Step 4: Blog Enhancing Plugins To Install
At its core, a vanilla WordPress installation, or a freshly installed version of WordPress, is already powerful. As soon as you log in to your WordPress dashboard, you can immediately start writing and publishing content. You’ll literally have a nice-looking website in less than an hour!
However, the true power of WordPress lies not in the core software, but in its ability to allow website-enhancing plugins. These plugins make it possible for users to quickly extend their website’s functionality without touching any line of code.
What Are WordPress Plugins?
Plugins are software that you install on your WordPress website. To put it in another perspective, if your website is your smartphone, then plugins are the apps that you download from the app store and install on your phone.
Just like your phone’s apps, these WordPress plugins can make your website look and act differently.
For example, if you want to turn your WordPress website into an online store, you can install the free and open source WooCommerce plugin. If you want to sell subscription-based digital products, such as a video course or online course, then the MemberPress plugin may be a better option.
Depending on the functionality you want, there’s plenty of plugins to choose from, whether it be for an eCommerce website, a blog, a news website, a forum, etc.
Where Can You Find Plugins?
The great thing about WordPress plugins is that that there are tens of thousands of free plugins you can download on the official WordPress Plugins Directory (https://wordpress.org/plugins).
If none of the free plugins suit your needs, then you can buy premium plugins in third-party marketplaces like CodeCanyon (https://codecanyon.net) or MOJO Marketplace (https://www.mojomarketplace.com).
Additionally, you can buy premium plugins from the plugin developers themselves. For example, if you want to buy a premium plugin from Thrive Themes (https://thrivethemes.com) or Elegant Themes (https://www.elegantthemes.com), then you’d have to buy from their website.
You can install as many plugins as you want, though of course, it should be within reason. The best practice is to install only what’s absolutely necessary for your website. If you find a better plugin, then deactivate or uninstall the old one.
Installing too many plugins increases the probability of plugins conflicting with each other which could result to errors or a slow down of your entire website.
Resolving plugin conflicts can be a headache if you’ve got too many plugins installed. Troubleshooting usually involves deactivating each plugin and checking the front end manually until you find the culprit. Imagine how long this process will take you if you install 30, 50 or 100 plugins!
How Do You Install Plugins?
Now that you know what plugins are and where you can find the right plugins for your WordPress website, it’s time to show you how to install plugins on your WordPress backend.
Earlier in this course, I showed you how to install WordPress in 1-click. From the screenshots I shared, you know I used Bluehost’s 1-click install feature on a test website.
It’s important to mention this here because if you follow my steps, then you’ll see more than a few pre-installed plugins on your WordPress website.
Here, take a look:
Now, it will be up to you if you want to keep these plugins.
I already suggested deleting the Hello Dolly plugin since it really doesn’t add any value to your website.
So, let’s get started with adding plugins. There are basically two ways to add a plugin.
Method 1: Add plugins from the WordPress Plugin Directory
To begin, go to Plugins > Add New.
The plugins that appear here are from the WordPress Plugin Directory.
You can view the Featured, Popular, and Recommended Plugins. You can also browse through plugins you’ve marked as Favorite in WordPress.org.
Also, in the screenshot below, you’ll see a link to Premium plugins which goes to the Bluehost/MOJO Marketplace; this is because the Bluehost plugin came pre-installed on this sample WordPress website.
If you don’t want to scroll through thousands of plugins, you can search for plugins using keywords, the name of the author, or tags. Simply type in the search box on the right side of your screen.
Method 2: Upload plugins manually
You can upload either free or premium plugins to your WordPress website manually. All you have to do is go to Plugins > Add New > Upload Plugin. Then click on Choose File to upload your plugin zip file and hit Install Now.