WordPress for Beginners Blog Series Part 2-3: Plugins

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Welcome back to the WordPress for Beginners blog series by Bethany Opp Web Studio located in Rogers, Arkansas. I hope that you’ve been able to follow along as we go through the basics of WordPress! If you’ve not been able to read past posts, here’s a quick run down…

Week 1: Part 1 The Software – WordPress explained

Week 2: Part 2-1 Basic Settings – Breakdown of basic settings for your WordPress website

Week 3:  Part 2-2  Posting – The difference between pages vs. posts

(Today) Week 4: Part 2-3 Plugins – Plugins explained and their use for your business website

WordPress for Beginners Blog Series Part 2-3 Plugins Pin Image

In the WordPress community, you’ve probably heard the word “plugin” dropped now and then. In short, plugins are apps that you add to your website to carry out specific tasks, made by people all over the world and range from free to premium prices. Just like you download apps to your smart phone to do certain tasks for you, the same can be said about plugins for your website. These tasks can be anything from gaining information about your users from a contact form to your own site’s efficiency, such as an image optimizer which adjusts your images in ways that keep them from slowing down your website speed. One important note about plugins is that they can add time to your site’s loading and speed, which is something to be incredibly careful about. Make sure you speak with your designer  on how “heavy” a plugin may be before installing it so that you aren’t slowing down your site with too much information or too many unnecessary plugins. To install a new plugin, follow these simple instructions:

Plugin Search and Installation

  1. View your current plugins. This is the best way to see what you already have. Simply head to your left sidebar > plugins and you will be brought to an overview of all that your site is utilizing. To activate or deactivate a plugin, hover your mouse on the desired option found right beneath each plugin name.
    Bethany Opp Web Studio_WordPress for Beginners Blogs Series_Plugins overview image

    WordPress dashboard plugins overview

  2. Search for a new plugin.  At the top of your plugins overview, click the “add new” box. You’ll be directed to the plugins search page. If you don’t know exactly which one you’re looking for, enter keywords such as “contact,” “survey,” or anything else that gives an idea of what type of app you’re looking for. It’s a great rule of thumb to choose plugins with 4-5 star ratings.
    Bethany Opp Web Studio_WordPress for Beginners Blogs Series_Plugins search image
  3. When you find the plugin you want, click “install.”
  4. Upon installation, you’ll be given the option to activate. Click “activate.”
    Bethany Opp Web Studio_WordPress for Beginners Blogs Series_Plugins upload and activate image

Your plugin is now installed!

Now, it’s time to find where your plugin settings can be accessed and modified. Sometimes, plugin settings can be found within the plugin overviews page we saw above in #1. Most often, plugin settings can be accessed within the sidebar. Sometimes they are in the toolbar (top bar when you are working within WordPress). And sometimes you can find settings within the actual pages or posting modules. Usually, it will depend on what type of use you are achieving with the plugin and where that activity is monitored within the WordPress area.

And that’s it! The opportunities with plugins are endless, but remember to keep everything organized. Activate what you need, deactivate and delete what you don’t!