WordPress plugins add additional functionality to your website.  Everything from security options to electronic commerce come from installing and using plugins.

There are a few critical plugins for you to install and configure to make your website the best it can be.  We’ll walk through each one here.

JetPack

This is a Swiss Army Knife plugin of there ever was one.  It offers multiple features from adding widgets to providing statistics for your site.  Other plugins also build on top of it to add even more functionality to your site.

Bluehost has already installed this plugin for you.  Simply click the Plugins link in the left navigation panel of your WordPress dash board and you can begin setting it up.

Click the “Set up Jetpack” to get started.

You will be taken to WordPress.com to connect your account to the site and enable Jetpack.  If you do not have a WordPress.com account, you will be walked through the steps to create one.

Afterwards you will be presented with options for which Jetpack package you would like to use.  For this setup we are going with the “Free” option.

Scroll down the page until you see the “Start with free” button.  Click it to continue.

You will be returned to your website and informed that “Your Jetpack site is ready to go.”

Click the “Activate recommended features” button to turn on the most common features of Jetpack for your site.

Repel the Barbarian Hordes! Beat Spam with Akismet Plugin.

The second plugin that is a must have is the Akismet plugin.  It stops spam comments dead in their tracks.  

To set it up go back to the Plugins link in the left navigation panel. This is another plugin that Bluehost has already installed for you.  Click the “Activate” button to start configuring it.

Click the “Setup Akismet Account” button.  Here’s where you can take advantage of one of Jetpack’s features.  You are given an option to “Connect with Jetpack”.  Click that button to continue.

All the default settings are fine.  However, I do recommend you turn on the option to “Silently discard” the most pervasive spam.

Save your changes and you are now protected against comment spam.

Enable Email with WP SMTP Plugin

Email is an essential part of your website’s functionality.  Sending and receiving email messages is still the most commonly used and efficient means of communication today.

The WP SMTP plugin enables you to send email from your website.  It’s a simple plugin to configure, but first you’ll need an email account to connect it to.

Fortunately, when you setup hosting with Bluehost it included email hosting as well.  You just need to create an email account for your website to use.

Setting Up Email with Bluehost

Log in to your Bluehost control panel.  The easiest way to get there from your WordPress dashboard is to click the Bluehost >> Back to Bluehost option in the left navigation panel. 

It should be at the very top.

Click the Email option when returned to your Bluehost dashboard.


Click the “Add Email Account” tab and fill in your email account information.

Click the “Create Account” button to create your email account.  Make a note of the email address and password.

Now you are ready to install and configure the WP SMTP plugin.

Go back to your WordPress admin dashboard and click the Plugins link in the left navigation panel.

This Plugin has not yet been installed.  Click the “Add New” button.  In the “Search Plugins” box enter “WP SMTP”.  It should be the first one in the search results.

Click the “Install Now” button.  Once it is installed click the “Activate” button.

Next you will configure the plugin to use your email account to send mail.  Click on the “Settings” link for the WP Mail SMTP plugin on the list of installed plugins page.

Enter the email address you created above in the “From” email address text box.

Enter a name that will be familiar to website visitors in the “Name” text box.

Select the “Other SMTP” radio button.

In the SMTP Host text box enter “mail.yourdomain.com” replacing “yourdomain.com” with the website domain you registered.

Select the “SSL” encryption radio button.

Make sure the SMTP port is populated with 465.

Toggle the “Authentication” button to the On position.

In the SMTP User Name text box enter the email address you created earlier.

In the SMTP password text box enter the password you set for the email account you created.

Click the “Save Settings” button.

Now test your setup.  Scroll back to the top of the page and click the “Email Test” link. Enter an email address that you can receive email at.  Click the “Send Email” button.  You will receive a message indicating whether the email sent successfully.  If successful, you will also receive a test email at the email address.

Next, it’s time to Pause and Reflect.

Read the previous article in this series, “Let’s Build a Website! – Part Four – Set Up WordPress for your Website

Full Disclosure

Some of the links in this guide are Affiliate Links.  That means that if you use them and then make a purchase, I will be paid a commission.  I only recommend products and services that I use myself and believe will be useful to you.

PS – If you want to get this entire series as an easy to read, downloadable and printable PDF I’ve made it available for purchase. Buy your copy today for only $9.95!

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