Moving right along with the new blog tutorial, you are now ready to start shaping your blog.  At this point, you have already installed the WordPress and are familiar with your Dashboard. Now, we will choose some plugins that are essential to your blog functionality. At the very least, you should have these to get going. As you become more familiar with WP, you may choose to add or delete plugins as needed. It is important that you don’t have too many though. At some point in time, you may find your WP version not compatible with some plugins and it can be a real pain trying to figure out which one. It might mean having to delete and then re-install every single one just to find the culprit.

 

wordpress-dashboard-plugins-savvyproblogger

To get to the plugins, look on your dashboard for the Plugins menu somewhere halfway down. The sub menu will read:

  • Installed plugins
  • Add new
  • Editor

We need to add new. You can take a look at the installed ones just to make sure there is no duplicate. After installing each, click “activate” to get them working for you.

Essential Beginner Plugins to start:

Askimet – This to me is one of the most important ones. What Askimet does is catch spam. Trust me, spammers love targeting blogs and you can quickly become overwhelmed by them. Askimet will put what it considers spam into a separate folder. At your convenience, you can then look through just to make sure a useful comment wasn’t spammed.  You can either leave the setting as it comes, or tweak it to your liking. I leave it as is because it does a good job.

essential plugins for wp

Shareaholic – This lets readers be able to share your post across social media like on their Facebook pages, or Tweeter or Pinterest.

WP Contact – I like the  clean look of this for the contact page.

Sumome – This is useful if you plan on a mailing list or newsletter at some point. You may or may not need it depending on your blog purpose.

Google Analytics: – This is needed for getting your site statistics. It tracks where your views are coming from, how long they send on the site and your popular pages among other things. It is useful, especially if you plan on monetizing your blog at some point.

Loginizer – This is a very useful plugin to prevent brute force attacks on your site. You can set it maybe give someone a chance to log in to your account 3 times before locking them out. You can also determine how long before they can try again. If a hacker is determined to get into your account, there’s not much you can do, but this helps lower your chances.

Yoast SEO – This is also one of the more useful plugins out there. What it does, when used correctly is help with your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). You know how you go searching for something online and you type in something like “cheeseburger in Ohio” and McDonald’s pops up first? Well, that’s SEO in action. You want to be one of the first ones that pop up. let’s face it, how often do you check the second, third, fourth pages etc.? This is a very hard nut to crack. Yoast gives you the basics, and that’s a good place to start. Green is your friend.

Jetpack: This is great for an all in one bag of goodies. You can set your notifications, widgets, related pages, and photon to help optimize your images. Play around with it to have it just the way you like it.

One thing to remember when you are installing or updating plugins – Make sure it is compatible with your version of WP. It will tell you right under the installation button. If it’s not compatible, save yourself a headache and either find one that is, or skip it.

Your WP platform comes with WP themes pre-installed. They are the 2014, 2015, and 2016 themes. You may choose to start off with that. They are good ones. If you want something different, there are quite a few, hundreds of other free themes you can choose from. On the next post, we will examine themes and what you should look out for when choosing them.

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If you’ve found this post useful, please share. Let me know in the comments how you like the tutorials so far, and if they are easy to follow. This will help shape future posts. Thanks.

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