You’ve installed WordPress, and now you would like to customize your site. Plugins are awesome, and they help you enhance your website. There are hundreds and even thousands of plugins that you can choose from: contact form, membership site, downloads etc. Whatever you need, most likely there’s a plugin for it. Whether its free or premium( paid plugins) the options are endless.
Let’s get started
First off, you need to have an actual WordPress website. Not a free one from WordPress.org, because you won’t see the plugin option. You need a WordPress website that is on a self-hosted web host. I recommend Siteground and Bluehost.
Click here to read a blog post on choosing the perfect web host for WordPress.
Installing a Plugin
Sign in to your WordPress Dashboard: www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin
Once you sign in, WordPress will redirect you to the dashboard. Scroll down to Plugins and select the option.
Click on Add New. You can search the database for a specific plugin. Those plugins are uploaded from the WordPress directory and they offer both free and premium options.
Using the search function, type in the name of the plugin or what it does. For example, if you are looking for a membership plugin, type in ‘Membership‘. Automatically your options will populate. See below:
Browse through the options and pick the best one. Once you’ve decided on a plugin, click on Install Now.
The Install Now button will convert into an Activate button. Click on Activate.
Note: The Plugin will be installed on your website, usually within seconds. However, you will not be able to use the features until you activate it.
Once you click on Activate, it will install and redirect you to your installed plugins. Scroll down and find your installed plugin. Once you’ve confirmed that it’s there, that’s it, you’ve installed and activated your chosen plugin.
Note: When you are browsing always look at the bottom of the container for star ratings, compatibility with your version of WordPress, and when it was last updated. You don’t want a plugin that never gets updated. Or ratings suck and it is not compatible with your WordPress. It will give you all kinds of problems, and if it hasn’t been updated in a while, support may be limited.
Most plugins allow WordPress to automatically update the plugins when new versions are released. It’s a good idea to click on Enable auto-updates, so you never have to manually update the plugin. Click here to find out why you should keep your WordPress/ Plugins updated.
The final step is to customize your plugin settings. I cannot guide you on how to edit plugins because every plugin has its own documentation. Its recommended to find the plugin creators, go to their website and most have documentation or forums if you need help.
Upload a plugin
Additionally, if you purchased a plugin, not through the WordPress directory maybe you purchased it from the creator directly or Codecanyon, you can upload this plugin manually.
Once the plugin is downloaded to your computer, usually, it’s in a zip file, browse to: WordPress Navigation > Plugins > Add New.
Click on Upload Plugin.
Click on Choose File and upload the zip file.
After you uploaded the zip file, click on Install Now. A Successful message will populate, letting you know that everything went smoothly.
You will see a blue button: Activate Plugin, click on it.
Once it’s activated, you can start customizing your settings.