Yesterday, I’d never used WordPress and, although I’m pretty IT-savvy, it frankly scared the living daylights out of me!
Today, having been engrossed until 4.30am this morning and then resumed working on this site at every available opportunity during the day and evening (I see another early morning finish looming!), I’m hooked. Aside from all the themes (free ones provided by WordPress and also lots of other – free and paid – ones available out there, you just need to look around and find ones you like) you can choose from, the plugins and widgets are fantastic!
If you’re hosting your WordPress site yourself (usually this will mean having purchased a hosting package to go with your domain), you’ll need access to the WordPress Plugin directory, usually via FTP (File Transfer Protocol), which is a very quick way of transferring files. There are plenty of these available and most hosts and blogs recommend the free one, Filezilla. I found this very easy and quick to download and use. You simply put the FTP address, username & password provided by your hosting provider into the relevant boxes (not shown in image below for obvious reasons, but they’re at the very top of the screen) and then you drag files across from left to right (from your computer to the hosting computer) like you would do in any other Windows Explorer. You can even copy straight across from an open Windows Explorer window!
The plugins are easy to search for via the main WordPress site and all give instructions on how to install, but basically it tends to go like this:
- Click on ‘download’ and then save (usually to your computer’s ‘download’ folder by default but this will depend on your own settings)
- Unzip the folder containing the files
- Upload either the unzipped folder with files & sub-folders, or the .php file (if there’s only a .php file and a ‘readme’ file, then usually you just need the one file, otherwise the whole folder, but the instructions on the plugin site will tell you what you need to upload anyway) onto your site’s WordPress Plugin directory (see screenshot above)
- Go to your WordPress Plugins screen to view Installed Plugins and ‘activate’ the one you’ve uploaded.
- If it’s a widget, you will now find it under Appearance > Widgets to upload to various sidebars (if your theme is widget-enabled)
- Other plugins may appear at the bottom of your WordPress admin panel’s left-hand navigation or in the Settings menu, where you will be able to configure them
- Some plugins are just designed to enable certain features in your theme so you won’t have any configuration to do