Setting up your WordPress blog for maximum performance is not something that you should be scared of. Even if you don’t have any experience using WordPress, you can do a lot when you have the right type of guide in front of you.
That’s why I have prepared this detailed step by step guide for you. By the end of this article, you will feel much relieved and proud of yourself.
If you want to make your blog better, these free resources will help you a lot.
Now let’s get started, shall we?
1. Remove all crap form your WordPress blog
Once you have installed your blog, the next step is to strip the default WordPress settings.
You must be asking yourself, why should you do that?
Well, by default, the page and post are there to look like your theme. These are entirely unnecessary, and it can confuse you down the road.
You will also notice that you have default plugins installed on your WordPress. These plugins are not updated, and there are better options available that will make your blog faster and more secure.
These outdated plugins can reduce your blog’s speed and, in some cases, even break the theme you have installed.
And I am sure you don’t want to spend time dealing with those issues. Right?
Therefore, your primary concern should be to keep your blog lightweight so that it can benefit you in the long run.
The first thing to do is delete the sample page, the sample post, and the sample comment.
Head over to your WordPress dashboard, then click on “All Pages” to enter the sample page. Next, click on “Trash” to delete the page.
Now, head over to “Posts,” then click “All posts.” You will see by default, you have a sample post names “Hello World.” Click on “Trash” to delete the post and its sample comment.
Next, head over to “Plugins” on the left-hand side of your dashboard. Click on “Plugins,” and it will show you all the plugins that are installed.
As I mentioned previously, these plugins are either outdated or unnecessary.
The plugins that should be removed are:
- Akismet Anti-Spam
- Hello Dolly
- Jetpack by WordPress
- MOJO marketplace
- Optin master API
- WPForms Lite
Now that you have removed all the unnecessary craps from your WordPress, it’s time to optimize it to make it more functional and hassle-free.
2. Optimize your WordPress blog
First, you will need to secure your WordPress blog to prevent attacks from hackers.
Since WordPress is a popular platform, it will be more prone to attacks. For instance, your site can get infected with a virus, or maybe you can lose access to your site, and in some rare cases, everything can be deleted from your website.
For security, you will need these plugins:
- Easy Updates manager
- Anti-spam Bee
Second, you have to optimize your blog to have a higher chance of ranking on Google.
For Google ranking, we will use the “Yoast Plugin.”
Next, I will show you how to set up a contacts page using the “contact form 7 plugin”.
Please remember that a lightweight and simple blog will help you attract the right audience, which will help you attract more targeted traffic, and hence you will be on your way to building a sustainable long term online business.
It’s useless to complicate things when you are a new blogger.
Keep it simple, my dear friend.
3. Installing Easy Updates manager
First of all, your WordPress, themes, and plugins must always stay up to date to maximize security. Doing it manually all the time can be a pain in the @ss
The most reliable and fastest way to do it is by installing “Easy updates Manager,” which will take care of all your updates.
Go to your dashboard and click on “Plugins.” Click on add “Add New” and type “Easy Updates Manager.” Click on “Install” and activate the plugin.
Please note that this method will be the same for all plugins.
Once the plugin has been activated, head over to the plugins page.
To set up the Easy Updates Manager, you will have to navigate the plugins page and click on “Configure.”
You will have to enable all updates in the dashboard.
The most important updates will be for your WordPress, themes, and plugins. In the WordPress core updates, uncheck the “WordPress Development update.”
You can check the “Plugins” and “Themes” tab to ensure that they are all allowed to be updated.
You have now added a second layer of security to your website to prevent any kind of attack due to old versions of WordPress, themes, and plugins.
Now, let’s enhance security even further. Shall we?
4. Installing the Wordfence plugin
The installation procedure will be similar, as mentioned above.
Plugins → Add new →type “Wordfence” → click “Install Now” → click “Activate.”
Once it has been installed, you will see a new menu on the left side of your dashboard. It will be named “Wordfence.”
Click on the logo and head over to Wordfence’s dashboard.
The default settings for Wordfence are good enough for security, so we will leave them as they are.
Now we have to check if the firewall is set up correctly.
Search for the field that states “to make your site as secure as possible.” Now click on the link that says, “click here to configure.”
From the dropdown-down menu, select “Apache + suPHP” and click on continue.
You will get an option to download “.htaccess.” Click on it, and it will explain the purpose of the “.htaccess.”
All you need to do now is save the “.htaccess” somewhere in your PC or laptop and click on “Continue” to proceed.
Now Wordfence has been set up successfully.
Voila. It’s done.
Based on my experience and knowledge, this will be enough for your new blog.
If you want more details, you can always do a Google search for Wordfence advanced setup. There are lots of resources out there to help you customize more.
5. Installing Anti-Spam Bee
When your blog starts to get some traction (usually after a few months), you will begin to receive spam comments on your blog.
This will surely happen because many comments bots out there designed to send spam comments to blogs.
You don’t want that to happen or even want to spend a lot of time deleting those spam comments.
That’s why you will have to install “Anti-Spam Bee,” which will filter those spammy comments for you.
So let’s install it. Just as above, we will repeat the same Setup up procedure.
