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Understanding WordPress Plugins: A Handy Guide

No doubt, you probably use a smart phone. What do you do when you would like to access something new on your phone like a new game or tool? Why, simple... you download and install an app! An app, short for application, is a little piece of software that is easy to install and adds new features to your smart phone.

About WP Plugins

WordPressOne of the main benefits of building a website using the WordPress software is that you can quickly and easily enhance your WordPress site's functionality using applications called 'plugins'.

A plugin, much like a smart phone app, is a little piece of software that is easy to install and adds new features or functions to your WordPress installation. WordPress was designed from the ground up to use plugins. They are an important factor in delivering extended functionality to any WordPress website or blog.

A Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

(Just like you can find social sharing apps ...)

A plugin is very much like an app. You install a software application that provides new functionality to your site ...

A Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

(... you can also find social sharing plugins for WordPress!)

Generally, if you plan to add new features to an existing site, additional cost is involved. Depending on the complexity of the feature or enhancements, the cost can be fairly significant, particularly if it involves modifying code.

This also applies when developing a new website. Many businesses often pay for components they probably will never need.

As part of sound strategic business planning, we recommend a sustainable approach to developing a web presence presence and WP plugins are ideal for doing this.

Imagine being able to:

1) Start simply and inexpensively. Get a website up and running quickly, then ...

2) As the need becomes evident, simply add new applications with just a couple of clicks of the mouse that integrate seamlessly with your website or blog, and give your website or blog a whole new and expanded range of practical capabilities, and also ...

3) Cost not a single dollar more to download and install on your website?

Well, that's just what WP plugins let you do!

Plugins - Benefits And Advantages

Earlier, we compared plugins with mobile apps. Just like many apps are free to download and some may cost a little bit of money, the same applies with plugins.

In fact, many wonderful plugins can be downloaded to your website for free.

WP plugins that you have to buy are called 'Premium' plugins. The good news, is that when compared to the cost of investing in web development services to get similar features and functionality on your site, most Premium (i.e. paid) plugins are typically quite inexpensive.

Also, because WordPress makes its code publicly available, any web developer can create, rewrite and customize any portion of the code. This has enabled thousands of third-party software development professionals to enhance the core WP software application.

  • Plugins allow you to start off with only a simple yet professional website and then add new features and enhancements to your site when required.
     
  • WP plugins allow you to add practically unlimited functionality to your site quickly and quite inexpensively.
     
  • Plugins give you almost endless expanding capabilities.
     
  • WordPress plugins allow business owners to have a web presence that they can self-manage.
     
  • Most plugins will normally work "right out of the box" and only require installation and activation to give your web site immediate enhancements and functionality.
     
  • Some plugins can be slightly more advanced and could require some initial configuration.

Plugins - Powerful, Flexible ... And (Many Are) 100% FREE!

Like many WP themes, thousands of great WordPress plugins are made available for WordPress users ... and many of these great plugins are 100% FREE!

You can download thousands of plugins from the Free WordPress Plugin Repository ...

A Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

As mentioned earlier, you will find plugins that can do just about everything you can imagine.

There are WordPress plugins for:

  • User Management
  • Content Syndication
  • Traffic
  • Visitor Interactivity
  • Social Sharing
  • Media Management Automation
  • Improving Sales Conversions And Lead Generation
  • Data & System Analysis Tools
  • Securing Your WordPress Website

You can expand your website with plugins like:

  • Contact forms
  • Quizzes and polls
  • User Surveys
  • Display banners
  • E-commerce1
  • Social sharing buttons
  • Membership sites
  • Newsletter opt-in forms
  • Sales workflow
  • Mobile conversion
  • Improving your website's SEO
  • Image galleries2
  • Customer feedback forms
  • Automatic language translation3
  • Statistical reporting4
  • Custom navigation
  • Customer interactivity5
  • Cloud storage integration
  • Making pages load faster
  • Managing events
  • Business listing directories
  • Automatically sell advertising on your blog
  • Set up client appointments and reminders
  • Manage reservations and bookings
  • Detect broken links and email you reports
  • Redirect URLs
  • Monitor what other sites post about you
  • Make pages available for printing or as PDF
  • Add a site map
  • Hide content from showing6
  • Hide page content
  • Import content from other publishing platforms
  • Perform bulk data replacements
  • Fight SPAM
  • Customize visitor commenting7
  • Inserting HTML/script elements into content
  • Add formatted tables
  • Add animated graphic elements
  • Add advanced text formatting options
  • Create and manage QR codes
  • Improve your local search listings on Google
  • Add a map
  • Publish your posts automatically on social sites8
  • Display countdown timers9
  • Display custom greetings, timed offers, etc.
  • And hundreds of other features!

