Use WordPress to Create a Website or Blog

Plugins

Basic Functions and Pages to Add To Your Site

For most sites, the following additions are recommended:

  • Contact form
  • Sitemap
  • Copyright Notice
  • Anti-spam tools
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms & Conditions (disclaimers, policies, etc.)
  • Social Media tools

Depending on the purpose and scope of your site, you may need more or fewer.

One way to add these is with “Plug-ins”.

Adding Functionality: WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins can add all sorts of features to your site.

Here are some tips for using Plugins:

  • It’s easy to go crazy installing plugins. Don’t install more than you need, because they tend to slow down your site.
  • Delete any that you don’t use, have problems with, or find to duplicate others.
  • Update plugins regularly.
  • Look for plugins that are popular (have lots of downloads) and highly rated. They are more likely to get updated and provide support documentation.
  • Only install plugins from trusted sources to avoid security issues. Before installing, check for vulnerabilities. Make sure it will work with your version of WordPress.

You’ll find lots of free plugins. Some have paid premium versions, but most of what you will need to begin with should be free. Their developers have likely invested much time and effort to make them available, though. If their products are useful to you, consider giving them a good review or even a donation.

To search plug-in options, go to: Plugins and then “Add New”.Plugins

After choosing a plug-in, click “Install” and then “Activate”. If needed, make sure to go into its “Settings” to set it up as desired for your site.

Here are some elements and functions I recommend adding to your site, along with some possible plugins for the job:

Contact Form: Make it easy for visitors to communicate with you, while hiding your email address from spammers, by using a contact form. Contact Form 7 and Fast Secure Contact Form are popular contact form plugins.

Sitemap: A sitemap is a list of pages of a website that helps search engine “bots” know what’s on your site.

In earlier days, web masters had to submit this information separately to individual search engines. Today, major engines such as, Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask all use web crawlers that identify pages. By creating and submitting a Sitemap, you can make it easier for them to discover all the pages on your site, including URLs that might not be discovered in the normal “crawling” process. Sitemaps can also provide metadata about specific types of information, such as video, image, and last update.

Google XML Sitemaps is a popular Sitemap plug-in. SEO Plug-in by Yoast also includes an XML Sitemap.

Copyright Notice: Some themes will provide a way to add a copyright notice in the footer at the bottom of the page. If not, you can add a copyright notice to your site with a plug-in, such as Copyright Proof, WP-Copyright-Protection or FooterPutter.

AntiSpam Tools: In order to avoid as much spam as possible, consider using antispam tools. A popular one, Akismet, is still free for personal sites, but now charges $5/month for business sites. Additional options include: Antispam For All Fields, Invisible Captcha (for visitor comments), CryptX (to hide email addresses from spiders).

Search Engine Optimization Tools: When potential visitors to your site search online using search engines such as Google or Bing, you want your site to come up as early as possible in their search results. Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) tools consider how search engines work and what people search for online in order to help you strategically position your site to appear in as advantageous position as possible in search results.

I use All-in-One SEO Pack by Michael Tobert, which allows you to put in a title, description and keywords for each page or post. It is available in a free version or in the All-in-One SEO Pack Pro version. Another popular SEO plug-in is SEO Plug-in by Yoast.

Legal Stuff: Websites typically include legal notices, such as a Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions, and Disclaimer notices. You should obtain specific official legal advice from a qualified expert familiar with your situation on this.

It’s likely that you will need to post a Privacy Policy, for instance, that notifies visitors of how their information will be recorded and used. While you yourself may not be collecting information, some of the internet services you use may be (Google ads, for instance).

Plug-ins are available that provide basic language you might be able to use as a starting point. For instance, WP-Insert provides “Set up Legal Pages”. If you use this sort of resource, note that you will still have to customize it for your particular situation. Again, be sure to obtain specific legal advice on this from a qualified professional.

Social Media tools: There are many plug-ins available to help you coordinate your site with social media sites, such as Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter, as well as content sharing tools. Examples are: Share Buttons by Lockerz (AddToAny, helps people bookmark, share and email your posts and pages using more than 100 different sharing and social bookmarking sites), Tweetable (automatically tweets out your blog posts) and Facebook Like Button Plugin.

Other Cool WordPress Tools

Broken Link Checker: Checks for and notifies you of broken links and missing images on your site.

Wp-Polls: Allows polling with visible results.

Wp Smush.It: Allows reduction of file sizes of images on your site with minimal loss.

Next Steps

Now that you’ve set up your site:

  1. Expand your marketing capabilities by building your email list.
  2. Build website traffic through SEO, Search Engine Optimization.
  3. Explore ways to make money with your website.