WordPress plugins are add-on modules which provide functions and features for your website.
Plugins are easy to install and most of them are free of charge.
How To Install WordPress Plugins
Installing WordPress plugins is simple. Once you’ve downloaded your plugin, login to your WordPress Dashboard and click on the Plug-in -> Add New
The plugin then uploads to your site. For most plugins you also need to click on “activate” to switch on the plugin.
However, it’s very easy to get carried away and install a whole load of plugins, not all of which actually add much value to your site.
I recommend you don’t install too many plugins because this can lead to configuration conflicts and strange effects on your site which can be time-consuming and troublesome to debug.
In practice, there’s probably only a couple of dozen or so plugins at most that you will really need.
If you have problems with your site’s display or strange effects as a result of installing a plugin, then you may need to disable the plugin or remove it completely.
The best advice is to install the plugins one by one and check everything is working ok before you go on to install the next one.
Here Are Some Great “Must Have” WordPress Plugins
So, here’s a list of some of the plugins I use, some of which you you might also find useful for your site.
All of these plugins are available free of charge via the WordPress.org site.
Akismet This is a comment spam protector that comes already built into WordPress. To activate it you need to obtain an “API key” from the WordPress.com site.
About Me 3000 This displays an info bio box on your sidebar with a photo.
AdRotate If your site carries advertising, then Adrotate is a really useful plugin which helps you manage and rotate your display and banner ads.
Bad Behavior This plugin denies automated spambots access to your site.
BulletProof Security This is a very robust plugin which protects your website against literally thousands of different hacking attempts.
Colorful Text Widgets This plugin displays a text box on your sidebar which you can use for whatever purpose you wish. To display an ad, a newsletter sign up box, information about your business, whatever.
EU Cookie Law This is a very useful plugin for websites based in the EU. It displays a popup bar on your site to inform users about the EU cookie law and so ensures that your website is compliant with EU cookie law
Fast Secure Contact Form This is a very powerful form builder that enables your readers to send you email.
Find Me On The Find Me On sidebar widget displays icons for all of your social network profiles.
Google XML Sitemaps This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your site.
Open Web Analytics This is a traffic statistics plugin which is a viable alternative to using Google Analytics.
Permalinks Moved Permanently When permalink isn’t found, this checks if a post with the requested slug exists somewhere else on your site.
Select Post Ender A simple plugin to allow you to add a message footer at the end of every post.
Select Posts in Sidebar This plugin displays a list of posts in your sidebar
ShareThis This plugin enables your visitors to share a post or page with others via e-mail and social media sites.
Select Smart Youtube PRO This plugin enables you to insert YouTube videos in your posts and pages.
Select Table of Contents Plus This plugin automatically creates a table of contents at the top of each of your posts.
Select TinyMCE Advanced Enables advanced features and plugins in TinyMCE, the visual editor in WordPress.
Select TinyMCE Spellcheck This adds a contextual spell, style, and grammar checker to WordPress
Social Networks Auto-Poster This plugin automatically publishes posts from your site to your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ profiles
W3 Total Cache This plugin dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site.
WordPress Database Backup This creates an on-demand backup of your WordPress database.
WordPress Editorial Calendar This plugin displays your posts in a calendar for easy management of your publishing schedule.
WordPress SEO This is about the best all-in-one SEO plugin for WordPress.
WP-SpamFree An extremely powerful anti-spam plugin that virtually eliminates comment spam.
WP125 This plugin enables you to manage 125×125 size ads from your WordPress Dashboard.
wp Time Machine (for Backups) Creates an archive of all your WordPress Data & Files and then stores them on Dropbox, Amazon S3, or your FTP host.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin Adds related posts to your site and in RSS feeds, based on a powerful, customizable algorithm.
Where To Find WordPress Plugins
You can find all the plugins I’ve listed above at the official WordPress plugins page at wordpress.org/extend/plugins.
All the WordPress plugins mentioned are available free of charge.