Before we can begin installing the 10 Essential WordPress Plugins, we need to know how to find and install them.
WordPress makes it super easy to do this.
Find a WordPress Plugin
The first step is to search for the plugin from within your Blog Dashboard. Just Click on Plugins, and then select “Add New.” The search window will open where you can search for the plugin by name (if you know it), or by what you want it to do. And amazingly, there seems to be a plugin for just about everything.
Let’s say you want to automatically send your posts to Twitter. If you search for “Tweet Post” or something similar, you get a whole range of plugins that might do this:
Make sure you only choose plugins that have good ratings, and then click on “Details” to see more about a particular plugin. Usually, you can see what it does, what people are saying about the plugin, how many times it has been downloaded, when it was last updated, and a variety of other things.
I recommend you only choose plugins that have been downloaded by numerous people, maybe 10,000 or more, and which have been updated recently. Some of the old plugins just don’t work anymore, and can really mess up your blog if they have not been updated.
Install a WordPress Plugin
Once you find a plugin you like, simply click the blue “Install Now” link, and let WordPress do the rest.
So let’s say I wanted to install “Tweet Old Post” which is a plugin I do use on one of my blogs. I would click install, and get this screen:
Then, I could immediately click “Activate Plugin” to turn it on, and it usually ads a menu item to your Dashboard “Settings” or “Tools.” Occasionally, the plugin creates it’s very own Dashboard Menu item. You use these to adjust the settings, tweak the plugin for your specific use, or whatever is required.
I’m not going to use Tweet Old Post on this blog right now, but let me show you what it did:
When a plugin is active, it has a white background in your Plugin Screen. The plugins that are installed, but not active have a grey background.
As shown in the picture above, while most Plugins put a menu item under “Settings” others create their very own menu item, as this one did here. When you click on the menu item, you get options screens for the plugin which can be set up to fit your particular needs.
Here are the options for the Tweet Old Post Plugin:
As with everything else in WordPress, once you change the plugin options, don’t forget to update to save the options.
And that is the down and dirty guide to installing a plugin! Any questions?