Plugins for your WordPress Blog – Teaching Web Marketing to Artists
Now we need to get into the specifics of configuring your blog. In order to implement new additional features and functionalities Plugins are required.
What is a WordPress Plugin ?
WordPress plugins are bits & pieces of software code written by the Community of WordPress Developers. You’d like your blog to do something that is doesn’t do right now ? Search the WordPress Plugin DIrectory.
There are thousands of WordPress Plugins you can download freely from this and many other websites.
How do you install a WordPress Plugin ?
It’s very easy – if I can do it, so can you!
First of all you need FTP access to your hosting service – when you setup your blog you were issued these parameters and if you don’t have them your webmaster certainly does – ask for them, you should have this information. What you need to access your site in FTP is:
- The name of the host – typically it’s the name of your website, that will do just fine
You use this information with an FTP Client – there are so many out there – If you’re using a Mac there’s one called cyber duck , for Windows there is FTP Surfer . There are also a number of Firefox ADD ONs for FTP you can use if you prefer using your browser.
Getting into the details of how to use these tools is a bit out of scope here, the easiest thing to do is ask someone you know how to use this software. I ran a quick search on a few search engines but the websites I came up with are too geeky for you so don’t bother – ask a friend who knows a bit about web hosting and web design and in 5 minutes I’m serious) you’ll be up and running with your FTP. (if you find a tutorial on running FTP send me the link and I’ll add it to this post)
Now to adding plugins to your blog …
Access your host via FTP and you’ll see something like this when you logon …
Enter the folder wp–content
then go to the folder plugins – that’s where you need to place your plugins. Once you have placed them there, you need to go to your WordPress administration panel and activate them.
click on the plugins link that is on the top right hand side of the page (you’ll find it in between settings and users)
Under ACTION you need to click on ACTIVATE and they work.
Which WordPress Plugins Should I use ?
Here is a list of plugins that will help you in your blogging efforts. For Optimal performance there plugins are just what you need:
- SEO Title Tag
Allows you customize and optimize just about any title tag on your blog and lets you make your title tags different from your post titles. Very important for Search Engine Optimization
- Add META TAGS
Add and customize the description and keyword meta tags for your blog posts and most of the other pages on your blog, such as homepage and category archives
- Related Entries
Finds other related posts on your site and links to them from the bottom of your post – Helps increase the number of page views and time people spend on your site
- WordPress Database Backup
Create WordPress backups
- AKISMET anti spam
Filter out spam comments and trackbacks
- Search Meter
Keep track of what your visitors are searching for on your blog
- Contact Forms
WP Contact Form is a drop in form for users to contact you. It can be implemented on a page or a post
These WordPress Plugins require minimal configuration tasks, the SEO Title Tag might be out of reach for many normal people like yourself but don’t worry too much: This is something that can be done by anyone with minimal HTML coding skills . it’s pretty basic and the activity of uploading, activating and configuring your plugins is really a matter of 1 hour at the most.
With this information and your friendly neighborhood web designer you can have your blog optimized in no time.
A WORD OF CAUTION
Once you’ll see just how easy it is to install and configure free wordpress plugins, you’ll be tempted to install more and more of them – be careful, many plugins are “quick & dirty” work and can cause your blog to crash with serious damage and long outages, along with considerable costs for someone to get it back up and running again.
Don’t install every new plugin you see or hear about – most of them are useless. Install plugins only after you have given the matter some serious thought, identified the plugin and had someone verify the quality: run a search for the plugin name to see if people have been talking about it, if there have been major problems, see how long it has been around and how many other people have downloaded it before you.