Hopefully at this stage, we have registered our domain name, created a web hosting account with SiteGround. Configured our settings in our WordPress dashboard and installed a WordPress theme (GeneratePress). Things are starting to look pretty good, now to add some additional functionality by moving onto step 5 WordPress plugins.
If you missed any steps, just head back to step 1 : How to Build a Blog Beginners Step by Step Guide 2017
There is a plugin for that !
You may become familiar with the term, “there is a plugin for that”. With 48,669 plugins available in 2017, your options are limitless. Not always a good thing to have so much choice, as this can leave an individual confused and lost. Today’s article focuses on the top 4 essential plugins, that add incredible functionality to any WordPress blog
1) Yoast SEO
With over 1 million active installs, I think you will agree that these guys must be doing something right. The plugin is well maintained, with regular updates released every few weeks. Yoast SEO helps bloggers optimize their WordPress blog by analyzing their content and recommending improvements.
Optimizing your site and content is imperative, if you want to rank high in search results.
2) Updraftplus Backup
Backing up your WordPress site is as essential as insuring your car or home. In the event of virus, hacker, server crashes or even a simple mistake by your developer. You could lose everything, lost forever.
Updraftplus has over 900,000 active installs and for good reason. Their premium packages comes with 12 storage solutions, including their own backup vault, separate from WordPress. You can read more on Updraftplus in a previous article, Updraftplus Premium Backup Solution for WordPress.
3) Contact Form 7
No WordPress blog would be complete without a contact page. Simply upload and activate the plugin. Then copy and paste the short code into any page or post, to create a contact form in min. Contact form 7, over 1 million active installs with over 1000 reviews.
4) Shortcode Ultimate
I discovered short code ultimate over a year ago and have been amazed with its diversity. There are 55 features built into Shortcode Ultimate with additional add-ons available. Some of the features include (Columns, Rows, Buttons, Quotes, Boxes, Tables, Slider, Carousel, Tool Tips) and list goes on. Over half a million active downloads, over 3000 reviews, with a 5 star rating. Pretty impressive !
In Step 4 WordPress Theme, I highlight the flexibility and customization options available with the GeneratePress theme. By adding the Shortcode Ultimate plugin to your WordPress blog, will not only increase your customization options, but drastically reduce the amount of plugins required.
WordPress plugins, less is more
Plugins are awesome, as they add functionality, allowing us to achieve the look and feel we require. This doesn’t mean the more plugins the better, bloating your blog with to many plugins can have a negative effect on overall site speed.
Page load speeds are an important ranking factor of Google, select your plugins carefully. You can read more on WordPress Speed in an earlier article I wrote : 5 Simple Tricks to Speed up WordPress
Achieving the functionality required for our WordPress blog with a few essential plugins is the goal. Choosing a great theme like GeneratePress will reduce the need for additional plugins.
How do I Install plugins ?
First head over to your WordPress dashboard and hover over Plugins, a drop box will appear, select Add new
Next type the name of the plugin you want to install. WordPress will automatically display the results from your search. Click on Install Now which can be found at the right hand corner of the plugin. Once installed the same tab will now say activate. To finish the installation of your plugin click Activate.
Repeat the instructions above to install and activate all recommended plugins in Step 5 WordPress plugins. Congratulations, you now have a fully functioning WordPress blog. Now that we have covered the basics of building your first WordPress blog.
Check out more tips and tricks for beginners : WordPress Tips