WordPress Plugins — 49,000+ to Choose from

What are WordPress plugins?

WordPress plugins are bits of software that can be uploaded to extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress site.

Your four main plugins

  • WordPress: A free, lightweight content management system (CMS)
  • To customize WordPress, choose from a database of 49,000+ different plugins
  • Popular plugins include
    • Comment spam protection,
    • SEO
    • Contact forms and
    • Sitemaps to help search engines work more effectively
  • This post will discuss free WordPress plugins to help in those 4 areas

Each of those 4 main plugins is discussed below.

1. Akismet

  • Akismet (one of the more important WordPress plugins) gives you comment spam protectionwordpress plugins
  • Click on  Plugins in left-hand column of dashboard
  • Akismet will likely already be there
    • If not, click on Add New and enter Akismet in search box
    • Click Activate
    • Click the white Activate your Akismet account on the blue background
    • You will be asked to get an API key that looks something like 9a5a63903bdc
    • Enter that in box, click a few buttons and amount of comment spam will be drastically reduced

2. SEO WordPress plugins

  • SEO stands for search engine optimization
  • We will use WordPress SEO by Yoast
  • Search engines such as Google are much more likely to rank you higher
  • This free plugin is very important.  I use it to help me SEO EVERY single blog post that I make.
  • To get started, click on Plugins > Add New
  • Enter SEO into search box
    • Given a large list of plugins
    • Select WordPress SEO by Yoast
    • Click on Install Now and wait for successfully installed
    • Click Activate Plugin

wordpress pluginswordpress plugins

  • Says SEO near bottom of dashboard
  • Now you’re ready to start using new plugin
  • Create new page
  • After you’re finished adding text, scroll down below page and click on General tab
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Hover over question marks to get understanding of what each heading means
  • Click blue Update button

3. Contact Form

Since I first wrote this post, Caldera has become my very favourite WordPress contact form plugin. Go there now for simple instructions on how to install Caldera.

  • If publish your email address on web page, running risk of getting lots of spam
    • People have bots that harvest email addresses

wordpress plugins

  • So, add a WordPress plugin contact form instead
  • Go to new plugins page and search for form
  • Get a large list of form plugins
  • For this example, we will select Form Maker and click Install Now
  • Wait a few seconds and click Activate
  • Near bottom of dashboard click on Form Maker > Manager
  • Get list of nine different forms
  • We will use Contact
  • (Note that contact form ID is “1”])
  • Click Edit > Add a New Field > Captcha

wordpress plugins

  • Captcha: acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart
  • Prevent robots from automatically filling in form and giving spam
  • You will probably want captcha code to be above  submit button
    • So, click on the up arrow
  • To make sure the email will be sent to you, click the Options button
  • It should be intuitive
  • Main thing is that you want emails sent to your address
  • Click on Actions after Submission button
  • You may use custom text with a message such as Success!  Your form has been sent
    • People like confirmation that form indeed was sent

wordpress plugins

  • Click Save button
  • Try out new form
  • Do you remember the shortcode mentioned above?
  • Go to one of your pages and decide where you would like a form
    •    At that point, type in CONTACT_FORM_TO_EMAIL id=”1″
    • Contact form within square bracketsThe above snippet must be within square brackets
  • Update your page
  • View the page
  • Check to make sure form works

Important note

From myspecialwebsiteIn order to prevent the spam filter from blocking messages, it is important that you use a “from” address that has the web address in it.  For instance, if the domain Contact form to Emailname of your website is myspecialwebsite.com, an acceptable from address would be peter@myspecialwebsite.com.

To find the window to enter the from address, click on Settings > Settings for contact formContact Form to Email.  Then click the Settings tab.

4. Sitemap WordPress Plugin

  • A proper site map may help you get high rankings on Google
    • Especially true if you update your website often
    • Sitemap helps site owners get new content earlier on Google’s SERPs (search engine result pages)
    • Google XML Sitemaps notify all major search engines every time post new content
  • Help search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo to better index
    website
  • With an XML sitemap, much easier for crawlers to see complete structure of site and retrieve it more efficiently
  • To get started, go to Plugins > Add New and search for sitemaps
  • Cmd F to find Google SML Sitemaps
  • Likely find several choices
  • Go to one that is Google SML Sitemaps without anything else in name
  • Click Install Now
  • Activate

 

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