On the previous page we ran through the must do configuration settings for your WordPress install. Now we’re going to cover some of the additional things you may, or may not need, or want to configure. I’ll explain the why and when for each item below.
By default the WordPress text editor is pretty limited in functionality. What this plugin does is add the functionality that you would be familiar with in programs like Microsoft word. Here’s a screen shot of what I have set up.
What’s a sitemap? It’s a map of your site and it helps Google index your site. Don’t worry, it’s really easy to do. The plugin I use is called Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps. There are other alternative plugins out there, but the WPengine team have raised some performance issues with them, which is why I’m now using this one. Once installed, go to BWP GXS from the admin menu and click on the link in this sentence in that settings page, page and Nothing here… yet! Try submitting your sitemapindex first!
SEO stands for search engine optimisation and is important for ranking well on search engines like Google. This plugin gives you a whole series of tools to help improve SEO. It allows titles and description to be written for each page rather than Google creating a mish mash of text from your site. It also allows you to connect your site to Google Webmaster tool, a Google Plus account and to also nominate an author. You don’t need to understand all of this right now. Just install the plugin and have it ready.
You only need to follow this step if you have comments turned on for your site. If you are not using your site as a blog then you probably won’t have comments.
Akismet is a plugin to prevent spam on your site. It’s preinstalled with your WordPress install but you’ll need to activate it. Go to Plugins > Installed plugins and click Activate under the Akismet heading. After activating the plugin you’ll see a yellow box at the top of the plugins screen asking you to enter your Akismet API Key. To get your key head on over to the Akismet website. The system works on a donation principle. Whether and how much you donate is up to you. Askimet will send you an email with your key. Copy this key over to the Akismet settings page of your Wordpress install and you’re done.
Many themes will come with a contact form built in, but if yours doesn’t you will need a contact form plugin. There are lots of contact form plugins to choose from, but the easiest one is made by WordPress themselves and is part of their Jetpack collection of plugins (shown below). If you need to have a more advanced plugin then Contact Form 7 is very popular, although it’s admin setup is a little clunky. As a general principle it is better to use a contact form plugin rather than use one built into a theme. This is because if you ever change your theme then you’ll have to rebuilt your contact forms.
Jetpack is a suite of plugins bundled together by the makers of WordPress. The features it provides are site statistics, subscriptions, social media sharing links, spelling and grammar,Vaultpress, Gravitar Hovercards, Contact form, WP.me Shortlinks, Shortcode Embeds, Beautiful Math, Extra Sidebar Widgets, and Enhanced Distribution. They often release new features, so there may be more now since this was written. The ones I find most useful are site statistics and the contact form. To begin, first install the Jetpack plugin and activate it. You will now see a Jetpack notification at the top of the plugins page asking you to connect to wordpress.com. Following this link and complete the free signup process.