WordPress Training – How to Set Up Your WordPress Plugins

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Now that you have installed all of the necessary plugins for your blog, the next step is activating and setting them up.

AddThis

1) Log into your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the Installed Plugins section. In the AddThis box click Activate. Usually when you activate a new plugin a new link will be added somewhere to your dashboard menu that takes you to that plugin’s page. Some, like AddThis, will provide you with a yellow notification at the top of the screen with information and a link.

2) Click on this link or navigate to your dashboard’s Settings tab and click the new AddThis link.

The AddThis basic settings section allows you to choose from a selection of icon types and set where you want the buttons to show up. This blog has it set to display share buttons before and after each post. Adjust to your liking.

We also recommend that you take a moment to visit their website and sign up for a free account so that you can utilize their sharing statistics. Just click on the link for more information below the icon settings and once signed up return and enter your user info to sync your new account. Your sharing statistics will show up in a module on  the home page of your dashboard.

3) In the advanced settings section you may wish to disable the sharing buttons on some sections of your website. Below is an example of the settings used for this site.

When you are finished press the save changes button at the bottom.

Akismet

1) Activate Akismet.

2) Click Sign up for an Akismet API Key located in the description section for the plugin. Follow the prompts for obtaining an API key being sure to sign up for the personal plan. This plan is free. Fill out your info and choose your level of yearly contribution.

On the confirmation page click on the link to return to your WordPress account. If you miss this link simply log back into WordPress and click on the Akismet notification at the top of the page.

3) Check your email to retrieve your API key. Enter your API key in the space provided and click Update Options. If you ever need to return, your Akismet Configuration page is located under Plugins in the dashboard menu. Your spam statistics will show up under Dashboard – Akismet Stats.

All in One SEO

1) Activate All in One SEO. A red notification will appear at the top of the screen. Click the link to the admin page.

2) Settings:

  • Change the plugin status to enabled.
  • Home Title – Enter the name of your site.
  • Home Description – Enter a description of your site that will show up in search engines. Use keywords.
  • Home Keywords – Enter the keywords you have chosen to target with your site.

You will then come to a series of check boxes. Use the example below:

All in One SEO’s dashboard link will be located under Settings.

AWeber Web Forms

1) Activate the plugin. Click on the link in the red notification at the top of your screen.

2) On the AWeber options screen click the link in step one. This will take you to a login screen where you can link your AWeber account to the plugin (if you have not already created an AWeber account you can do so by clicking the button below).

AWeber

3) Once you have entered your login information copy your authorization code. Return to step two on the AWeber options screen and paste in the code. Click make connection and you’re done.

AWeber will be located under Settings in the dashboard for future reference.

Blog Metrics

1) Activate the plugin.

2) Go to Settings in the dashboard and click on the new Blog Metrics link. There are not any settings to adjust for this plugin. To view your blog metrics stats navigate to Dashboard – Blog Metrics.

Google XML Sitemap

1) Activate the plugin. We are breaking alphabetical order here because it is easier to set up the next plugin if this one is already in place.

2) Navigate to Settings – XML Sitemap. The first box on the XML Sitemap settings screen should say “The sitemap wasn’t built yet. Click here to build it the first time.” Click that link and your XML sitemap will be built automatically.

3) Now scroll down to the box titled Location of your sitemap file.  Under automatic detection copy the detected url (it should be something like http://yourdomainname.com/sitemap.xml). Paste this url into notepad or some other basic text editor as we will need it for the next plugin.

Dagon Design Sitemap Generator

1) Activate the plugin.

2) The first thing you will need to do is create a sitemap page for Dagon Sitemap to use. Now we won’t go into all the details of creating posts and pages right now, just what is necessary to create this page.

Navigate your dashboard to Pages – Add New. The first empty box on the new page screen is for the title. Type Sitemap.

In the page’s body box click on the html tab and copy and paste what you see in the image below, which you can find on Dagon Design’s website under Installation.

Click Publish on the right hand side of your screen.

Depending on your theme you may need to change the page template (right hand side in Page Attributes group) if the sitemap doesn't look right. You will want to use a full width template if possible. Also, remember that pages will not be visible on your site until you add them to the main menu (Appearance - Menus).

3) Navigate to SettingsDDSitemapGen. Find Sitemap Page Slug and type sitemap. This is telling DDSitemap where you put the sitemap code.

4) Next scroll down to the bottom and in the Miscellaneous section you will see Full path to XML sitemap. This is where you paste in that url we copied from the Google XML Sitemap settings earlier. This will place a link at the bottom of your DD sitemap to your XML sitemap.

Disqus Comment System

1) Activate the plugin. Navigate your dashboard to Comments – Disqus.

