In my last post (Four easy steps to starting your own website or blog) I covered the basics for marking your territory online. Once you’re comfortable with using WordPress, however, you’ll probably want to add some features that extend its functionality.
That’s where plugins come in.
How to install a WordPress plugin
- Find a plugin you want to install (the WordPress Plugin Directory is a great place to start)
- Download it to your computer
- Upload that plugin from your computer to your website’s WordPress plugins directory (wp-content/plugins/)
- Activate the plugin in WordPress (Plugins > Installed)
There are thousands of WordPress plugins available (4,245 as of this writing actually), but the only essential ones are these three.
Askimet is a spam filter for your blog’s comments. It’s a must if you allow comments on your website (it’s blocked at least 7,343 spam comments from this website).
Askimet comes bundled with your WordPress installation, so you don’t need to download it, but installation requires a few steps. They’re self-explanatory though and WordPress will guide you through them via the Plugins menu.
All in One SEO Pack
The All in One SEO Pack helps your website perform better in search engine results. While installing it doesn’t mean you won’t have to do anything else to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), it is a good first step toward getting more visitors through Google.
(For more information on search engine optimization, read my posts on the subject.)
You see that little green icon with ShareThis written next to it at the bottom of this post? This plugin is responsible for it. ShareThis makes it easier for visitors of your site to share your content with people via social networks and e-mail (marketers get paid a lot of money to refer to this achievement as “going viral”).
You want your website’s content to be spread around the Internet, so make it easy for your visitors to do so.