Resources


Plugins

Easy WPCodex
Plugins are little (or big) programs that add something to WordPress’s functionality. They do lots of things, from validating Google Analytics for you, to adding social networking to your site.

Go to “Plugins” on your dashboard menu. You’ll see two plugins are already installed, “Askimet” and “Hello Dolly”. Aksimet helps reduce spam. Activate it when you have time. It’s good practice for entering API keys. When it asks you for your donation amount, just set the slider to $0. Hello Dolly displays random lyrics from the 1964 Broadway musical “Hello, Dolly”. It’s unclear why this is preloaded… Delete it. This is good practice for deleting useless plugins.

Installing New Plugins

Installing new plugins is easy, maybe too easy. Click “Add New” under “Plugins” on your dashboard menu, or if you’re on your plugin manager page, hit “Add New” up on the top left next to where it says “Plugins”.

plugin-add

You’ll be taken to a search bar to search for the plugin you want. Go ahead and type in captcha. This will add a very easy math problem to your login as well as new user registration. This foils bots from registering for your site and trying to login in as you by guessing your info.

Evaluate the Plugin

It’s not a good idea to blindly install code onto your website. Click on “Details” next to the first result. This will give you a good idea of how worthy this plugin is of your site. Three things to consider (outlined in red) are 1) Last updated 2)How many people have downloaded 3) Its star rating

plugin-deets

  1. Plugins that aren’t updated regularly are not very safe. In the case of CAPTCHA you can see that it was updated in the last couple weeks. This means that there are people actively developing the plugin, making sure it works and that it’s secure.
  2. The popularity of a plugin implies its quality. CAPTCHA is used by almost half a million people. That’s a lot
  3. An active community likes to rate things. Trust us when we say that 4.5 stars is as good as gold, especially when it’s averaged from 140 people.

Also consider checking out the plugin’s homepage. If a company hosts an information page about its plugin, then that tells you it’s probably a quality plugin. Likewise, check out the WordPress.org plugin page to read reviews and get more info.

 Install the Plugin

After you’ve determined the greatness of your plugin, go ahead and click “Install Now”. Depending on the complexity of the plugin, you may have the option to configure settings. In the case of CAPTCHA you do, so click on settings and set them to your liking.

Useful Plugins

  • CAPTCHA
  • WP Audio Player
  • CMS Page Tree View
  • Google Language Translator
  • Limit Login Attempts
  • Better WP Security
  • Ninja Forms
  • BuddyPress

Check out this article from WPBeginner.com for more info on plugins.

Getting the Word Out

Now that you’re publishing posts like a pro, you should think about how people receive  your posts. In a perfect world people would be spending all their time staring at your homescreen, dutifully clicking reload waiting for you to grace them with fresh content. But sadly we live in a less ideal world where people have lives outside our blogs. To combat this rudeness we turn to tools for social sharing and syndication.

 

RSS: Really Simple Syndication

Check out this great article on RSS from WP Beginner

RSS is a way for periodically published sites like blogs to push their content directly to users. You may be familiar with the  icon. It actually graces the topbar of graphene theme. This is the universal sign for RSS. Here’s the terminology you need to know:

Feed: The stream of content coming from a particular source. All the blog posts on your WordPress site constitute a feed. Sites with multiple contributors may have many individual feeds. You subscribe to a feed to get the feed content. Subscriptions are handled by an RSS reader

RSS Reader: This is an application, either on your desktop, web-based, or your browser itself that interprets the subscription information of a feed.

If you’re not already utilizing RSS, you should. It’s a great way to keep up to date on whatever you’re interested in. For instance, you might be a big fan of WordPress. You want to stay up to date on what’s going on in the developer community, what themes and plugins are really hot right now, and know the best tricks for altering WP for yourself. You would naturally subscribe to the feeds of some awesome blogs that write about WordPress. RSS allows you to pull in new content from various sources without having to go to each individual site.

Creating Your Own Feed

By default, WordPress creates a feed for your blog. It’s located at www.yoursite.com/feed. On some rare occasions it’s not at that address. If this happens, contact your instructor. This feed is fully functional and you could leave it at that if you wanted to, but you’re an awesome WP power user so you go above and beyond.

Burning a Feed with Feed Burner

Feed Burner is an RSS feed generator. It offers us a few advantages over the default feed. For one, it gives us analytics. We can see just how many people are subscribed to our feed. Second, on a more technical note, it moves the responsibility of handling notifications to your readers’ RSS applications to a third party, thus saving your server from having to do it.

Go to this post for the complete walkthrough on how to burn a feed.

Placing Your RSS Button

Now that you’ve got a feed setup, you need to give your readers a way of accessing it. This usually takes the form of a “button”. By button we mean, an image of an RSS feed that you code as a link to your feed.

Check out this post for a full walkthrough.