2) Disqus will ask you to enter a username and password. If you do not already have one click on the link to create a free profile.

3) The instructions are in 3 parts. In the first part simply fill out the information to register. In the second part, settings, just press the continue button to skip since we will be going over settings in a moment. The third section tells you how to install the plugin. Since we have already done that simply return to your WordPress dashboard and navigate back to Comments – Disqus.

4) Now enter the username and password you just created. Continue through the process. When you get this message “Disqus has been installed on your blog”, you have finished the process and need to click on Disqus in the Comments section again to reset the page.

5) Click on the Disqus settings tab:

Under Features you will see some options to configure. When you scroll over each one a help window will explain their functionality. Below are our recommended settings but you can configure them to your liking:

The Akismet API key is the same one we obtained and entered to activate the Akismet plugin. To retrieve it find the email that Akismet sent to you or visit the Akismet settings page.

There is a whole host of other options that can be configured to your liking but it is really just preference. The defaults will work just fine. The one thing you may want to change is under Moderation.

Scroll to the bottom to Flagged Comments. It is a good idea to set this up to email you when a comment is flagged so that you can stay on top of removing unwanted comments from your site.

Easy WP SEO

Easy WP SEO pretty much takes care of itself as far as its settings are concerned but there are a few that you will want to make sure are optimized.

1) Activate the plugin.

2) Easy WP SEO gets its own dedicated tab in the side menu. Navigate to the Easy WP SEO tab and click on settings.

3) Next, in the automatic decoration tab the first option you will come to is decoration type. Make sure this is set to admin-side. This means that the automatic edits that Easy WP SEO makes to optimize your content will be stored in your database rather than being rendered live for each user that visits your site. This should eliminate any lag that similar plugins sometimes introduce.

4) Now simply scroll down and make sure everything you want Easy WP SEO to do automatically is checked (I have them all checked).

5) Now click on the miscellaneous tab. Scroll down to the two options for keyword density. Make sure it looks like the image below. These settings will ensure that you get the most accurate keyword density measurement.

Edit Author Slug

You will only need to use this plugin if you have included a space in your author name (which you probably have since most likely you used your first and last name).

1) Activate the plugin.

2) Navigate to Users – Your Profile. Scroll to the bottom of the page until you see Edit Author Slug. The box will display your current author name. Replace any spaces with dashes and click update profile. Now your visitors will no longer receive an error page when they click on your author name in a post.

FD Feedburner Plugin

A blog feed is simply a way for people to subscribe to your blog posts, much the way we subscribed to the author of the internal link building plugin’s blog in order to get access to the plugin. Feedburner replaces your default WordPress feed with one that has more features.

1) Activate the plugin.

2) Navigate to Settings – Feedburner. This is where you will enter in your feedburner feed but first you need to create one.

3) Visit the Feedburner site (which is just a Google login screen) and enter your gmail login information. Alternatively you can simply visit your Google account settings page and in the products section there should be a link for feedburner.

4) Once logged into feedburner you will see a box to enter your default WordPress feed. Your default feed will be yourdomainname.com/feed. Enter your feed in the box and click next. On the next page edit the title and feed address to your liking. The next page will give you your new feed. Copy it and return to WordPress (but do not close feedburner). Paste your new feed into the box marked Redirect My Feeds Here and click save.

5) Now return to feedburner to adjust your settings. There is a site called Church Mag that has a really awesome tutorial on how to best configure your feedburner settings. Follow their example and you’ll be done in no time.

 Google Analytics for WordPress

1) Activate the plugin.

2) Navigate to Settings – Google Analytics or click the link in the red notification at the top of the page. Leave this page open and visit Google Analytics.

3) You now need to sign up for a free Google Analytics account. Click on the Access Analytics button and on the login screen enter your gmail login info. On the next page click the signup button.

Follow the signup instructions entering your site and admin information. When you reach a page titled Analytics: Tracking Instructions you will notice a box with a long string of code. Normally you would need to manually enter this code into your website for Google Analytics to work. You will not need to bother with this code however as the plugin will take care of it for you.

Click the save and finish button. You will now be taken to your Alanlytics admin page. Now we need to connect your new Analytics account with WordPress.

4) You will see a short code starting with UA- on that Analytics page. Copy this code.

Now return to WordPress. Back at WordPress on the Google Analytics plugin page you will see a large button that says click here to authenticate with Google. This is one way to sync your account but it tends to be a little glitchy. The easiest way is to click on the little checkbox under that button marked Manually enter your UA code.

After checking that box enter the code you copied earlier and click the Update Google Analytic Settings button. You should briefly receive a yellow notification at the top of the screen telling you the settings were updated successfully and you’re done!

When you get a chance revisit your Google Analytics account to get familiar with all of the different statistics they provide you with.

