, it first and foremost helps you write better content. WordPress SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.
While you’re at it, you’ll definitely want to sign your site up for both Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. These tools are essential for tracking how well you’re doing with SEO along with any marketing efforts you have made for your site.
If you enable comments on your site, you might get Spam comments – there is one plugin that is important to have to protect yourself against Spam comments. The Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from comment and trackback spam. Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not. It keeps your site protected from spam even while you sleep.
Have an Emergency Plan
One of the most important aspects of having a website is the ability to restore the site in the unlikely event that your site could be lost at any moment. The combination of a server crash and a web host’s corrupt backup file could mean starting from scratch again.
You need to have a plan to Regular Backup Your Site and Keep a Local Copy of Important files
Regularly Back Up Your Site, Especially the Database
A database backup is just a simple start, don’t just rely on your web host to take care of this. Having the ability to restore your site’s database in the event of a crash is priceless. iThemes Security allows you to set up a regular backup of your database and have it delivered by email to an email account of your choices.
If you have FTP access to your website, take advantage and download all of your WordPress-related files. The folder
/wp-content/ is especially important. This contains your theme, plugins, uploaded media and other vital data.
Go one step further, the BackupBuddy provides complete backups of all your site files (including image and media files, themes, plugins, widgets, and settings) – which aren’t included in a database backup. With BackupBuddy you can customize backup schedules, send your backup files safely off-site to remote storage destinations, restore your site quickly & easily and even move your whole site to a new host or domain.
Use a Child Theme
This is one tip that may sound like it’s for really advanced WordPress users. To some degree, it is. But it’s something I’ve seen a lot of site owners overlook (mostly because they’re unaware of it).
A child theme is a separate folder within your
/wp-content/themes/directory. Think of it as a sort of extension of the “parent” theme your site is using. You can use a child theme to customize the look or functionality of your site.
So what’s the benefit of having a child theme? Often times, theme developers will release updates (much like plugins are updated). The child theme ensures that you won’t lose any customizations made to your theme when these updates are made. Imagine having made some updates to a theme file or stylesheet, only to see them disappear after you click that Update button. This is another way to protect yourself from an unwelcome situation.
Depending upon your experience level, a child theme can be pretty easy to set up. If you hired a web designer/developer to create your site, ask them if you should be using one.
Launching your new site is very exciting, you want to make sure the site looks and functions perfectly. Taking the time to focus on the details can make a huge difference in having an operational site.