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Beginners Guide to WordPress Plugins

January 26, 2014 0 Comments

I’m an old time HTML kinda guy. I started coding back in the days when you sat at your desk plunking away on the keyboard, adding tags, start tags, and end tags, and this tag and that. Then, when you thought your code was finished, you opened Internet Explorer to see what worked and what did not. When your code didn’t work, you had to scan through the lines to find the missing or broken tags. Does anyone remember those days?

Today we use WordPress to develop our sites. We just download the WordPress software and add the plugins to help customize our sites.  I just looked at the WordPress.org site and they stated that were just under 28,500 plugins to choose from. With all of these choices, how does a beginner find the best plugins for their site? Keep reading and I’ll list five of the must have plugins for your new web site.

Wordfence Security
Wordfence is a security plugin that includes a firewall, virus scanning, and real time traffic scanning. The Live Site Activity allows you to look at the visitor activity on your site. It breaks down your site traffic in different categories such as Humans, Crawlers, and Top Consumers. Probably the most important aspect of this plugin is that it allows to you to monitor and block malicious traffic to your sire. The plugin also has a Scan Summary that evaluates the files on your site. It runs a report that lets you know if your files are out of date or are in need of repair.

Google Analytics Dashboard
This plugin gives you the ability to monitor your Google analytics in your WordPress dashboard. Google tracks visitor information such as IP address, operating system, the link that got them to your site, how long they were at your site and ton more information. In order to use this plugin you must register your site on the Google Analytics website. Once you are there, just follow the directions to get your UA code.

JetPack
The WordPress plugin page describes it as “Supercharge your WordPress site with powerful features…” There is a ton of good things in this plugin. Two of my favorites are Automatic Postings to your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media and configure widgets to appear only on certain pages. The best thing to do is to download the plugin and check it out for yourself.

Contact Form
Every site should have a contact form. These forms are a great way for your visitors to contact you for information or to just let you know what is on their minds (sometimes that happens). Contact Form 7 is a contact form that allows you to design it to fit your needs.

Google XML Sitemaps
If the search engines do not know you are on the web then you are basically invisible. This plugin will generate an XML file so that Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines can index your site. This will allow them to retrieve information from your site faster.  It keeps the search engines up to date on what’s going on in your site.

Now here’s one that’s just fun to use.
Floating Social Media Icon
This plugin displays your social media icons on your page. The icons start at the top of the page then float to the bottom. As the user scrolls up or down on your page, the icons stay “floating” at the bottom. This plugin has great graphics and is easy to use.

The days of HTML coding and WYSIWYG are just about gone. Today we use WordPress and customize our site with the abundant plugins. Getting a site up and running can be frustrating especially with trying to learn what plugins to use. I hope this quick list helps remove some of frustration as you are building your new site.

To your success.

Dan

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