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How To Add A Plugin in WordPress

Originally posted on February 7, 2016 and currently being updated.

What is a plugin?

Plugins are created by developers to perform specific functions on blogs.

This article will show you exactly how to add a plugin in WordPress, on your blog.

Here’s an example most people would be familiar with, the comment form at the end of a blog post. The comment form is a plugin.

Contact form 7 plugin - WordPress

This particular plugin is usually on the page called Contact which may or may not have other contact details in addition to a contact form.

This is where the blog reader can interact with the blog owner by responding to what has been written. These comments, once published, show up at the end of the blog post.

This contact form is created using the Contact Form 7 plugin. WordPress has other forms for comments, however this is a very popular choice.

Plugins allow you to make customisations on your blog, without having any knowledge of coding.

Contact Form 7 is one example of tens of thousands of plugins.

Do plugins make sites slow down?

As a newbie blogger it can be tempting to add many plugins to your blog as there are so many very good plugins with features that make it easier to customise your blog.

However, you do need to be selective about how many plugins you choose to use as plugins can slow the speed of your blog.

If the blog takes a long time to load, potential readers will click away onto something else and we know that.  I do it and you probably do also.

Where Do I Find WordPress plugins?

There are three main places to find plugins.

  1. Free plugins can be uploaded onto your site from the Dashboard of your blog. You can also search for plugins there.
  2. Free plugins can be found in a directory like WordPress.org. This directory is the same one that you see via the Dashboard. If you are browsing, it is easier to do it on the website rather than through the dashboard.
  3. A purchased plugin would be uploaded to your blog via a zipped folder. When purchasing a plugin you normally are given access to a download area with your own login and password.  This is where you would go to download your plugin. Usually there is support, should you need assistance and you would be notified of updates to the plugin. The plugin is downloaded to your computer and then uploaded through the blog. It is then installed in the same manner as a free Plugin.

As a newbie blogger it is definitely easier to upload plugins via the Dashboard. As you become more familiar with the using the Dashboard and blogging in general you will hear about plugins that other bloggers are using and be able to investigate.

Occasionally the plugins that you have will have a compatibility problem with each other.  This usually happens when a plugin needs to be updated.

These images show how to add a plugin in WordPress through the Dashboard

Plugins on dashboard
The arrow shows where to locate plugins in the Dashboard.  The red circle with 2 in the middle indicates that there are two plugins that need to be updated.

Add a new plugin

 

When you click on Plugins you will notice two things.  Firstly the menu in the Dashboard will expand and secondly, you will now be on the page that shows the plugins that are already installed on your blog.
Note, when you first install WordPress  there will be some plugins that are preinstalled.  You can decide whether to keep them or deactivate them at a later date.
The red arrow is pointing to the button that you need to click to add a new plugin.

WordPress.org for plugins

 

The red arrow in the top right shows search bar where to type the name of the plugin, in this case Contact Form 7. The search will bring up the plugin you are looking for plus other similar plugins.  Click on the install now button.

In the top left, there is another button saying Upload plugin. Click on this button to locate a plugin that you have on your computer in a zipped folder.

 

Click activate plugin

Click Activate Plugin and wait for it to be activated. It is usually just a matter of seconds and then click on the link that takes you back to the plugins page.

Where do I find plugins

 

Now you will be able to see Contact Form 7 in the list and that it is activated.

Once a plugin is installed and activated, it is necessary to look at the settings. Go to the settings for Contact Form 7 and you will see the short code.

This shortcode produces the form. See below.

 

How to install a new plugin in WordPress
Copy the short code.  A contact form is usually on a Page called Contact so create a new Page and call it Contact.

When the page is created that is where you will paste the shortcode.

 

 Add a plugin in wordpress

 

Hit the Publish button. Return to the home page of your blog, refresh and this is how the form will look.

How to add a plugin in WordPress.

 

Great job! You deserve a coffee!

coffee

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