Do you want to install a WordPress plugin? Did someone casually mention to you that you need to install a WordPress plugin on your site—or did you read it somewhere? Have you ever installed a WordPress plugin before? Do you even know what a WordPress plugin is to start with? Well, good news! You are about to have the answers to all these questions in the next few minutes!
WordPress Plugins are what makes WordPress tick. They add more (extend) features to the core WordPress features, and there is a WordPress plugin for almost anything. You want to add related posts beneath each post, or share buttons, or author profile, or you wanna sell your products or create a membership site, there’s a plugin—nay there are plugins—for that.
You can get plugins for free and there are the ones that you may have to buy for a few dollars. As a starter blogger, you might want to focus on using free plugins.
And you need to avoid the temptation of wanting and installing so many plugins—else your blog with be slow. Go for plugins that have many-in-one features over individual plugins for those features. Also, when picking a plugin, try going for the one with higher downloads. Delete any theme or plugin you are not using.
Most themes and plugins come with demo and installation guides called documentation—usually on their developer’s websites—when you install them.
A simple Google search—e.g. How to setup [PLUGIN NAME HERE] wordpress plugin—can save you the stress of figuring out how to set them up on your own—by exposing you to countless step-by-step blog articles.
How to install a Plugin
- From the left navigation menu, Click on Plugins > Add New
- The WordPress repository for plugins will open up showing you some recommended plugins. You can use the search form to find the plugins you are going to need.
- Click the Install Now button and it will start installing.
- After that, you can search for more plugins or click Activate.
Note: You may not find some plugins that you may like on the wordpress repo or you may buy a plugin drectly from a marketplace or a developer. You will have to upload the plugin file usually gotten in .zip format. To do this, when you reach the page to Add New plugins, you will see Upload Plugin just at the beginning of the page.
You can always go to the plugins page to see your already installed plugins. From there, you can activate, deactivate—and then delete—the plugins you don’t need.
Here are some basic free plugins I reckon you should find and install when starting a WordPress site:
- Jetpack (This adds some features from the wordpress.com network and have many features like email subscription, load speed, security, related posts, etc).
- Askimet (for filtering spam comments)
- Advance Ads (for placing ads in various parts of your blog)
- Rank math or Yoast SEO (for SEO—see day 4 email)
- UpdraftPlus (for backing up your blog to your email incase of any crash)
- Wordfence (for security)
- Social warfare (to add share buttons to your blog)
- WP Cache (for speeding up your site)
- WPForms Lite (for adding contact forms on your site)
- WP Mail SMTP (to ensure your contact form are working)
- WPS Hide Login (to change your default login URL to something customized e.g. yourdomin.com/login to prevent hackers from easily accessing your login form to deploy an hack attack—I once had an environmental blog of mine hacked. I fixed it through my hosting account, but Google flagged that domain)
- Smush (this will compress your image files to reduce their size and keep your site speed fast).
- Woocommerce (only if you want to start selling products on your blog right away)
Note: These plugins all have premium versions but don’t be pressured to upgrade (buy) any just yet.
There you have it! As promised, now you have the answers to the questions above—you now know what wordpress plugins are, and how to install ’em—and then some. Now, go install a WordPress plugin on your site.