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Getting Started

How to Install a WordPress Plugin: The Ultimate Guide

The beauty of plugins:

Plugins are the main reason why I love WordPress. Plugins are a piece of software that adds extra functionality to the website. There are plugins for nearly anything you need to make a great website. The biggest website that i’ve ever created was bridgetobiz.com and I used nearly 40 plugins to make it happen, the website is packed with tons of functionality, its basically designed and made to rival LinkedIn.

Must have plugins:

Every website that I make has a certain list of plugins that I always download. Each plugin has its own vital role in making an amazing website. Im going to go through and show you how to set up and optimize each plugin, except Yoast SEO, W3 Total Cache and WordFence, I will explain more in depth on how to set those up in separate posts because they are the most important plugins.  Here is the list of the plugins:

WP Smush:

This plugin is really helpful if you have a lot of images on your website. It compresses the file size and resizes the images to the most optimal size for your websites performance.

Most of the settings are already set up for you, but sometimes you want to do a little bit more. If you go to the plugin settings, Plugins > WP Smush – Settings. Scroll to the bottom to the “Image Resizing” section, turn on both those options. If you forget to resize images, these options will do this for you.

UpdraftPlus – Backup / Restore:

This plugin is really important to have, It will automatically make a backup of your website files. You never know whats going to happen with your website, so having a backup is always a must! You also have some freedom to choose what type of backup you want and how often you want it. Let’s set it up!

You will find your updraft dashboard under settings. Once you have found Updraft, you will see another settings tab in there, and thats where we will be setting up your remote storage. The first option you will see is how often would you like to backup your files and database. If you blog on your website and frequently update things on this, do weekly or even daily backups, for website that don’t update anything that often, select monthly. After that you will have to choose which remote storage you want to use to store all of your backups. I usually use dropbox or google drive. Both options are free. Let’s use Dropbox as the example for now. If you don’t have a Dropbox account, you’ll need to create one. When you select Dropbox, some settings will come up, follow the instructions. Leave the rest of the settings as is. Save changes and go back to the “Backup / Restore” tab. Make your first backup.

Once everything is set up, and you have created your first backup, go into your remote storage to check if everything worked properly. When you log into your Dropbox account or Google drive account, navigate to your files and in there you should see some files named backup_date. If you don’t see anything there, make sure you setup your Updraft settings properly.

SG Optimizer:

SG Optimizer is a plugin that allows you to use the major performance optimizations for WordPress, which SiteGround hosting is providing on its servers. This plugin is already set up automatically for you. The only thing you want to do is to turn on “Force Https” you can do this by going into the plugin and selecting “HTTPS Config”. Having a SSL Certificate is always good to have, It lets the users know the website is safe to use.

Jetpack by WordPress.com:

This is a great plugin for performance optimization. It developed by WordPress, so they know what they’re doing when it comes to optimization. Its a great plugin overall, it really helps with security as well. So this is definitely a must have plugin.

After you download and activate the plugin, there will be a screen that pops up and asks you to connect your Jetpack account to the website, select “Connect to WordPress.com”. On the next screen, you will click “approve”. If you don’t have a WordPress account, there will be an option to create one. After you have approved your account, another screen will come up where you can choose a plan, you can ignore those and just choose “Start with free” at the very bottom.

After you have completed all those steps, you will be redirected back to your website, there you will see a button that says “Activate recommended features” click that button and it will activate all the most important features for you. You can go through the settings and look at all the options the plugin offers, feel free to turn some features on or off.

MonsterInsights:

This plugin allows you to track your website stats, anyone who comes in and out of your website. Its a great tool to have if you are trying to increase your website traffic, it lets you see every detail that you need to know about your audience.

For this plugin to work, we need to create a Google Analytics account first.

  1. Click here to go to Google Analytics.
    Note: If you have a Google account, and are not signed in, click Sign in. If you do not have a Google account, click Create an account.
  2. Once you have signed in to your Google account, click Access Google Analytics.
  3. Click Sign up.
  4. Fill in your Account Name, Website Name, Website URL, and select an Industry Category and Reporting Time Zone.
  5. Under Data Sharing Options, check the boxes next to the options that you want.
  6. Click Get Tracking ID.
  7. From the Google Analytics Terms of Service Agreement that opens, click I Accept.

Once you have completed all the steps above, go back to your website and go to Insights > Settings. In there you will want to authenticate your google account that you just created. Follow the prompts that pop up. After that is done, you want to choose your website from the “Analytics profile” dropdown.

You can also watch this video incase you need some help, he explains everything in detail on how to set all of this up.

Duplicate Post:

This plugin is really useful and a huge time saver, if you have a certain page or post that you want to duplicate, this lets you duplicated posts, pages and a lot more.

There’s no specific settings that you have to touch in order for this plugin to work. just download it, activate it and it will work just fine, but it does offer customizations, you can choose what this plugin can duplicate. From the left sidebar navigate to Settings > Duplicate Post.

Under Construction:

This plugin is really useful when it comes to the developing stage of the website, or when you are doing some maintenance on the website. You don’t want to be editing on a live website, this give you the option to lock the site and display a page of your choice, that lets the users know that the website is under construction or maintenance.

The activation and optimization process is super easy and self explanatory, the plugin also help you with everything, there will be little boxes popping up that explain everything. You can find the setting of the app in Settings > UnderConstruction.