21 Days to a WordPress Blog: Day 15: Plugins & Addons

Whether you need a simple site for your business, want to start a blog or just want to try building a WordPress website, you’ll learn all the basics in these daily lessons. In three weeks—and about 30 minutes a day—you’ll build your first WordPress blog.

The WordPress core developers work very hard to prevent functionality overload, so every single option isn’t active in every single WordPress site by default. The dashboard would become unbelievably slow and cluttered, and we’d have way more tools then we’d ever use. Keeping the admin lightweight is important, so they make it easy for us to build up our WordPress site as we need it by installing third-party plugins. (Note: You can only add plugins to custom installs of WordPress, not to WordPress.com-hosted blogs.)

In most cases, a plugin satisfies a need WordPress can’t. One of the most popular types of plugins is for optimizing a site’s search engine performance. While WordPress is by default a great CMS for SEO, a good SEO plugin can help a lot. 

For example, the WordPress SEO plugin by by Joost De Valk adds an SEO area below the main content editing area on all post and page edit pages. Here you can create a custom title, meta description and even preview how the post will appear in Google search results.

A plugin installed and activated on your site will provide additional functionality, modify your admin and more. If you don’t like a plugin you installed, simply go to the Plugins area and deactivate it. This doesn’t uninstall the plugin, and in most cases, doesn’t delete your settings. 

wordpress plugin directory, wordpress plugins

Browse around the WordPress Plugin Directory to find plugins to enhance your WordPress site. I don’t endorse installing plugins just for the sake of installing them—wait until you have an actual need. Think of actions or features you would like your site to have, and bookmark the plugins that fit your needs.

Tomorrow: Installing your first plugins

Learn more about making a WordPress website with our great design resources. Can’t wait for the rest of the posts in this series? Download the whole guide to build a WordPress site now.