1From managing single ordering with PayPal buttons, to complete e-commerce stores with online shopping carts, payment processing, recurring payments, discount codes, etc.
2With rotating images, lightboxes, etc.
3You can instantly change your site’s content from English to Italian.
4e.g. the number of visitors, pages visited, keywords searched, etc.
5Contests, live chat, currency conversion, etc.
6e.g. site maps, feeds, etc.
7e.g. displaying Facebook posts, etc.
8Like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and many others.
9For scarcity offers, discount coupons, etc.

As you can clearly see, plugins give you limitless business scalability. If you are planning to build a web site, or your existing website isn't built with WordPress, then consider using WordPress in the future.

In case you're still wondering just how powerful and flexible plugins are, let me show you some practical advantages of adding a plugin to your web site.

For example, if you need content protection, you can install plugins to make an area of your page or post inaccessible, or create a full membership site with customized login details for users …

A Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

As mentioned before, you can use free plugins to enhance your web presence in lots of different ways. From adding new features that can enhance your business, your web users' experience and your understanding of what is happening on your site ...

A Basic Guide To WP Plugins

To increasing your business visibility across social networks and search engines ...

A Guide To Understanding WP Plugins

You can also add advanced functionality to your website using relatively inexpensive paid WordPress plugins. For example, you can set up plugins that automate tasks on your site such as user feedback and event registrations management ...

A Guide To WordPress Plugins

And even set up a custom bookings and reservations system on your site ... all for a small fraction of the cost of paying software developers to create these functionality for you ...

A Practical Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

Additionally, you can take advantage of built-in WP commenting features and plugins that will let you engage even more with your web visitors, clients and registered site users …

A Practical Guide To Understanding WP Plugins

For example, your visitors can:

  • Leave comments on your blog posts (which can grow into online discussions) using either the native WP commenting function, or integrated Facebook comments (which then get displayed throughout the visitors' Facebook pages, providing you with increased exposure).
     
  • Share your content with other web users on bookmarking sites.
     
  • Contact you using contact forms
     
  • Engage online with your team members through online forums or even set up a private social network on your site.
     
  • Engage with your staff using live chats
     
  • Call your business from their mobile phones while browsing your site
     
  • Get help via a dedicated user support helpdesk
     
  • And so much more …

A Guide To WP Plugins

Finally you, can also integrate sophisticated enterprise applications using a WP "front end". This lets you manage the content that your visitors see on your site, while your 3rd-party application handles the technological areas …

A Useful Guide To Understanding WP Plugins

Plugins - Useful Tips

  • There are so many plugins to choose from. Be careful of overloading your server with too many plugins, as this can inevitably affect your website's performance and page loading times. It can also mean more maintenance issues for you as a consequence of possible conflicts.
     
  • Only keep the plugins that you really need to use. Delete any plugins from your site, as these use additional resources.
     
  • Many free plugins typically come with little to no support from the plugin author. When considering paid plugins, we recommend that you do a little research first to understand what kind of reputation the developer has when it comes to offering support, upgrades, new improvements, etc. Be sure to check some of the plugin reviews we publish here for more information.
     
  • If you see that a plugin has not been updated for a very long time (e.g. two or more years), then think twice before installing it. The WordPress core software changes regularly and older plugins that have not been updated can cause conflicts.
     
  • Always keep all plugins up-to-date. Outdated plugin not only can cause conflicts, they may also contain security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers and malware.

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

As you can see, plugins are an integral part of WordPress and contribute to making WordPress the most popular online management solution in the world. Plugins also provide WordPress users with easy, simple and inexpensive ways to expand quickly without spending thousands of dollars on outsourced web development.

One last thing on the subject of plugins:

Whatever functionality you need for your website, you can guarantee that a WP plugin currently exists that will do just what you want, and that this plugin can either be accessed for FREE, or if it's a premium plugin, that the cost will be surprisingly reasonable.

And, if by any chance this plugin has not been created yet, then it can certainly be created for your business at a reasonable cost.

Hopefully this information has given you a better understanding of plugins - what plugins are and how they can significantly to improve your business blog. See our related posts section to learn about more useful WordPress plugins that we recommend using.

Disclaimer: This site is not associated with WordPress or any of the WordPress products reviewed on this site. We may derive a financial benefit from sales of products advertised, reviewed or linked to from this site. All information on this page have been sourced from the plugin's own website and/or from websites that provide Premium WordPress Services

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