21 Days to a WordPress Blog: Day 16: Installing Your First Plugins

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.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of plugins, let’s install one. We’ll install the WordPress SEO plugin by Joost De Valk by going to Add New under the Plugins section in the dashboard. Once there you can search for the plugin or upload them if you’ve purchased or manually downloaded other plugins. Note: When you search for a plugin, you’re only tapping into the plugins in the WordPress Plugin Directory, managed and maintained by Automattic.

install wordpress plugins

Once you might see several plugins in your search results—click on the Details button to read up on each one. The details window will give you the author’s description of the plugin, its current rating, what version of WordPress it requires and more information.

how to install wordpress plugins

Once you know you have the plugin you want, click the Install Now button and WordPress will download, extract and install the plugin for you. Then you’ll be asked to activate the plugin. Normally I’d say go for it, but for sake of this exercise, let’s hold off.

Click on Installed Plugins in the navigation bar. Here you’ll see a list of all the plugins you’ve installed.  Remember an installed Plugin must be activated to function. In this list you’ll see the plugins that came with WordPress, including Akismet, which is probably the best free antispam plugin available. Click the Activate button under WordPress SEO and you’ll see a message that it has been activated. You’ll also notice a new section added to the navigation bar. 

Tomorrow we’ll learn about plugin best practices, but for now you can go ahead and install or activate other plugins you need. Activate Akismet, too, and follow the instructions to get a security key. 

Tomorrow: Plugin best practices

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.