The aim of this short ninth step is to:
- Help you understand how plugins are used on blogs.
- Show you how to activate and deactivate plugins.
- Activate plugins.
What Are Plugins?
A plugin is a piece of software that does something specific to your blog.
Plugins extend functionality or add new features to your blog such as extra widgets, an easy way to add images to posts, ability to embed documents, add sliders, add contact forms, and more.
You don’t have to have plugins on your blog, however, activating some can make the blogging experience better for both you and your audience. You don’t need to know anything about software or coding to use plugins; you can turn them on or off with the click of a button!
Plugins On Student Blogs
There are numerous plugins that you can activate in Plugins > All in your dashboard. Plugins should only be activated if you plan to use the functionality provided by the plugin. You shouldn’t activate plugins you don’t use.
Here is a list of plugins that are suitable for activating on your blog:
|Easy tool to quickly find and add Creative Commons images to your posts with attribution. Once activated it adds a Pixabay icon to your visual editor which you use to search and insert images using Pixabay.
|Quick and easy tool designed to help you add tables to your posts and pages.
|Embed Any Document
|Enables you to embed any document into a post or page.
|Lightbox for Images
|Adds an overlay that goes over the site and shows the larger version of the image when a reader clicks on the image so that readers can view without navigating away from the page.
|Supreme Google Webfont
|Adds Google webfonts into a nice dropdown list in your visual editor which you can use to change your font type and/or font size.
|Visual Editor Widget
|Adds a new ‘Visual Editor’ widget to Appearance > Widgets which makes it easy to add links, images, and more to a widget.
Note: If you are a long time blogger, you might recall the Compfight plugin for adding Creative Commons images. It has now been retired as it is no longer compatible with the newer versions of WordPress.
You activate plugins as follows:
1. Go to Plugins > All in your dashboard.
2. Click on Activate below the plugin you want to use.
Some plugins have an administration page where you can set options specific for that plugin.
- Plugins with configuration options add a new item under the Settings menu.
- Some plugins also add widgets to Appearance > Widgets
- Click on the Documentation link on the plugin for more information on how to use the plugin.
3. Click on Deactivate if you want to turn a plugin off.
Activate Plugins on your blog
Here is a list of plugins we recommend you activate:
You should always test a plugin once you’ve activated the plugin to see how it works and then deactivate the plugin if you don’t intend to use it.
To test Pixabay and Easy tables plugins, you need to write a new post. The Pixabay plugin adds a Pixabay icon to your visual editor that enables you to quickly find and add Creative Commons images to posts. The Easy Table plugin adds a tables tool to your visual editor for adding simple tables to posts.
To test the image widget and visual editor widget plugins you need to go to Appearance > Widgets and add their widget to your sidebar.
Remember, you’ll see numerous plugins that you can activate in Plugins > All in your dashboard. But you should only activate plugins you plan to use. Don’t activate plugins you don’t use. If you decide to activate other plugins, remember to test the plugin after you’ve activated it and deactivate it if you don’t like it.
The documentation link under a plugin takes you to the support page that explains how the plugin is used.
- Activate Pixabay, Easy Tables, and the Visual Editor plugins in Plugins > All.
- Test each plugin and then write a post to discuss what you learned about plugins or tell us which plugin(s) you liked and why. Remember to leave a link to your post in a comment here so we can have a look at your new post.