In this tutorial, we are going to have a look at some of the most popular and useful plugins that will make customizing your website a breeze!
I’m going to assume that by now you’re already somewhat familiar with the WordPress dashboard, at least enough to navigate around and configure the most important stuff.
So go ahead and click on the »Plugins« section, select »Add New«:
These are the 5 must-have plugins that we will be installing today:
1. All in One SEO Pack
This plugin is definitely the most important one. Why?
Because it is essential for ranking high in the major search engines (such as Google, Yahoo and Bing), and that’s where most of your traffic will be coming from.
How does it work?
All in One SEO edits your on-page settings (title, meta tags, etc.) and optimizes them in a way that the web spiders can easily pick it up and rank your site accordingly.
Web spiders are small search engine bots which crawl the world wide web, analyzing the website’s on-page configuration and then reporting back to their search engine (Google).
Our aim is to make a website that is totally compliant with the web spiders so that we get the highest rankings possible and grab the most visitors. Sounds reasonable? – So let’s go do that!
A) Search for the »All in One SEO Pack« plugin and install it:
B) Click »Activate plugin«
C) You will see this warning: (click on »the admin page« link!)
D) Scroll down until and set Plugin Status to »Enabled«:
E) Fill in the rest of the fields by following these guidelines:
Home Title will be the main title of your website and that’s what will show up in the search engines when people look for it (the example site below has home title: Reflux Relief)
Obviously, this person wants to be found when people type in »Reflux relief« in Google. In fact, that’s exactly how I’ve found it.
Your job is to set a home title that will include the keyword you’d like to rank for. For example, if your site is about dating, and you’d like to rank for »dating advice«, then you could have a home title that includes that keyword, for example: »Dating advice for teens«.
Home description is what shows beneath your home title. You also want to have your keyword included here, but make sure that your description is at least 2 sentences long.
Home keywords – just include all the possible keywords that people may use to look for your website on Google. Try to get at least 4 or 5 of them down.
– Now make sure that the rest of your settings look like this:
F) Click »Update Options« – and you’re done!
2. Contact Form
When making a »Contact« page (which is a very important page), you don’t want to just display your e-mail address publicly to everyone who visits. Why?
Well, because that way you will get a lot of annoying, spammy promotions to your inbox, and you want to keep your inbox as clean as possible…
Luckily, there’s a way around this, using contact forms. These are simple forms that allow the visitor to send a message to your e-mail without ever knowing your actual e-mail address.
They simply enter their name, e-mail and message and click Submit. Once they do that, you immediately receive their message in your inbox. Is that cool or what?
A) Search for »Contact form« plugin, install it and activate it (always the same procedure…)
B) Click the »Settings« link beneath its name
Here, you can choose which e-mail you want to use (either the default one or a new one) and you can see the code that you need to copy inside your page or widget for the form to appear.
The code is: [contact_form]
C) Click »Save Changes«, copy the code inside your contact page and you’re done!
A) Look for the plugin »WP Insert«, install it and activate it.
4. Google XML Sitemaps
This is a very simple plugin, yet a very important one. Sitemap is a simple XML (Extensible Markup Language) file which basically tells Google where your pages are located.
Sounds complicated, but in reality it couldn’t be any simpler. Especially when there’s a plugin that does this for as in a click of a mouse!
A) Search for the plugin »Google XML Sitemaps«, install it and activate it.
B) Click the »Settings« tab in your WP Dashboard and click on »XML-Sitemap«
C) Click the »Click Here« link to generate the sitemap for your site for the first time:
D) That’s it – Your sitemap was built and the search engines were notified!
Note: Each time you add a new page, repeat this process.
Sociable is a plugin that enables your visitors to share the content on your website with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc.
This is a powerful way of spreading the word about your website and increasing overall traffic. Not to mention the links you will be getting which will in turn increase your rankings!
A) Search for the plugin »Sociable«, install it and activate it.
B) Click on »Select Sociable Plugin« from the left sidebar of your WP dashboard
C) Choose the style you want to use (skyscraper or classic)
D) Configure the options (arbitrary), scroll down and press »Save Changes«
E) Sociable is now activated and should be visible on your pages!