Hello and welcome to H&H Color Lab’s video series on how professional photographers can use WordPress to quickly and easily put their studio’s best face forward on the web.
Today’s video is all about using some of the top WordPress plugins to further the functionality of your website. WordPress has a VAST database of free plugins that can extend your site to do almost anything you can imagine. Our video today goes over the 9 plugins we feel are the most essential to a photographer’s WordPress site, so let’s dig in!
The first thing you’re going to want to do is login to your WordPress site. Go to your domain “/wp-admin” and login with your credentials. When you get to the WordPress dashboard, use the menu down the left-hand side to select “Add New” under the “Plugins” option.
From this page, you can search for the plugins by name or keyword or directly install the plugins. If you have the .ZIP file for the plugin downloaded to your computer, just click the “Upload” tab, upload the file and activate the plugin. Let’s go back to the “Add New” page though as it’s a bit simpler and more streamlined to use.
Simply enter in the name of the plugin you’re looking for (I’m going to enter in “Social Linkz” – our fist featured plugin). You’ll now see the search results, find the plugin you wanted and click “Install Now” and verify that you want to install it in the popup. The plugin will unpack and install and then you just need to activate the plugin to get it working on your WordPress Installation.
You’ll go through this process for each and every plugin you want on your site. For the sake of time, we’ve already installed the 8 other plugins we will be featuring in this video as the installation and activation process is identical for each.
So now that each plugin in installed, we’ll show you how to configure and use each one! There are generally two places you can go to configure your plugins: Clicking “Installed Plugins” under “Plugins” and then clicking “Settings” next to the plugin you’d like or finding the plugins name under the “Settings” menu option down the left-hand side.
Social Linkz: This plugin adds any social media icon you can image to the bottom of your blog posts. You can add Like Buttons, +1, Pins, anything you’d like! Just go to the “Installed Plugins” page and click “settings” right under “Social Linkz”. On the “parameters” tab, you can check/uncheck the buttons you would like to appear. Save your options and you’re done! Easy, right?
Google XML Sitemaps: Here’s another easy one. All you need to do is go to the “XML-Sitemap” option under “Settings” in the menu on the left and click the “Click here” link at the top to build the sitemap for the first time. Now your site can be very easily indexed by the search engines!
MP SPAM Be Gone: This plugin makes it harder for SPAMMERS to comment on your blog posts. Simply activate it and it’s ready to go.
WP Super Cache: This plugin helps speed up your site. Go to the “WP Super Cache” option under the settings menu down the left and turn caching on. Your site should now perform considerably faster! This plugin makes all your pages static, so click the “Delete Cache” option in the admin bar across the top of the page after publishing a blog post to serve up the new page instead of the version stored on your server. On rare occasions, this plugin may not work with a theme you are using (it is fully compatible with H&H’s WordPress Themes for Photographers though).
All in One SEO Pack: Go to the “All in One SEO” option under settings in the menu down the left and make sure the plugin is enabled. From here, you can give your website a nice title and description on the homepage for the search engines. The title should be less than 69 characters and the description less than 140. These are important for the search engines in ranking you for keywords. An example title would be “Kansas City Photographer | Wedding Photographer | ABC Photo Studio” and the description should be a sales pitch that’s the length of a tweet. There is also a box for this plugin at the bottom of every page and post’s editor to optimize those for the search engines.
Google Analyticator: To get analytics installed on your site to view traffic stats, select the “Google Analytics” option under setting in the menu down the left and enable the plugin via the drop-down box. You will need a Google Analytics account in order for this to work. Go to your Google Analytics account and find the UID the system gives you and enter it into the field here. Save and your stats will start pulling into Google Analytics.
Mapquest Map Builder for WordPress: After you’ve installed the Mapquest Map Builder you will see a new Mapquest Map button on the pages and posts editor. Click the button to open the Mapquest Editor. Type the address you want to feature on the map and press search. You will see the location you entered displayed on the map to the right. Click “Add” under the search results to add that location to the map. When you have the map looking the way you want, click “Save.” When you view the page, you will see the location you selected featured in a map.
Contact Form 7: This allows you to create contact forms on your website in a relatively simple way. Click the contact option down the menu on the left. From here you can click “Add New” to add a new form. Change the name from “Untitled” by clicking it. You can see it has already created a very simple form for you. If name, email, subject and message are all you need, you can proceed right to embedding the form on the contact page. Otherwise, we’ll show you how to add fields to it.
Click “Generate Tag” and select the type of field you want for the form. Let’s click “Drop Down Menu” to see a trickier one. Enter in the choices you want the visitor to be able to select from one per line in the choices box and then copy/paste the two codes below it into the correct areas. The brown code will go into the box to the left to go into the form on the web and the green text will go in the email body below. You can follow this for each form field type. You can also customize the email the form sends out as well. You can change who it goes to, the subject and the text in the email body.
Once you’re happy with your form, save it and copy the brown embed code. You can take this code and paste it into any page or post to see the form in action.
Black Studio TinyMCE Widget: You can learn more about widgets in our previous video on content editing in WordPress but they allow you to add content your site’s sidebars. The major drawback is that you need to know HTML coding in order to add links and line breaks, which this plugin fixes. Go to the widgets options under appearance in the menu on the left. Drag the “Black Studion TinyMCE into the sidebar area you’d like and type in your content.
There you have it, nine of the best ways to extend WordPress to make it easier to use and more robust. If you’re watching this video on H&H’s Inspire section, be sure to click on the blog post below to learn more about these plugins. Thanks for watching H&H’s video series on WordPress and be sure to tell all your photographer friends about it. We’re going to continue coming out with great themes and how-to videos, so be sure to check back into the Inspire section on H&H often!