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Your First Steps in WordPress

Once I've set up your WordPress blog, I recommend that you take the following steps:

1) Change your password to something secure and useful. There are various random password generators that you can use around the web, but I'd recommend picking a phrase that you can remember easily. Keep in mind that it's a bad idea to use passwords that are very short (less than 8 characters) or based on dictionary words.

2) Activate the Akismet plugin and sign up for the free ID. Akismet is already included in your WordPress install. Other plugins like Antispam Bee are effective as well.

3) Go to the Settings tab in your Dashboard and ensure everything is set up the way you want -- site title, tagline, your email address, date format, post format, and user registration policies.

4) Add your site to Google Analytics, and then install and configure the Google Analytics plugin

5) Install and configure a plugin that can generate XML sitemaps. I'd recommend installing WordPress SEO, and then following their tutorial. XML sitemaps will help search engines like Google and Bing index your site, which in turn helps people find you. You'll tell Google and Bing how to find your sitemaps in the next steps.

6) Add your site to Google Webmaster Tools. You can verify ownership of your site using your Google Analytics account. Next, upload your sitemap that you created in step 5 to Webmaster Tools.

7) Bing currently holds 16-17% of the search market, so it's worth configuring your site there as well. To do so, just repeat step 6 at Bing.com. The sitemaps you created in step 5 are valid for Bing, so you don't need to re-create them.

Now you have a secure WordPress site that will be indexed in the major search engines. Happy blogging!

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