I know that this should have been the first of a series of posts on search engine optimization. That’ll come next. Someone asked me when the promised post about WordPress customization on JustFree.com would come, so I thought I’d go ahead and put it up.

Part 3 of the series on JustFree.com and WordPress stopped just after getting WordPress installed and the admin password changed. Since the biggest reason to use JustFree.com and WordPress as opposed to WordPress.com is the ability to use plugins, I wanted to cover how to install WordPress plugins on JustFree.com.

The first step is to pick a plugin to install. There are a multitude of plugins available for WordPress. Do a Google search on “best WordPress plugins” to get half a dozen ten best lists. I’ll use as my example the Redirect plugin. This plugin will make sure that www.example.com and example.com are treated as the same place by the search engines. This is important for search engine optimization purposes.  The plugin is available at http://www.justinshattuck.com/wordpress-www-redirect-plugin/.

Download the plugin zip file. You need a zip utility to unzip the file you just downloaded. If you don’t have one, go to http://www.7-zip.org/ and download and install 7-zip. Then unzip the plugin zip. You should end up with a single file named www-redirect.php. Different plugins will result in different files or even whole directories.

The basic idea with any plugin is to transfer the files that were inside the zip to the proper place on JustFree.com. So go logon to your JustFree.com control panel, and click the File Manager icon along the left. You should see something like this:

The directory named “blog” will be whatever you named your directory when you installed WordPress. Click on the name of that directory to go into it. This is the main directory of your blog. Click on the wp-content directory to go into it, and then the plugins directory to go into it. You should now be at a screen like this:

WordPress comes installed with three plugins by default, which are the two files and one directory you see here. We want to get our plugin files into this directory so WordPress can use them. If your plugin came in a directory structure, you generally want to recreate the same directory structure here. When in doubt read the README.TXT file that came with the plugin.

The Redirect plugin just has a single file we need to put into the plugins directory. So click on the “Upload Files” link. You’ll get three browse buttons. Click the top one and find www-redirect.php, and then click “Upload”. You should now see something like this:

The plugin is now installed. Log onto your WordPress blog as Admin and click on the “Plugins” link on the dashboard. You should see this:

 

Click on the “Activate” link on the far right of “WWW Redirect”. That whole line should now be green, indicating that the plugin is activated. Other plugins are installed and activated the same way. Some will have options under the Options item on the dashboard after they’re activated.

The trickiest part about installing plugins is installing the ones that have entire directory structures. You’ll have to use the “New Directory” link in the file manager to recreate the directory structure, and then upload files three at a time to the right spots (if you know how to use an FTP client, you can do this more quickly, but then you’re probably not still reading this if you do).

This concludes the series on WordPress and JustFree.com. If you have problems getting plugins installed, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to help.

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