Anyone who hasn’t discovered the wonderful world of plugins available for use on their WordPress blog is really missing out! Plugins, simply put, are small PHP scripts that enable additional functionality for your WordPress blog. The vast majority of them are free and available for download and installation immediately, and you can have them up and running on your site in a matter of minutes. There are literally thousands of plugins; some great, others not so great. Let’s take a look at what you can do and how to go about doing it.
As with most all things associated with WordPress, they are open source and designed by developers, whose responsibility it is to make sure they are compatible with the current WordPress edition, and that they work properly.
You can find plugins for almost every need imaginable: weather, news, website traffic, contextual advertising (Adsense, Clickbank etc.) and many other useful applications. It is up to you to download the plugin, then upload it to your web hosting space into the plugins folder in your WP-Admin folder. This will require you to use FTP to get it onto your hosting account.
It will then appear on your dashboard when you click the plugins tab, and you will be taken to a page that has all your plugins available. There you can activate, deactivate or delete any of your plugins. WordPress comes with a few basic ones, but you can add as many as you’d like.
There may be different versions of the same plugin available, as there are several versions of WordPress itself available at any given time. It’s again up to you to make sure your plugin is compatible with your current WordPress version, so it will function correctly.
Many times when you attempt to upgrade to a newer version of WordPress, it w ill break plugins currently installed on your blog. You may need to go back to the source, get a newer version of the plugin if available, and re-install.
If you decide to uninstall a plugin from your web hosting platform, make sure you deactivate it from your plugins panel on your dashboard.
Here are a few of the more popular plugins out there right now:
• All in One SEO Pack – This is one of the mostly highly used plugins. It enables you to optimize your blog and all the content you add.
• Google XML Sitemaps – This one create and automatically updates your sitemap whenever you make changes or new posts.
• Akismet – Checks your incoming comments for spam.
• WP-DB Backup – Helps you to easily backup your WordPress database.
• WP Polls – A handy tool for customizing polls.
• Simple Tags – A nifty tool that helps append and use tags throughout your blog’s content.
And there are many, many more!
Take a moment to learn how to utilize plugins for your blog. It will make yours and your visitors experience so much better!