Using WordPress Plugins – Tips

by on December 7th, 2007

One of the great advantages of blogs is Plugins Facility. Simple website is not flexible enough to modify or enhance its functionality according to the ever changing needs. Plugins are flexible little programs made for blogs which provide extra functionality to it. And these are easy to manage and manipulate. WordPress Plugins can be easily added to the website or can be deactivated in case you don’t need them or a better plugin is available. e.g. Default WordPress software don’t have custom complete pagination facility in it. You can have it added into your blog via a Plugin called Pagenavi. Default Tags Cloud is not customizable. But you can have a customizable Tags Cloud added via a Plugin called CTC. So many examples like this are there. There are thousands of beneficial plugins available for WordPress and totally free of cost. Depends what you need. Just search it at WordPress website and get it. You don’t need a developer to do the task for you. Do it yourself.

How Plugins Are Useful

As I mentioned, Plugins are customizable and flexible. You can customize Plugins, You can add new Plugins, as much as you want and you can deactiveta them in case you don’t need them or a better Plugins is available arond.

How To Use WordPress Plugins

Just download the Plugin. Extract it if it is in zipped format. Upload it at your server blog’s Plugins Directory. Login to your admin area of blog and go to Plugins Tab. Find that newly added Plugin there and activate it. After activating It might add its widget. You can find widget section under Presentration. Find there if it adds a widget there and add it to your blog’s sidebar. Sometimes it also offers some customizations. Go to Options Tab. Find there if the Plugin name is appearing in the menu. If yes, explore it and customize options it offers to you. e.g. Random Posts Plugin offers a widget to place in side bar and also offers some customizations about how many posts may it be placed under customized Title of random posts in side bar of your WordPress blog.

Precautions About Using and Installation of WordPress Plugins

Plugins are usually projects by different contributing developers from around the world. They may update their plugin as WordPress also undergoes updating process. For new WordPress Version there will be a new version of plugins available which you are using. You do not need to be worried about that. WordPress takes care of its essentials. Old plugins for new WordPress version might not work. So its essential to update. When there is an update for any plugin available, WordPress admin Plugin section will inform you where it has a list of all the plugins. Under specific plugin there will be message that an update about this plugin is available and you can download that update from there by a direct link from there.
Always test first a plugin to local or at test blog. Plugin might not suit or work for you blog and that can give it a funny or odd look. In that case your blog visitors will be disappointed to see the disturbed or unwanted change. So always test a plugin before uploading it. Setup a test WordPress Blog at local PC or at online for just testing purpose and there apply it to see the cahnge it may implement at your blog. If it looks great and alright, you can upload it to your functional blog.

Installing WordPress Plugins

Usually every Plugin comes with a readme or install help file. That will guide you through the process if its little bit more than usual installation. But it is simple most of the time to get a plugin installed. Just download appropriate plugin. Unzip it if its in the zipped or compressed format. Upload files into your blog’s plugin directory. Go to admin section and then plugins. Find it there and activate it. Customize its options by Options and add its widget in sidebar if it offers, from Presentation Tab. You are done.
Some Plugins offer a code also to place it in your WordPress current theme’s files. In side bar files or in template files. Read the instruction which some with the Plugin always and follow accordingly for that. Normally you would be asked to place code in single.php, archive.php, archives.php, index.php, sidebar.php or rsidebar.php or page.php according to needs of Plugin.

Troubleshooting, What If Things Go Wrong With Some Plugin

It happens sometimes. You upload a Plugin and it gives error or nothing happens at all; no change, no enhancement. In that case you do not need to get tensed. Just go to admin Plugins Tab and deactivate the plugin and your blog is safe from error or unwanted mess.

Where To Find Latest Plugins

WordPress official website Plugins directory
Essential WordPress Plugins

Which Plugins My Blog Needs

That is the thing you need to ask yourself. Look at your blog and see whether it looks like lacking something, some functionality, some design part issue or some usability issue. While you see other websites and blogs, you get the idea that what other people are using. Only purposeful and needed Plugins are recommended to use for your blog to eliminate extra burden on your server and minimizing loading time for your blog.

When you will browse through the WordPress Plugins Directory, You can get the idea that what plugin is doing what and why you should be needing it at your blog. Browse and read through Plugin’s about information that what it actually does. Some of them you might like for sure to increase usability at your website. Some are navigation basis, some provide statistics about blog, some adds more widgets to you sidebars, some adds social bookmarks etc.


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