Once your site is up and running, you’ll want a few other pieces
added in to enhance the page. Plugins are small additions to the website that
enhances WordPress. Widgets are tools that allow you access to certain services
on the actual webpage. Confused? Don’t worry. Keep reading and hopefully, it’ll
How to Install a Plugin.
On your dashboard of your WordPress site, click on Plugins
on the left-side menu, then on Add New. WordPress will display a few
Use the Search button on the top right with a
keyword of a plugin you might want or need. Or click on the menus at the top Popular,
But what to choose? Basic security is a great place
to start. Here are a few I recommend.
- Antispam—This type of plugin will keep spammy
posts off your blog. Right now I’m
running both Akismet Antispam and CleanTalk. It’s probably
redundant for me to use both, but I get NO spam posts posted to my blog. Both
are highly rated and work fine together if you are paranoid like me.
- Login protection—This type of plugin stops
users from too many attempted logins on your site. Yes, hackers will try to get
into your site with multiple login guesses at your password. You’ll need something to stop
them in their tracks. (And psst, do NOT use a guessable password. Random is
best for a login password for WordPress.) I’m running Login Lockdown on
- Firewall and Malware—Both protective plugins
stop malicious users from hacking your site and/or installing bad software. I’m using Wordfence and
think it’s fantastic. Not only does it keep my site safe from hackers, the plugin
creators also send out a weekly newsletter with info about programs to watch
I also use Jetpack installed on my site.
Another plugin for security, it also manages your site and can make automatic
updates for your plugins and back up the entire site.
I have a ton of security plugins and am probably over
doing it. Just call me Lady Redundant Woman.
As a writer, I’ve also grabbed a few plugins to help with enhancing my
Mailchimp—Mailchimp is a
website/program that allows users to create a database of email addresses. It
can create marketing items and then email them to the database list. I would
call it a newsletter creator, but Mailchimp has expanded so much. It’s now a marketing tool. I linked
their plugin to my site to gather email addresses of fans. I used the data to
send them newsletters through the Mailchimp website.
This is not the only program of that type. Constant
Contact and Mailer Lite also provide this service (See future posts
for information about these sites.) Both have their own plugins that can be
used with WordPress. Pick one, test it out, add it to your site.
Widgets are features to add to your site like little
programs. Just like the weather or clock widget on your phone. They will add functionality
to your pages.
Many widgets come from plugins.
To access the Widget menu, click on Appearance
from the left-hand menu of your dashboard.
- Click Widgets. A list of available options
will appear listed by the feature.
- Click on the small down arrow next to each category
and see what it offers. There are audio players, calendars (handy for events
and blog posts), video, image gallery, etc.. (Other plugins will offer more
- Be sure to preview all changes before going live.
I use the MailChimp widget to have my newsletter sign-up
appear on the side bar of my website pages.
As you continue to build your website, you may need more
sophisticated plugins and widgets. Start simple. Even the most basic add-ins
for your site will give it a professional, clean look and get eyes on the page.