So – what are “plugins”?
Basically, they add functionality to your WordPress blog or website. There are thousands of them available, all created by elves who love to share their geek creations with the world. (OK – so they’re not elves, but the plugin programmers love that WordPress is open source and add what they can to the collective!). And while they may be free (mostly), if the added functionality is useful for you, it is a good thing to make a donation to that plugins creator, if such an option exists.
The first plugins that you will come across are the Akismet spam filter and Hello Dolly. The first is a welcome standard that we urge you to activate and use, the second is pure frivolity from the WordPress creators and you can either use it or delete!
The way we recommend you approach adding more plugins is to source them from the WordPress.com site (ideally) and to install and activate one at a time. Sometimes plugins can conflict with each other or with a theme – if your WordPress suddenly dies, the first thing we look at is the plugins.
Probably the best way to go about choosing a plugin is to first of all identify what you need, so for this post I have decided I want a cool twitter plugin.
You can review the plugins available on the WordPress website, in which case the first place to go to is WordPress Plugins and search for what you want – in this instance ‘twitter’ and I’ve decided to sort by Highest Rated and after looking at a few I’ve chosen WP to Twitter as it looks pretty interesting.
To add a new plugin, from your Dashboard go to Plugins > Add New – here I am going to search for the specific plugin chosen ‘wp to twitter’ and once the search results come up click on install to the right of the description.
The full description and information will come up but as I’ve already looked into this plugin I am ready to click on Install Now, it shouldn’t take long to install and once done you’ll get a confirmation to show it’s installed and also asking if you want to activate it.
Plugins cannot be used on your WordPress until they are activated – Plugins, Installed and activate (an option under the plugin’s description) – once you have done this you either have to sort out their settings or go to widgets and pop them into the side bar, see WordPress Widgets, What, Why How Post.
Now I’ve activated WP to Twitter I will need to give it more information, as no extra menu appeared in my dashboard sidebar menu I’ve had a look in Settings and it is there at the bottom of that menu. Your plugins options, etc will be available from the Dashboard menu – either within Settings, Tools, or perhaps with a menu item of its own.
So, now I’ve installed the plugin, activated and popped the required information into the settings. That’s it, all done!
While I am in my dashboard I’ve also decided I no longer need some plugins that I had previously installed so time to delete some. To do this simply click on plugins and here you’ll see a list of what you have, if you simply don’t want to use a plugin for now click on deactivate, if you really didn’t get on with that plugin and no longer wish to use it click on delete.
Hopefully having read this you’ll see that there really isn’t much effort or geeky stuff to be done to get a plugin working on your site and if you need help just leave a comment and we’ll get back to you.
If you are unsure of what you should have and would like us to give your WordPress a healthcheck click here to book a session with the blogmistress 😉
Thanks to Joseph O’Sullivan for this commissioned guest post