LESSON #35: WordPress Themes and Plugins

By | March 18, 2009

(Part 3 in a series of 4)

In the previous two lessons, we’ve been talking about WordPress. Lesson #33 covers getting started with WordPress. Lesson #34 covers several of my recommended WordPress settings. And now we’re going cover the fun stuff!

(Watch this video…)

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Main points:

  • One of the great things about WordPress is that you can instantly change the look of your site by changing the theme.

    -There are hundreds of free themes at: http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/

    -A nice thing about selecting a theme from the WP site, is seeing if it is compatible with the latest version, seeing user comments, etc.

    -Tip: If you intend to do very much customization to your theme, you might want to choose one that is NOT heavily dependent on graphical design.

    -Advanced tip: web designers may submit their own theme to WP’s directory (see guidelines first). This could result in exposure from thousands of downloads and back links.

    -There are also thousands of 3rd party themes for sale and for free.

    The best WordPress theme

  • I like to keep a copy of all of my WordPress themes and plugins on my computer, organized in a parallel structure to that on my website.

  • (See video for demo of installing themes and plugins)

  • WordPress Plugins: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/

    Plugins that I currently use:

    All in One SEO Pack
    Ajax Comments-Reply
    Flickr Photo Album
    UPDATE: I no longer use the ShareThis plugin, and now I use Simple Facebook Like Widget. For more information, see this post about Facebook plugins

  • Adding ads, such as AdSense, to WordPress

    There are three main ways…

    -You could use an AdSense-ready theme (such as an AdSense template, or search the WP themes directory for one)

    -You could use an AdSense WP Plugin, such as Adsense Manager (search the Plugins directory for AdSense). In general, this would be my recommendation.

    -You could add it manually to your theme (for example you could insert your ad code into the header.php, sidebar.php, or single.php files)

    Action steps:

    1) Choose a theme for your WordPress site and install it.

    2) If you’re going to allow comments, activate the Akismet plugin.

    3) Explore the other plugins.

    In the next lesson, we’ll look at how to customize your WordPress theme.

    If you need help, please check out the forums at: http://wordpress.org/support/

    As always, you are welcome to post your questions and comments below 🙂 Feel free to let us know your favorite themes and plugins!

    Have a great day!

  • 225 thoughts on “LESSON #35: WordPress Themes and Plugins

    1. Micah

      Hello Lucy,

      Eric will still be completing 100 lessons. The next lesson will be sent to you soon. You can also visit the following link to see the latest lesson updates and revisit earlier lessons:

      Here is the direct link to lesson 13:

      LESSON #13: Getting a Vision for Your Business

      You may also simply change the number at the end of the link, to go to a different lesson number (example: /lesson1, /lesson2, /lesson3, etc…).

      If your email happens to block some of the lessons, we recommend that you view this tip on whitelisting an email address:

      How To Add a Sender to Your Whitelist (Safelist)

    2. Churchill

      Dear Eric, I would like to say you have a great website, and even though i just subscribe i have been following you for weeks. Do i need to install both “all in one seo pack” and “wordpress seo by yoast”

    3. Mary Jo

      I have not seen unless I missed it, any suggestions for Security Plugins, is it necessary for a website/blog that is not open for comments?

    4. Micah

      Hello Mary,

      Most WordPress attacks come through the comments, so it really wouldn’t be as necessary for you.

      However, I would encourage you to keep comments open in most cases. Comments help foster community, credibility, and trust.

      WordPress also continually puts out new versions to increase security against such attacks.

    5. Keith Reynolds

      Another great update for those who need it! I was wondering why you didn’t list XML SiteMaps plugin or 404 Redirect?
      I use all of the above listed themes on all my blogs, I very fond of All In One Seo, it does everything for you.

      Thanks Again For All That You Do!

      The Cash King

    6. Jorge Garcia

      Eric thanks for your time and valuable information, I am well motivated keep studying and working hard, greetings to you too Micah wish health, peace and prosperity God bless you all his friend Jorge

    7. Michael

      Hi guys,
      I can see from this lesson that it is getting a bit old, WordPress has moved way beyond this version displayed in the lesson-For instance the themes have exploded and those default themes have not been included for at least 3 years….sound lesson though-maybe an update is in order?

      1. Micah

        Hello Michael,

        Yes, WordPress continually releases new updates, but Eric focuses on keeping lessons “Evergreen” by teaching timeless principles.

        We’ll definitely see if this lesson merits an update sometime soon!

    8. Mike

      Putting a title in the All In One SEO pack does not change anything.
      I tired it and wordpress keeps the original tag that you put in the site description when you
      first install wordpress.
      You can change the tag when you go into Settings and then General but I tried changing
      it by editing and scrolling down to All In One Seo and it doesn’t work.

      1. Bookerads

        Hi Eric, I’m preparing to launch a new site, not sure if I should use single page or mini site or a wordpress design. I’d like to make it a membership site teaching effective traffic strategies that I’ve learned and have worked for me in my own online biz. As for design, I was thinking a page with a video player, archive library of my tutorials would work as well as a way to interact with my visitors. Do you know what wordpress theme might work for me? MY domain will be hosted with GVO.


    9. Gordon

      I have been and will always be learning more about the IM space. I have enjoy your presentations. Keep it up Eric

    10. Robyn

      I am building my blog and when I attempt to download Ajax Comments – Reply it gives this warning: This plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

      Is there another comparable plugin I can use in it’s place?


      1. Micah

        Hello Robyn,

        It hasn’t been removed yet, so it may still work just fine. Please let us know if you have any trouble, and we’ll look for alternatives in the meantime.

    11. Marcia

      This warning is posted on the Simple Facebook Like Widget page:

      This plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

      Is it still compatible?

      1. Micah

        Hello Marcia,

        It hasn’t been removed yet, so it may still work just fine. Please let us know if you have any trouble, and we’ll look for alternatives in the meantime.

    12. Marc M. Demers

      Hi Eric,

      The third party app precaution about time down is a nice tip.

      I’ll be aware of uploading too much plugins on my WordPress website.



    13. Troy

      Hello I had trouble getting the API number for the Akismet plug in doesn’t matter how I try WordPress wants to charge me $96 I thought it was free. I followed your direction by going to WordPress.com but it wants to charge me?

    14. Allan Mantaring

      I am following to Eric tips evereday. He always delivering value to his subscriber. I like the way he help everyone in this internet marketing world.

      Keep it up and God Bless.


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