did you activate widget ?
ACP > Extension > Widget
Select in right scroll menu the module recent cards.
What are all the things you'd advise I change / setup on a new installation of NodeBB.
I've tried to go through the forum and it's settings but I feel like I might be missing a few things that would still need changing. Like emails to users, social registration, additional plugins I might need to get... Just so I know I have everything covered.
Site name / logo
Set default user settings and sounds.
Systemd settings (that way the site start on boot up)