Okay so you managed to install WordPress for the first time.

Congratulations! But… you do realize you STILL need to clean up and configure its settings inside now right?

I thought I was supposed to blog away when I first installed mine but oh sorpresa… I couldn’t be more wrong!

Writing blog posts is what you do AFTER your initial configuration, not before.

I wasn’t aware of this when I first got my first WordPress blog up and running so I don’t want you to do that mistake either.

WordPress Post-Installation Basic Configuration Checklist

This is the basic configuration process I normally follow whenever I’m installing WordPress for the first time.

You can find all these categories in your WordPress dashboard under Settings.

General Settings

  • Set the site’s title
  • Set the site’s tagline
  • Set admin e-mail
  • Uncheck membership box
  • Select timezone
  • Select Date Format
  • Select Time Format

Important: LEAVE ALONE both settings for WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL).

Writing Settings

  • Size of the blog post: 50 lines
  • Uncheck “Convert emoticons like :-) and :-P to graphics on display” (if you like smileys leave that checked!)
  • Default post category – you can select a default category by creating a category first under Posts/Categories
  • Update Services – you can extend the default update services (http://rpc.pingomatic.com) by googling for “WordPress ping list 2012” and introducing the new values in your update services textbox. Use a line break between each service.

Reading Settings

  • Blog pages show at most: 10 posts (you can lower this value if you want)
  • Syndication feeds show the most recent: 10 items
  • For each article in a feed, show: Full text (don’t shoot yourself in the foot by showing an excerpt)
  • Encoding for pages and feeds: UTF-8 (don’t mess with this)

Discussion Settings

Discussion settings has a lot of checkboxes but it is pretty easy to understand.

In this section the only thing I actually change is the default avatar to display a Gravatar logo. (I’ll show how to personalize that image later)

Some people like to ALWAYS approve their comments, you can do that by checking this box:

  • An administrator must always approve the comment

I like to approve the FIRST comment and the rest of the comments from the same person to be automatically published.

You can do that like this:

  • Uncheck: An administrator must always approve the comment.
  • Check: Comment author must have a previously approved comment

Media Settings

I normally leave all these at their default values, except for this one:

  • Uncheck: Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders

The reason I don’t like to organize in months and years is that I find it more difficult to find media like this.

Many people prefer to have the month and year structure so it’s really up to you.

Privacy Settings

This menu just has one option (Usability Tip for WordPress Developers: They should probably change this somewhere else, it would be one less menu).

Anyway for this setting, either you want the search engines to start indexing your site or you don’t.

There’s no really rule of thumb for this, many say the world will collapse if you allow search engines to index your site if you don’t have any content yet and the truth is that who will actually decide this are the spider bots (search engine crawlers).

It would be a smart choice to allow the search engine indexing to happen when you actually start publishing some content though.

Permalink Settings

Select the postname ratio button or use:

  • custom structure: /%postname%/

If the site you’re planning to build is going to have menus like “WordPress, list building, etc” and you would like your articles to be automatically fed into those menus, then use this value instead:

  • custom structure: /%category%/%postname%/

That’s the current structure I’m using on Marketing With Sergio but if I had understood how all of this worked before, I would have gone with the postname only.

It’s really no big deal but if you choose your permalink structure correctly from the beginning, you’ll be happy forever. ;-)

That is IT for the settings, now we jump on the WordPress clean up!

WordPress Post-Installation Clean Up

This is not crucial to do and in fact, you might want to keep this content in your site, at least until you decide what WordPress theme you’re going to use.

Deleting the content that WordPress automatically places there for you, actually has a purpose and it is to let you know how things look like.

Normally I already know what I’m going to do, so I just get rid of everything, so if you want to do that is just a few extra steps.

Deleting Default WordPress Content

  • I go to Posts/All Posts, check the box for the hello world post and trash it.
  • Then I go to Pages/All Pages, check the box for the Sample page and trash that as well.
  • Note: The comment published goes away with the deleted post, so no need to try to hunt for that comment down.

Cleaning the WordPress Sidebar

For the sidebar there’s a million (maybe more?) different opinions on what you should have, what you shouldn’t have, etc, etc.

The ONLY thing I really can’t stand to see on a blog, is being able to see the Log-in Admin links.

I always get rid of every single thing on the sidebar and start adding widgets as I see necessary.

To do that, you go to Appearance/Widgets and look for the main sidebar in your right and then you can start deleting everything there.

Don’t worry, whatever you delete from there, means you only deactivated it.

And if you’re concerned about getting rid of your admin log in link… (assuming you didn’t do any manual ninja WordPress installation) just go to yourdomain.com/wp-admin and you’ll get the Admin welcome screen.

WordPress Post-Installation Basic Configuration Checklist Video

Anyway I did a video where I show most of these steps, maybe it’s easier to watch? Who knows, here it is!


I think I may have been a bit fast or a bit slow… but I’m planning to create a course very soon and I’ll be as SLOW as needed so don’t fret on these details.

Permalinks Bonus Video: Categories/Postname vs Postname

Thanks to Patrick Griffin in the comments, I made this quick video to answer how to use the categories/postname structure in your permalinks.

As your categories are part of your URL, they can get SEO weight but you also can be repeating words like this (using categories):




And you could easily go away with no categories:


But you wouldn’t have the ability of creating menu based on categories on this one.

So it’s really a matter of preference.


For more advanced WordPress users…

You should know that there is WAY more to this initial checklist such as:

  • Setting pages
  • Installing plugins
  • Configuring your plugins
  • Deciding what your sidebar structure is going to be like
  • Picking a WordPress theme
  • Getting to know your theme
  • Dabbling with the CSS
  • Extending functionality with PHP edits
  • Building a child theme
  • Etc

As you can see, I just wanted to keep this short and straight to the point for people that may not understand WordPress basics just as well.

So I hope you’re digging this content as it is taking a lot of time to produce but that’s perfectly fine with me. ;-)

Take care and speak soon!


Sergio Felix
Sergio Felix

Hi, I'm Sergio Felix, founder of Marketing With Sergio. I work full time as a digital marketing expert for the retail industry managing a team of experts in departments of SEO, SEM, front-end web development and conversion rate optimisation and in my spare time I love conducting offline digital marketing workshops and teaching other entrepreneurs how to build and maintain business oriented websites with WordPress. I'm highly passionate about blogging, writing, music, jogging, entrepreneurship and personal development.