What are WordPress plugins?
WordPress plugins are bits of software that can be uploaded to extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress site. If we are making a simple website for you, these are the six plugins we consider the most important:
For instance, if I want to add a search box to the top of each web page, I could go to the black menu and click on Plugins > Add New. Then I could type Ivory Search into the Search Plugins box. After I set up that plugin, I could get a magnifying glass icon in my top menu. By clicking on the magnifying glass, I could search for keywords throughout the website.
Note that the magnifying glass is available only in the paid version of Ivory Search. The free version will give a search box near the top.
Note that if the website is commercial, the owner will have to pay for Akismet before they can activate it. We are installing it in all websites. The website owner can make the decision whether or activate it or not.
Your four main plugins
- WordPress: A free, lightweight content management system (CMS)
- To customize WordPress, choose from a database of 49,000+ different plugins
- Popular plugins include
- Comment spam protection,
- Contact forms and
- Sitemaps to help search engines work more effectively
- This post will discuss free WordPress plugins to help in those 4 areas
Each of those 4 main plugins is discussed below.
- Akismet (one of the more important WordPress plugins) gives you comment spam protection
- Click on Plugins in left-hand column of black menu
- Akismet will likely already be there
- If not, click on Add New and enter Akismet in search box
- Click Activate
- Click the white Activate your Akismet account on the blue background
- You will be asked to get an API key that looks something like 9a5a63903bdc
- Enter that in box, click a few buttons and amount of comment spam will be drastically reduced
2. SEO WordPress plugins
- SEO stands for search engine optimization
- We will use WordPress SEO by Yoast
- Search engines such as Google are much more likely to rank you higher
- This free plugin is very important. I use it to help me SEO EVERY single blog post that I make.
- To get started, click on Plugins > Add New
- Enter SEO into search box
- Given a large list of plugins
- Select WordPress SEO by Yoast
- Click on Install Now and wait for successfully installed
- Click Activate Plugin
- Says SEO near bottom of black menu
- Now you’re ready to start using new plugin
- Create new page
- After you’re finished adding text, scroll down below page and click on General tab
- Fill in the blanks
- Hover over question marks to get understanding of what each heading means
- Click blue Update button
3. Contact Form
The websites we design for Fiverr give our clients a Contact Us page with a Ninja form. Read our simple instructions on how to install.
- If publish your email address on web page, running risk of getting lots of spam
- People have bots that harvest email addresses
- So, add a WordPress plugin contact form instead
- Go to new plugins page and search for ninja form
- Click on the Ninja Form promo rectangle that shows up.
- Wait a few seconds and click Activate
- Go to the Ninja Form article to learn more
- Update your page
- View the page
- Check to make sure form works
4. Sitemap WordPress Plugin
Note: If you use Yoast SEO, you already have a sitemap. Adding another sitemap could cause a software conflict.
- A proper site map may help you get high rankings on Google
- Especially true if you update your website often
- Sitemap helps site owners get new content earlier on Google’s SERPs (search engine result pages)
- Google XML Sitemaps notify all major search engines every time post new content
- Help search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo to better index website
- With an XML sitemap, much easier for crawlers to see complete structure of site and retrieve it more efficiently
- To get started, go to Plugins > Add New and search for sitemaps
- Cmd F to find Google SML Sitemaps
- Likely find several choices
- Go to one that is Google SML Sitemaps without anything else in name
- Click Install Now
Two other valuable plugins in investigate
When I want to investigate a new plugin, I enter this into a search engine: review wordpress plugin name of plugin. You may want to investigate these 2 plugins:
- Gallery: Add beautiful photo galleries and albums to your site.
- Appointments+: Let your customers book and pay for appointments by themselves.
Grab their attention within a few seconds
Website visitors are impatient. They need visuals to distract them. If they are not really interested in the first 3 seconds, they will probably leave your page. So, use images with a “wow” factor to grab their attention. The special picture should be above the fold if possible.
A picture is worth 1000 words
The brain processes a picture much faster than text — 60,000 times faster. So, a picture is probably worth much more than 1000 words.
What makes visuals different from text?
- Visuals are stored directly in the long-term memory
- Text is stored in the short-term memory
- Images increase comprehension, recollection and retention to a greater extent than text does
- So, people are more likely to remember things on your web page if text is accompanied by a picture
- Pictures enhance emotions more strongly than text.
- Pictures engage the imagination to a greater extent than text
- Pictures heighten creative thinking to a greater extent than text
- The brain processes everything about a picture simultaneously
- With text, the brain processes it one word at a time
Souces of visuals
When you are explaining things, it often helps to use Cmd/Shift/4 to grab part of an image to explain a point. Visuals help us decode text. Sometimes, or probably usually, visitors will leave your page if you do not grab their attention within the first few seconds. I used to go to Adobe Stock and pay $3 for a photo that will “wow” people long enough to get them to read the page. I saved them in special folders in Google Drive. Every one in a while I look through my special image folders to find something I could use. I use GIMP to reduce them to be a PNG image around 400 px wide. Otherwise it could take too long for the web page to load. Note that to use Adobe Stock you must pay $30 USD per month for 10 photos. If that is too much, try the nocostimages alternative. Try going to 8 sources of free stock images.
Reduce the size of some images
Note that these Adobe Stock pictures will be very large and therefore slow down the speed at which your website opens. So, to avoid losing viewers, use GIMP to reduce the size of an image. If you have a 3 MB picture and drag a corner to make it smaller, it will still be a 3 MB picture. So, go to GIMP and use used Image > Scale Image to reduce the size of a picture. Today I had a 1.3 MB picture that was 700 pixels wide. I used GIMP to reduce it to 400 pixels wide. It was only 400 kB.
Social media marketing
I rarely make a social media post without having a photo that grabs people’s attention. I’ll take the best picture from a blog post and have an image upload with that same picture in my posts on
- Facebook page
Megabytes & kilobytes
A Mb is approximately 1000 times larger than a kB. Specifically,
- 1 byte = 8 bits
- 1 Kilobyte = 1024 bytes
- 1 Megabyte = 1024 Kilobytes
The Bitly address, bit.ly/nocostimages,is an easy-to-remember web address for the Dreamstime website. Dreamstime has a collection of tens of millions of photos, illustrations, video snippets, etc. The lower quality images are free. The higher quality ones cost money. Dreamstime can be a very good source of free images. In the above screenshot, someone searched All Content for pictures that represented designing websites. What if your designing websites picture must match the blue colour in your header. Then you would add the word blue to your search term.
Click a plus sign with the circle around it in order to add a block.