Now that you have WordPress blogging software installed on your web hosting server, and you have your WordPress blog theme design set up, you can start looking at improving your blog and adding new functionality and features to it. One of the fastest and easiest ways of improving your blog is to use one of the ready made options available on the market.
As explained earlier by using WordPress you are a part of a large open source community and as an open source community WordPress has many thousands community members who contribute to the software by building different design themes and plugins that then everyone else can use to improve the look, feel and functionality of their own WordPress sites. These plugins can extend your WordPress blog to do almost anything you can imagine. And all of this for free and with as little hassle as possible. Most plugins don’t need you to do anything (no coding or anything like that) – you just install and activate it and it add whatever functionality it does to your blog.
There’s a plugin for everything
The WordPress community has some very interesting plugins for you to use on your blog to make it more interactive, more search-engine friendly and more functional for your blog visitors. I for example use a wide range of plugins for most of my projects – everything from plugins to help add scripts like Google Analytics, to plugins that help improve your search engine optimization by giving you options to optimize your keywords, to presenting your content in a more user friendly way, and even to helping your users spread the word about your content for you by adding all the social media sharing buttons to your posts. WordPress has plugins for each of these functionalities and many more.
As in the case of the whole WordPress software, and the WordPress themes, the plugins are all mostly free as well. WordPress website features a plugin directory where you can find, download, rate, and comment on all the best WordPress plugins the WordPress community has to offer.
Have a think about what you want your blog to feature and what functionality you want to provide to your visitors. When you know that do explore the plugin section of your WordPress admin (Just click on Plugins on the left hand sidebar). When you find a plugin that you want to test out, click on the name, click “install” and then “activate” upon completion. Most plugins will add new fields to your admin navigation where you can select and amend the different plugin options, but in general most of them will work out of the box as soon as you activate them.
A note on the speed
An important note on plugins is that they all add more files and code to your site. This can contribute to your site being heavier and slower to load. Because of this reason make sure to only use plugins that are necessary and do not overload your site with too many of them. If a plugin is not what you expected or you no longer want to use it, just click on “deactivate” and then “delete” the plugin. As simple as it was to install one, it is simple to remove it.
Image by Heisenberg.