8. Let's install the essential plugins for a website!


Our website is starting to take shape, but some fundamental features are still missing!

Today, we will see how to add these functionalities to our WordPress site using plugins!

WHAT ARE WORDPRESS PLUGINS?

WordPress plugins are pieces of code that create a specific functionality!

These pieces of code within the plugins allow the WordPress core to add or enhance its features!

For example, WordPress does not include the ability to create a contact form. To do this, you can simply download and install a plugin, and in this way, you can have your ready-to-use form!

Over the years, WordPress has become more and more famous, and the number of plugins has grown considerably! This is one of the reasons why WordPress is the most widely used CMS in the world.

Many plugins are free, but there are also some paid plugins that allow you to expand your site with powerful features at reasonable prices.

ESSENTIAL PLUGINS

WP FORMS

This plugin allows us to create a contact form quickly and easily!

First, access the backend of our WordPress site (if you don’t know how, read the previous guides) and click on “Plugin – Add New.”

You will see a screen like this:

Here, go to the top right, in the box “Search plugins…” and type WP Forms.

The search will start automatically, and after a few moments, you should see this plugin in the list:

Now, click on “Install Now.”

After the plugin is installed, you can activate it by clicking “Activate.”

Now you will find yourself at this point:

This plugin makes creating forms a truly simple action! You can follow the guide provided by the plugin itself, and in less than five minutes, you will have your beautiful and functional form!

Next, click on the orange button “Create your first form.”

Now you can click on “Simple Contact Form.” The plugin will proceed to create a basic form. When it’s done, you should see a screen like the following:

On the right is the preview of the form, while on the left, you can add and modify the fields that make up the form.

There is also a paid version of this plugin, but for basic forms, the free version is sufficient.

Now click on “Save” at the top right and then on “Embed.”

After clicking “Embed,” a window like this will open:

What’s written in the dark gray box is a shortcode: a code that allows something to appear within an article or page.

Now, all you have to do is copy this shortcode and paste it into the page where you want your contact form to appear.

After copying the shortcode, close WP Forms (with the X in the top right) and click on “Pages” in the sidebar.

Here, click on “Contact” to edit the page we created earlier.

Now all you have to do is paste the shortcode into the content of the page and click “Update” at the top right.

If we go to view our contact page now, we will see that the form created with WP Forms has appeared inside it!

Nice, isn’t it? You have just installed and used your first plugin!

Let’s see which other plugins we can install to improve our website!

YOAST SEO

This plugin allows you to improve SEO, meaning all those features that allow your site to climb Google’s ranking to be at the top!

Being among the top results on Google is very important and allows you to reach huge numbers. This plugin will help you achieve this goal!

To download it, go to “Plugin – Add New” and in the search bar, type “Yoast SEO.”

Once found, proceed to install and activate it.

In the sidebar, you will see the “SEO” section. Take a look and adjust the fields according to your site.

You will also see a Yoast block at the end of each article, where you can insert parameters specifically for Google related to the post or page.

W3 TOTAL CACHE

To improve your site’s performance, you can install a cache plugin, which helps optimize loading times.

One of the best is W3 Total Cache!

To install it, search for “W3 Total Cache” among the plugins and once found, install and activate it!

Once activated, you will see the “Performance” option in the sidebar.

Go to “Performance – General settings” and activate the cache in this box.

This plugin allows you to go even further, but for now, this should be enough!

Well done! Today, we have installed some of the essential plugins for a website.

Our first WordPress website is now ready to be published! In the next guide, we will publish our site online using completely free resources. You can finally make your work public, show it to friends and family, and boast a little!