Plugins

1) How to start building a website with WordPress (Requirements)
2) How to install WordPress
3) Setting up WordPress
4) Themes
5) Plugins
6) Widgets
7) How to use WordPress
8) Some general tips

What are plugins? How do they work? Where can I find plugins for WordPress? Must have plugins. What they are good for and how they work.

Chapter 1: What are plugins?
Chapter 2: How do they work?
2.1 How to install plugins
2.2 How to activate plugins
2.3 How to use them
2.4 How to update a plugin
Chapter 3: Plugin sources
Chapter 4: Must have plugins and how they work
4.1 Raw HTML
4.2 AddToAny
4.3 Akismet
4.4 WP-reCAPTCHA
4.5 Add post footer
4.6 WP eStore

Chapter 1: What are plugins?

Plugins are add-ons which extend the capabilities of a basic application (ex. WordPress). They allow you to add features and easily make things with your WordPress which aren’t possible or are much more complicated without the plugin. Most of these extensions are developed by users of WordPress.

The good thing about WordPress is that there’s a plugin for almost everything. However this can also be a bad thing. There are thousands of plugins and sometimes 10 or 20 plugins to perform the same action. This makes it pretty hard to find a plugin which does what you’re looking for or find out which of those 10 or 20 plugins does the best job at what you want to do. Sometimes to me it’s better and easier to use good old fashioned coding instead of plugins.

Chapter 2: How do they work?

That’s really easy. No need to know any coding or other stuff.

2.1 How to install plugins

There are basically two ways to install Plugins.

The first way (the easiest) is to:
1. Login to your administration panel
2. Go to Plugins, Add New
3. In the searchfield type a keyword of what you want to do (ex. Columns) and hit “Search plugins”
4. Choose a plugin and on the right side you see “Install”, click it
5. A window will popup with informations. There hit “Install Now”
6. To activate the plugin hit “Activate plugin”

The other way is:
1. Search for a Plugin on the web
2. Download it and uncompress the .zip file
3. Upload the resulting file or folder to the
YourWordPress/wp-content/plugins/
folder.

2.2 How to activate plugins

To activate plugins login to your admin area
Go to Plugins, Installed and activate the plugin you want

2.3 How to use them

Most plugins have tags to call certain functions.
Raw HTML for example has <!--start_raw--><!--end_raw--> and you need to post the codes between them and then they work.
Which tags you need to use is usually described on the plugin’s official page.

Other plugins add a page to your admin panel.
For example Add post footer adds a page under “Settings” called “Post footer” and there you need to set all the preferences you want.
Other plugins add pages under “Appearance” or “Tools”.

Other plugins work in other ways. Check the plugin’s official page to know how they work.

2.4 How to update a plugin

When a new version of a plugin is available a red dot with a number in it will show up near “Plugins” on your administration area.

Once you hit the button and get redirected to the page with the list of all your plugins you see which plugin needs to be updated since there will be a message displaying.

Hit “upgrade automatically” and WordPress will install the new version of the plugin.

You’re done.

Chapter 3: Plugin sources

The biggest source of Plugins certainly is

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/

or Plugins, Add New on your site’s admin.

However not all the plugins appear there so it’s a good idea to search Google for a plugin to do what you want to do.

Chapter 4: Must have plugins. What they are good for and how they work.

There are a few plugins that everyone using WordPress must have since they are needed to achieve basic things or are simply fantastic. So here’s a list of Plugins I found to be extremely helpful.

4.1 Raw HTML

I think this is the most needed plugin ever. This plugin allows you to post any HTML code into your WordPress pots. Whenever on my website you come across this message at the top of the page

For this page you will need the Raw HTML plugin.
Visit the Plugins FAQ for more informations.

you will need to have this plugin installed and you need to post all the HTML codes you find on the page between <!--start_raw--><!--end_raw--> tags. Hence:

<!--start_raw-->The HTML code you find on the page<!--end_raw-->

and you’re done.

Note: This plugin also requires you to have the “Visual editor” disabled on your Profile page which is causing troubles anyway.

4.2 AddToAny

Social networks are nowadays an important source of potential visitors the AddToAny plugin is really important for your visitors to be able to easily share your website with their friends, bookmark it and more.

Once you installed and activated the plugin it will automatically add a button at the bottom of each of your posts and pages for people to share it.

The plugin adds a page under “Settings” called “Share/Save Buttons” where you can set what the button should look like, where to display it and where not, ....

4.3 Akismet

Akismet is a must to avoid a lot of spam comments. Akismet comes pre-installed with WordPress.

Once you logged in to your Dashboard go to Plugins, Akismet and hit Activate. You will then see the following message:

Akismet is almost ready. You must enter your Akismet API Key for it to work.

Click on “enter your Akismet API key”.

To get the key I registered a blog on WordPress.com, went to Users, Personal Settings, “Your WordPress.com API key is:”
You can also get it here. There’s a “use Akismet for free” link at the bottom of the page for personal sites.

Enter your key and hit “Update options”.

Note that Akismet per default doesn't delete spam comments. It just takes comments it thinks are spam and puts them in the spam folder removing them from your moderation queue. You then may have a quick look at them and hit "Empty Spam" at the bottom at the bottom of the window.

To ensure to get the best out of Akismet always make sure that your WordPress installation is updated to the latest version and that the plugin itself is also updated to the latest version.

4.4 WP-reCAPTCHA

WP-reCAPTCHA is another great plugin to avoid spam. Best would be to have them both Akismet and WP-reCAPTCHA. Even with both installed some comments will find their way to your Dashboard waiting for approval but the number is much much smaller than it would be without these plugins. However I find myself more and more annoyed by Captcha tasks which are quite hard to solve for humans too. So personally I would try without this plugin first. If you get a lot of spam in your moderation queue just having Akismet then also install WP-reCAPTCHA. This plugin may also be used if you don't want to get too many comments since I think a lot of people don't take the hassle to solve the captcha.

Add WP-reCaptcha to your Plugins and Activate it. Click on “enter your reCaptcha API Key”.

To get the key visit this site and login with your Google Account (or create one). Enter your domain and check the “Enable this key on all domains (global key)” box for you to use the key for all your blogs or websites. Hit “Create Key”. Copy the Public Key and the Private Key. If you have multiple websites add them under “My Sites”. Paste the keys in the appropriate fields for the plugin to work.

“Enable re-Captcha for comments” and hit Update Options.

4.5 Add post footer

This plugin allows you to add a general footer to all your pages and posts.

Have a look at Chapter 2 of this page for further instructions.

4.6 WP eStore

The WP eStore plugin allows you to sell digital and non-digital contents on your WordPress site. You will find more informations about this plugin and how it works on my How can I build an online store in WordPress? FAQ.


In the next step we have a look at Widgets.
Proceed to: Step 6 - Widgets.



This FAQ is also discussed in my WPFAQ.org E-Book (sample)


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