Internal Link Building

1) Activate the plugin. There really aren’t any settings that need to be changed for this plugin. We will show you how to use it in the next tutorial.

Jetpack

1) Activate the plugin.

2) Navigate to Jetpack in the dashboard menu which receives its own heading under the first one. In order to use Jetpack you will have to sign up for a free WordPress.com account. You will not have to use this account for anything else, you just need it to use this plugin. Click the large Connect to WordPress.com button. On the next page you will need to click the link for a new account:

Move along through the username and password setup. Next visit your email and activate your account through the activation link in your confirmation email. You will be taken to your new WordPress.com login screen. You can login if you like but it is not necessary. Now return to the Jetpack settings screen. Click that Connect to WordPress.com button again and complete the process.

3) Now we can get to the settings of this plugin. Jetpack has several different modules and they can all be either activated or deactivated independently. Each of these modules has a Learn More button that explains its function.

You should browse through them and see what they all do. Most of them can be left alone. You can deactivate the Sharedaddy module if you like as we are already using a sharing plugin. To do this just click Learn More and then Deactivate.

If you are using a theme that provides custom shortcodes you will probably need to deactivate the Shortcode Embeds module. This module can critically interfere with other shortcodes.

The WordPress.com stats is a nice feature. It places a new module on the home page of your dashboard that gives you quick important statistics at a glance without going into the depth that Google Analytics does.

MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer

1) Activate the plugin.

2) Navigate to Settings – MBP Ping Optimizer. Once there you will see a registration form. You will need to register to receive email updates in order to use this plugin. The emails are quite infrequent and not a bother at all. You can also unsubscribe at any time. Enter your details and click Register. Follow the instructions that tell you to visit your inbox and click on the link in the confirmation email they sent to you to confirm your subscription. Return to the plugin screen and click the button in step 2 that says verify and activate.

3) Now you should be on the plugin settings page. The update services box should already be synchronized with your existing list. However if the box is empty, which sometimes happens, navigate to Settings – Writing and scroll to the bottom of the page. Copy the update services list and return to the plugin’s page. Paste the list in the empty box and click Save Settings.

You’re website is now set up to only ping update services when new posts are published.

Pretty Link Lite

1) Activate the plugin. There are no options that need adjusting for this one.

Social Media Widget

1) Activate the plugin. This one is simply a widget and does not have any settings to adjust.

What Would Seth Godin Do

1) Activate the plugin. This one is also fine with the default settings. You will find it under Settings – WWSGD.

WordPress Editorial Calendar

1) Activate the plugin. Again, there are no settings for this plugin.

WP-DBManager

1) Activate the plugin.

2) Unfortunately the activation of this plugin causes an error message. You should see an error message at the top of the page that reads Your backup folder MIGHT be visible to the public. It sounds scary but fortunately it is a fairly easy fix.

3) In order to fix this problem we will be downloading a free program called FileZilla. Once on the FileZilla website you will want to click the Client download button.

Download and install the software.

4) Now that the software is installed you need to open the program. In the top left corner of the FileZilla screen you will see 3 login boxes.

  • Host is simply your domain name (exclude http://).
  • Username is not your WordPress username, it is your cpanel username. If you have forgotten your cpanel login information you can find it in the new account information email Hostgator sent to you when you signed up for your hosting package.
  • Password is again your cpanel password.

Once you have filled out the three login boxes click the Quickconnect button.

5) Now that you are connected you will see a bunch of files that populate two side by side windows.

The window on the left contains the files on your desktop. The window on the right contains the files on your website. Follow these instructions exactly.

  1. In the right window pane scroll down and open the folder public_html.
  2. Next open the folder wp-content.
  3. Next open the folder plugins.
  4. Next open the folder wp-dbmanager.
  5. Find the file titled htaccess.txt.
  6. Click and drag this file over to the left window pane (your desktop). This copies the file.
  7. Next look at the window panes directly above the ones you are working with. These allow you to quickly navigate through your files. In the right hand window pane of this upper set scroll up until you see the folder backup-db. It will be a subfolder of wp-content. (see image below)
  8. Open the backup-db folder.
  9. Now, in the lower set of window panes click on the htaccess.txt file located in the left window (the one you moved there earlier) and drag it over to the right window, making sure that you are currently in the backup-db folder.
  10. Rename this file .htaccess
  11. Return to WordPress and refresh the page. The warning notification should be gone. (Also you can delete that htaccess.txt file on your desktop now).

You are done! Great job! That covers the process of setting up all of the plugins we installed, with the exception of Contact form 7, which is really only  a suggestion if your theme does not already provide you with a contact form creator.

We hope that you have found this tutorial helpful and we will see you in the next one.

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