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

Note: If you use Yoast SEO, you already have a sitemap. Adding another sitemap could cause a software conflict.

  • 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

Two other valuable plugins in  investigate

When I want to investigate a new plugin, I enter this into a search engine: review wordpress plugin nameofplugin.

You may want to investigate these 2 plugins:

  • Gallery: Add beautiful photo galleries and albums to your site.
  • Appointments+: Let your customers book and pay for appointments by themselves.

 

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