Plugins → Add new →type ” Antispam Bee” → click “Install Now” → click ‘”Activate.”
Head over to your plugins page and click on settings for “Anti-Spam Bee.”
In the first column, “Anti-spam filter,” select “Trust comment with a Gravatar,” and in the top-bottom, choose the language to which you will allow comments on your blog.
In the second column, “Advanced” uncheck “Mark as spam, do not delete.”This will automatically delete all spam comments for you.
In the third column, “More various options,” select “Do not check trackbacks/ pingbacks.” Now click on save.
6. Installing UpdraftPlus
Finally, the last layer of protection is to make sure that you have a back up of your blog if you get hacked somehow.
If this ever happens, you can rest assured that you have at least a back up for your plugins, themes, and content.
Let’s install “UpdraftPlus.”
Plugins → Add new →type “UpdraftPlus” → click “Install Now” → click ‘”Activate”.
Now head over to your plugins page and click on settings for “UpdraftPlus.”
Go to the “Settings” tabs to customize the plugin.
You will see there are two options at the top, which are “Files back up Schedule” and “Database back up Schedule.” You can choose the frequency of the backup from these options.
If you post once a week, then you can choose the weekly option. Please note that if you choose to back up more frequently, it will use more resources, making your website slow.
Next, you will have the option to back up on “Remote Storage.” You can select which one is best suited for you.
It is a must to have remote storage back up. And why it is essential, you must be thinking?
Well, if ever your site gets hacked or have issues with your web server, you will lose your back up and website in a single event.
To prevent such a scenario, let’s create a back up together.
I will choose Google drive to create a new backup. Click on “Google Drive” and go to the bottom and click on save changes.
You will get this message that will tell you to authorize “Google Drive.”
Click on the link and will get a window telling you to choose your Google account. Choose your account and click on “Allow.”
Now you will have to complete the Setup. You will get a new window, and all you have to do is click on “Complete Setup.”
When the Setup is complete, you will be redirected to the “UpdraftPlus” plugin page.
Click on back up, and you will get this window, which will tell you to choose your option.
You will just have to check the box near “Google drive” and click on “Back up now.”
Depending on the size of your blog, it can take a few minutes to back up everything. Once completed, you will have an existing back up displayed.
Now, if you want to back up manually, it’s completely fine. Just remember to save your backup somewhere safe on your computer.
7. Installing Yoast SEO
Now that we have set up all the necessary plugins for maximum security, its time to focus on SEO.
Let’s install the Yoast SEO plugin.
Plugins → Add new →type “Yoast SEO” → click “Install Now” → click ‘”Activate.”
Once Yoast has been installed, it will give you a new menu on the left named “SEO.”
Hover over to “SEO” and click on “General.” You are now into the Yoast SEO dashboard.
Click on the “Features” tab, and you will have the option to either enable or disable some features. You don’t need to enable all of the features as it can slow down your blog.
Here you will have to disable “Readability analysis.” If you are creating more than 3000 words, the “Reliability Analysis Feature” will slow down your workflow.
Now, click on the “Webmaster Tools” to get Google verification code.
Click on “Google Search Console,” and you will get a new window from google webmaster.
Select the “HTML Tag”. Now copy the code and paste it in the webmaster Tools section (Google verification code) and click on save changes.
Next, click on the “Search Appearance” menu option. Click on the “Taxonomies” tab and scroll down to the “Tags” section. Disable “Show tags in search results” and click “Save changes.”
Repeat the same for the “Archives” tab (Disable Author archives)and click “Save changes.”
When you disable the “Tags” and “Author Archives,” you tell Google not to rank them.
This is important because there are times when these can outrank or even compete with your blog posts.
And for sure you don’t want that. You will want Google to show only your blog posts, which will be essential for your readers.
8. Installing Contact form 7
Once again, you should repeat the same procedure to install the Contact form 7 plugin.
Plugins → Add new →type “Contact Form 7” → click “Install Now” → click “Activate.”
Once The plugin has been installed, it will give you a new menu on the left named “Contact.”
Hover over to “Contact” and click on “Contact Forms.”
You will have a default form name “Contact Form 1“. You can either create a new one or customize the “Contact Form 1” by clicking on “Edit.”
For now, let me show you how to use the existing one.
By default, you will have the following:
- “Your Name (required)”
- “Your Email (required)”
- “Your Message”
You can add any field you like, such as a date, a dropdown menu, a quiz, etc.
To change the email where the form will be sent, you will have to click on the “Mail” tab and enter your email address. Now click on “Save.”
You have now completed all the basic set up for your WordPress blog.
You see, it was not that complicated at all.
Final Thoughts: Setting up a WordPress blog for best performance
These were the basic settings for your WordPress blog, which is all you need to create a successful blog.
When you are new to blogging, the most crucial thing will be to create quality content consistently and focus on getting traffic.
Once you have created enough content, you can concentrate on email marketing, blog monetization, aesthetics of your website, and other more advanced kinds of stuff.
If you liked this post, please don’t forget to share it on Pinterest so that others can benefit from it.
See you soon!