Plugins are what makes WordPress.org do amazing things. You choose what you want your site to do, find a plugin and off you go. Ok might not be quite as simple as that but nearly.
Plugins are the extra bit of coding that polishes off your blog. Do keep in mind that having 100’s of plugins will slow your blog down and not give a user-friendly experience. So ideally only use what you need and always delete plugins ( themes too actually) that you’re not using anymore as they just cause extra weight and hidden places for hackers to get in.
Whoooo hang on hackers? Yes, hackers. Just assume that at some point even your little ol’ blog will be targeted. It’s not personal it just goes with the territory. When setting up the hosting your host will probably recommend a security plugin. There are free and paid ones and also check what security measures you host has in place if the worse does happen. I.E do they step in and help and reinstall a backup version of your site.
Back to plugins…Akismet is brilliant for stopping spam comments and yes its free. Set it up and let it do its thing.
Yoast SEO ( WordPress SEO) plugin is perfect for you to check you have your keywords in the right place and the posts readability plus a lot more.
These two plugins are the first two I always set up. The rest you will figure out as you go and figure out what you want your blog to do. You might want a Related Posts plugin that suggests other posts to the reader at the bottom of the post. Or you might want a social media sharing plugin that has a specific look or goes in a certain place.
To find more plugins you can download them in your WordPress admin under Plugins. There is an Add New button which lets you search WordPress’s database of plugins they approve. You get to see how often the plugins updated ( you want it to be updated to keep up with security) and you want it to be compatible with your version of WordPress. Always go through them instead of finding a download through your search engine.
Just a little side note – you’ll get notifications when a plugin, theme or the main core (WordPress) has an update that needs applying. Yes, these can get annoying as you will be sure, and you probably did, only update something the day before. Plugin coders, theme designers, and WordPress honestly don’t issue updates just to annoy you and keep you busy. Updates are done to keep on top of security and to correct bugs as they are found. So they are needed and you need to keep onto of them. Take a backup of your site before you apply the updates. Afterward, check that everything is working as it should and skip merrily onto your next task. If somethings isn’t working properly you then have your backup to fall back on. Contact the plugin or theme developer so they know of the issue and might have a fix already in place.
Here are all the posts in this series so you pick and choose where to go next
What is a Successful blog
Deciding your niche
Domain and hosting
Sorting your categories and tags
Picking a platform
Choosing a theme
Must haves for your blog
What will readers want to read
Writing for your reader
Photos and graphics
Starting A Blog Series
Get all the pullouts to help you set up your blog