It’s easy for those of us behind-the-scenes to forget what it was like when we started a new WordPress site. I mean, I’ve been making websites for over 20 years. And I learned by looking at actual source code from other websites.

Yep, that’s pretty hardcore. But that’s how it was done in the 90s.

These days, it’s so much easier to get your website underway. All you have to do is sign up with a web host, click a few buttons, and boom! New WordPress site.

But after it’s installed, then what? Well, that’s what I’m here for.

Top 5 questions (and answers) about your new WordPress site

Q. What is Akismet?

A. Akismet is your first line of defense against comment spam. It checks each new comment and determines whether it looks like spam, then marks it as such. Spam comments are deleted after 15 days, unless you mark them as legitimate.

Q. Do I need the Hello Dolly plugin?

Need? No. All the Hello Dolly plugin does is display a line from the song in the top right-hand side of the WordPress admin screen. You can safely delete it if you don’t want to use it.

Q. Should I install Jetpack?

A. You might want to. Jetpack is a collection of useful features for WordPress. Things like statistics, automatic sharing of new blog posts to social media, extra sidebar widgets, and the ability for your readers to comment as their Facebook profile.

There are other plugins that do specific things better than Jetpack does (for instance, dozens of social media sharing plugins), but Jetpack is a good one to get you started on lots of extra functionality.

Q. Do I need an SSL certificate?

A. If you have any kind of user login on your site – such as a membership area or shopping cart – you need to keep your user data secure. So yes, you need an SSL certificate. But it’s not expensive to get one anymore, thanks to an organisation called Let’s Encrypt.

Q. How do I find out if people are seeing my website?

A. You’ll need a stats plugin. Many people are fond of Google Analytics, but personally I’ve always used Statcounter. Either of the two will give you a good idea of who’s viewing your website, when, and which pages are most popular.

Both are free to use, with Statcounter offering paid upgrades to keep logs for longer.

What other questions do you have about starting with a new WordPress site?