Blogging for Beginners: How to Install WordPress Plugins

How to Install WordPress Plugins

Are you new to blogging with a WordPress blog of your own? Are you overwhelmed by all of the Plugin options that surround you?

Believe it or not, you don't have to be a techie genius in order to get a simple blog up and running with a professional look, once you know how to install WordPress Plugins.

Plugins are pieces of code that you can install and "plug in" to your WordPress website. They're free, although their creators usually add donation buttons asking you to toss a couple bucks their way. Plugins add the fun stuff to your blog, whether it's images for your sidebar, social media buttons, email subscription fields, or whatever else you can dream up.

Learn About Blogging from the Pro

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income
ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income

Darren Rowse started blogging before blogging was cool. His site, Problogger.net, is full of excellent information that helps bloggers at any level.

 

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No Plugin Option on Your WordPress Blog?

If you can't find a Plugins option on your WordPress menu, that means you've started your blog on WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org.

Both websites look almost identical from the outside, and unless you know that there's a difference between the two you can easily find yourself working on .com when you really wanted .org.

If you use your blog as a sort of journal to share your thoughts with readers, then WordPress.com is fine. But if you want to monetize your blog by running ads, then you need to (a) purchase a domain name, and (b) get yourself over to WordPress.org.

When you have a WordPress.org blog, you also have access to the Plugins that make it possible to customize and streamline your blog.

Why does WordPress have two different blog publishing applications? To make life more complicated, of course! Actually, I don't know why. I started one of my blogs, PaleoPregnancyGuide.com, on WordPress.com by accident. As it turned out, switching over to WordPress.org wasn't complicated at all and I was happy to find that the process was user-friendly.

So one way or another, get your WordPress.org blog going. Then you'll be free to add all of the Plugins you want. Here's how you do it:

Click on the Add New option under Plugins
Click on the Add New option under Plugins | Source
Search for new Plugins using the search field
Search for new Plugins using the search field | Source

Add New Plugins

On your WordPress dashboard, the Plugins button appears on the left side of your screen. Click on it or hover over it, and you'll see several options on the drop-down menu. One of those options is Add New.

Click on Add New, and you'll see a search field where you can type in the name of the Plugin you're looking for using keywords or the exact name.

For example, say you want one of those Pinterest follow buttons to put in your blog's sidebar so that readers can easily follow your Pinterest boards. Type in the words "Pinterest follow button" and the link to the Plugin will appear. You'll be able to see ratings, screenshots, and if it's been updated to work with the newest version of WordPress. If you decide to install it, click on the red button that says "Install Now".

Don't stress about deciding if you really want to use a particular Plugin. It's easy to deactivate and/or delete an unwanted plugin, and you're not fooling around with the code so there's no risk of causing chaos.

This is what your list of Plugins looks like on the Plugin page. You can see that some Plugins, like Contact Form 7, have a settings link.
This is what your list of Plugins looks like on the Plugin page. You can see that some Plugins, like Contact Form 7, have a settings link. | Source

Adjust the Settings and Activate Your Plugins

After you've installed your Plugin, look at your Plugin page. Does your new Plugin have a Settings link underneath the title? If it does, click on it and follow the instructions. Leave any settings that you're unsure of at their default settings.

Be sure to activate your new Plugin by clicking the Activate link under the Plugin's title. You'll notice that the link turns to Deactivate in case you don't like the Plugin and want to turn it off. You may then delete it, but if you'd like to save the Plugin you can leave it there in your Plugins list. I don't usually save them, though, because I think it's asking for a glitch to happen when I have too many inactive Plugins piled up.

That might be all in my head or I may have read it somewhere--who knows?

Of the Plugins that you decide to keep active, some will also become Widgets. How do you know which ones will become Widgets? Go to your Available Widgets page to find out. Most of the time this is self-explanatory, though. Widgets are used to add elements to your web page (e.g., if you installed a spam-filter Plugin, you won't find a Widget for it).

Once your Plugin is activated, you'll find it listed under your Available Widgets.
Once your Plugin is activated, you'll find it listed under your Available Widgets. | Source
To the right of your Available Widgets is your Main Sidebar. Simply drag the Widget to your Main Sidebar. Be aware that the list reflects the placement on your page.
To the right of your Available Widgets is your Main Sidebar. Simply drag the Widget to your Main Sidebar. Be aware that the list reflects the placement on your page. | Source

Use Your Plugins' Widgets

Let's talk about the Plugins that do have matching Widgets:

In order to get them up and running on your blog, go to your Widgets page (you'll find that one under the Appearance button, which appears above the Plugins button).

Look at your Available Widgets. You should see a Widget for the Plugin you just activated. Drag that Widget into your Main Sidebar to the right.

Some Widgets require further information. Click on the arrow to the right of the Widget's name. Any fields that should be filled in will drop down. Once you fill them in, click save (if there is a save button) and you're all set.

I've included a screenshot showing the details of the Pinterest Follow Button (below) that we talked about earlier. This is what the Widget looks like when you click that side arrow. You can add a title if you want (I didn't). Under that, there's a field to add your Pinterest user name. Then, you click the radio button next to the style Pinterest button you want to use. I always checkmark "open in a new window" no matter what link I add. Click save, and you're good to go. Click the side arrow again to reduce the window.

Some Widgets, like the Pinterest Follow Button, require further information and general tweaking.
Some Widgets, like the Pinterest Follow Button, require further information and general tweaking. | Source

Online Writing Bible

The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World
The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World

Seriously, an amazing guide to online writing that's full of tips you never even thought about.

