Among the many reasons to run your own WordPress blog in you domain rather than opting for the easy path of letting them do the work for you at WordPress.com is the ability to add additional functionality from WordPress Plugins.
With over 56,000 ones available from the WordPress installer (and even more that you can upload directly), it’s a bit challenging to make suggestions. We will suggest a few for you to try. It’s better to wait for a need to arise, or to find out from other people which ones they use. We just want you yo know how to install and manage them.
Keep in mind that plugins can be simple and complex. Many have settings and configuration screens. A few are offered free but try to entice you to buy a full featured one. If you are trying to evaluate them, look at the comments on the plugin page.
Also keep in mind that plugins add complexity to your site; so one keep active ones you really need to use. Your sites will run cleaner and faster with the fewest number of plugins needed. Plugins first must be installed on your site and then activated.
Log in to your WordPress site’s Dashboard and look for Plugins on the left site. If your blog is hosted on Reclaim Hosting, there will be a few already there for you:
One that is activated is called Limit Login Attempts; this is worth having as it protects your site from brute force attempts to login. You can tell it is active because the background in the list is blue and the link below it is “Deactivate”.
Another one worth having that you may want to turn in is Akismet– this helps block comment spam on your site. Click the Activate link. It will prompt you to go through a few steps to create an account (be sure to choose the free options).
What other ones are worth trying? You can start by browsing the ones after clicking the Add New button
The Featured ones are offered by WordPress. You might find ones also in the Popular tab, or just by searching. It might be hot or miss. But let’s start with a useful one in the Featured are, the WordPress Jetpack plugin. This offers a suite of tools available to blogs on WordPress.com including blog stats, social media sharing, spam protection, and more. If you want to try this plugin, click Install (which puts it in your site), then click Activate. To use JetPack, you will also need to authenticate through a WordPress.com account (free to set up if you do not have one).
What else might you consider? A few suggestions to try out. You can install these by searching for the name of the plugin in the area of your dashboard where you add new plugins.
- bbPress add discussion boards to your site.
- Contact Form 7 add forms to your site to collect feedback and messages from visitors.
- Flexible Posts Widget enables a sidebar/footer widget for showing posts more selectively then the Recent POsts widget (e.g. within a category, change to order, exclude items, and more).
- Fluidvids for WordPress makes auto embedded media like YouTube/vimeo videos automatically behave responsively, meaning they will scale to the size of the viewers screen.
- Instagram Feed by 10Web embed a feed from an instagram account in your WordPress site.
- Page-list offers a very handy way to create a dynamically generated index of Pages on your site, based on things like a parent-child structure. We use it right on the main page of Domain Camp (look for an activity next week using this plugin)
- Photo Gallery by 10web embed stunning galleries of photos in your posts and pages
- Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin let’s you send visitors to a post or page to go to another URL, handy if you have moved content elsewhere, or if you want a page/post to redirect to anywhere else on the web.
- OpenGraph adds information to your pages and posts so when they are shared in social media, it creates a rich media preview.
- TwentyTwenty enables a feature to add one of those visualization tools that let’s you compare two images by having a slider that lets you reveal and hide parts of the top image.
- WP Google Maps easily add embedded maps to your site.
You hopefully will find more suggestions shared in our call for favorite plugins in the Reclaim Hosting Community.
Again, this is hardly a comprehensive list. For this activity, we ask that you try at least one new plugin (or if you are experienced, the plugin or plugins you highly recommend), and write up a summary in the Reclaim Hosting Community topic we created for this activity. Use the link for your response as the URL to report in your response.
Example for "Plugging in WordPress Plugins":