WordPress has a lot of functionality built-in, but occasionally you might find a specific need that isn’t a part of the default software. To accomplish this, WordPress has a plugin architecture where developers can create plugins that add additional functionality to your site. From simple photo galleries to site statistics, to automatic Twitter and Facebook sharing of posts, there is practically a plugin for whatever you need for your blog (over 54,000 at the time of this writing). To start using and installing plugins just follow these simple instructions:
- Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
- From the left side menu, locate and click plugins.
- You will be given a list of all your currently installed plugins. From this menu, you are able to activate and disable specified plugins by using either the single plugin options located under each plugin name. Or you may use the bulk action drop down menu to simultaneously activate/disable multiple plugins by checking desired plugins. Additionally, you may also sort through installed plugins using the sorting options above the bulk action menu.
To install a new plugin click add new either from the plugin sidebar or the main plugin menu, you will then be redirected to a search engine where you can search using general or specific terms to find plugins. For example, searching “photo gallery” brings up various plugins from different developers.
Once you find your desired plugin to install it hit install now, which will automatically install the plugin and prompt you if you would like to activate it now or return to the menu.
After installing your plugin be sure to visit the developers’ website if you have any additional questions about how the plugin works, as some plugins may require certain codes or other actions to be used properly.
Some plugins will have their own settings page located under the settings or tools categories, other plugins will break out their own menu item on the lefthand side of the dashboard. Sometimes it won’t be explicit how the plugin interacts with your personal site, so it’s important to make sure you’ve read the documentation available on the plugin’s website.