 
Under Install Plugins, choose the Upload option to add Plugins you've downloaded to your computer from somewhere other than WordPress. Click Choose File and Install Now to get it into your blog.
Under Install Plugins, choose the Upload option to add Plugins you've downloaded to your computer from somewhere other than WordPress. Click Choose File and Install Now to get it into your blog. | Source

How to Use Plugins Downloaded from Other Sites

You may also find downloadable Plugins elsewhere on the internet.

For example, I downloaded a Widget from Tiny Buddha that displays a new positive message quotation in my sidebar each day. In order to get it onto my website, I went to my Plugins screen, clicked on Add New, then clicked Upload in the menu (see the photo to the right).

I chose the Tiny Buddha Widget file on my desktop, then clicked Install Now. After the Widget was installed, it showed up on my Plugins page. I activated the Plugin and the Widget showed up in my Available Widgets list. I dragged the Widget to my Main Sidebar and BOOM! I started sending positive messages out into cyberspace.

Get Plugging!

If you're looking for something you'd like to add to your website but you're not sure if there's a Plugin for it, Google possible keywords along with the word "Plugin". This is a good way to find new Plugins that help make blogging life easier. Once you get the gist of how to install WordPress Plugins, you'll find the process is pretty simple.

More by this Author


Do you have a WordPress blog? Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 16 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Busy day, Lizzy, but I'll always drop what I'm working on to read one of your hubs. Nice job on this. As you know, I don't monetize, but if I ever get a hankerin' to do so, I now have all the information I need.

And that's all I have time for right now. :)


Radcliff profile image

Radcliff 3 years ago from Hudson, FL Author

Thanks, Billy. You know I'm here for you, my friend!

Now get back to work.


Same DiNamics profile image

Same DiNamics 3 years ago from Maryland

I don't use Wordpress but if I did, this would be helpful. Great hub.


Radcliff profile image

Radcliff 3 years ago from Hudson, FL Author

Thank you, Same DiNamics, and welcome to HubPages!


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Young Liz, I like your style!

Seriously, I didn't know there were so many blogging references out there. I had better make my list and email it to my librarian. I keep those guys so busy with all my inter-library loan requests. Also, I had better look into how hard it is to become an Amazon Prime member. FREE is good, right? : )

This was very reader-friendly, Liz. I'm not a techie kind of guy, so I was thankful for and pleasantly surprised by how much I was grasping. You just never know when I'll get a hankering to start an eBay advice blog on wordpress.org, not its .com cousin. (See? I really was paying attention!)

You rock, Liz! See you at the next Hub!

Joe


Radcliff profile image

Radcliff 3 years ago from Hudson, FL Author

Thank you, Young Joe! I'm glad you found it to be an easy read.

Oh my goodness, there are so many blogging books out there. Most are cheap and in ebook form, and many are available for Prime member borrowing. I save up to pay the $79 per year for membership because I end up getting that money back and then some. Prime members get free 2-day free shipping on all products with a Prime checkmark, so I get food, household goods, and my new postal scale for eBay ;-) all shipped free!

I'm looking forward to your next masterpiece!

Liz


jlongrc profile image

jlongrc 3 years ago from Memphis, TN

Good stuff, I'll definitely be referencing this when a group I'm involved in starts a blog.

Are you fond of any other blogging platforms for specific purposes?


Radcliff profile image

Radcliff 3 years ago from Hudson, FL Author

Thanks, jlongrc!

WordPress is the best way to go. It's the platform all of the popular bloggers recommend, and it's so simple to use. Even many big-name corporations use WordPress, too.

Thanks for your comment!


Radcliff profile image

Radcliff 3 years ago from Hudson, FL Author

Thank you, ezloanlookup! Yes, WordPress is user-friendly, you just need to give yourself time to get acquainted with it. I think a lot of people are overwhelmed before they start. I do need to start making more videos, so perhaps I'll add one in the future. My daughter is three years old, so I'll put her to work. :)

Thanks for the tip and your comment!


Ceres Schwarz profile image

Ceres Schwarz 3 years ago

This is very interesting and also very helpful for those that are new to WordPress and are wondering about how to install WordPress plugins. I don't have WordPress blog yet but this really looks interesting. I'll have to look more into it. Is it hard or complicated to use WordPress? Or is it easy to use, much like HubPages?


Radcliff profile image

Radcliff 3 years ago from Hudson, FL Author

Hi Ceres! WordPress isn't difficult to use. You don't need any experience in website coding or design at all. Having said that, I think it takes a bit longer to get the feel of it than HubPages. With HP, you're just posting articles, but with WordPress, you're posting plus working on the design and other elements of your site. It only takes some time to get used to it and learn a little bit here and there. And you can always sign up for a free WordPress blog. This way, you can learn the ropes and see if you want to get more serious about blogging. Then you can upgrade to your own domain name. Thank you for your comment and question!


Nyamache profile image

Nyamache 2 years ago from Kenya

This hub is helpful. WordPress.org has got many plugins. Some of these plugins have really helped me a lot. Voted this hub up.


Radcliff profile image

Radcliff 2 years ago from Hudson, FL Author

Thank you, Nyamache!


adilkhanindia profile image

adilkhanindia 2 years ago from India

This is an excellent and very detailed hub. voted up.


GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 20 months ago from Madison, Wisconsin

Radcliff,

I am just starting with this and the learning curve is a little bit steep and intimidating but I am persistent. This is a great deal of help. Thank you!


samdani 8 months ago

There are three ways to install WordPress plugins. And there has a nice way to install WordPress plugins normally to the new bloggers . But i have been heard from many of bloggers about their choice and thus way i found that it verifies blogger to blogger on their choice . In this case this nice post shared here on saying the path to install WordPress plugins . To get more concept on plugins you may visit here https://www.gsamdani.com/product/gs-testimonial-sl...

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