1 of the primary attributes of WordPress is definitely the capacity to easily expand your WordPress web site’s functionality using plugins.
What Are Plugins?
Like most of us, you most likely use a device like a mobile phone. What happens when you would like to get into something new on your device such as a new program, game or productivity tool?
You download and install an app!
An app is a little software application that is really simple and easy to install and adds new features and functionality to your smart device.
(Just like you can find social sharing apps for smart devices …)
A WordPress plugin is similar to an app. You install and activate an application that provides new functionality to your website …
(… there are also social sharing plugins for WP sites!)
Generally, if you want to add new features to an already-built website, additional cost is involved. Depending on the complexity of the feature or enhancements, things could get quite expensive, especially if it involves website development.
This also applies when developing a new web site. Businesses often pay for features and options they may probably never need.
For this reason, we suggest a modular approach when setting up your website and WP plugins are ideal for helping you achieve this.
Imagine being able to:
1) Start simply and inexpensively. Get a website up and running fast, then …
2) As new features are needed, install new software modules with a few clicks of the mouse directly from your administration section, to give your website an entirely new and expanded range of useful features, and also …
3) Cost not one cent extra to install on your site?
Well, this is just what a WordPress plugin allows you to do!
Benefits & Advantages Of Plugins
Earlier, we compared plugins with apps. In a similar way that some apps are free to download and some apps may cost a little money, the same applies to WP plugins.
In fact, thousands of plugins can be downloaded to your site for free.
WordPress plugins that you have to pay for are called “Premium” plugins. The good news, is that when compared to the price of purchasing web development solutions to get the same features and functionality on your site, most Premium plugins are priced quite low.
Also, since WordPress distributes its software as an Open Source application, anybody can create, edit and customize any part of the WP code. This has allowed many third-party software developers to create more new tools that “plug into” the WordPress platform than you can possibly imagine.
- Plugins let you get started with only a simple yet professional online business presence and expand as necessary.
- Plugins allow you to add practically endless features to your web presence easily and quite inexpensively.
- WordPress plugins give you practically endless expanding capabilities.
- WordPress plugins allow “non-techies” to have a site that they can self-manage.
- Most plugins will typically work “right out of the box” and only require installation and activation to provide your website with immediate capabilities, enhancements and functionality.
- Some plugins offer more extensive options and require some initial configuring.
WP Plugins – Powerful, Flexible … And (Many Of Them Are) Completely FREE!
Like many themes, loads of plugins are available to WP users … often at no cost!
You can view and download thousands of plugins from the Free WP Plugin Repository …
As previously mentioned, you can find WordPress plugins that will do almost everything you can imagine.
WP plugin categories cover:
- Blog Administration
- Content Distribution
- User Engagement
- Social Connectivity
- Uploading Media – Video, Graphics & Images, Podcasts, Multimedia, etc.
- e-Biz And Online Sales Automation
- Increasing Website Conversions And Lead Generation
- Data & System Analysis Tools
- Optimizing Your
For example, you can expand a business online presence with plugins like the following:
- Contact forms
- Polls and quizzes
- User Surveys
- Managing banners
- E-commerce (from managing single ordering with PayPal buttons, to complete e-commerce with online shopping carts, payment processing, recurring billing, coupon codes, etc â€¦)
- Social sharing buttons
- Private Membership sites
- Newsletter subscription forms
- Sales workflow
- Mobile conversion
- Improving your website’s Search Engine Optimization
- Image galleries (including rotating images, lightboxes, etc.)
- Customer testimonials
- Language translation (e.g. you can instantly change your siteâ€™s content from English to Portuguese)
- Statistical reporting (e.g. number of visitors, pages visited, keywords searched, etc.)
- Custom navigation menus
- Customer engagement – contest, live chat, currency conversion, etc.
- Offline storage management
- Faster page loading
- Managing events & bookings
- Business listing directories
- Automatically sell and manage advertising on your site
- Set up appointments and reminders
- Manage reservations and bookings
- Detect broken links and email you reports
- Redirect website pages
- Monitor what other sites are posting about your business
- Make your pages printable or downloadable as a PDF file
- Add a site map
- Hide specific from showing on areas of your site (e.g. site maps, feeds, etc.)
- Hide post content
- Import data from different CMS applications
- Perform bulk content replacements
- Block SPAM commenting
- Customize guest discussions (e.g. displaying Facebook posts)
- Insert code and code elements into your siteâ€™s header and footer
- Add tables
- Add animated graphics and advanced text formatting options
- Create and manage QR codes
- Improve your local search listings on Google
- Add a map of your business location
- Publicize your content automatically on sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and many others
- Display countdown timers (for special offers, discount coupons, etc …)
- Display personal greetings, timed offers, etc …
- And so much more!
As it’s clear to see, plugins give you virtually limitless possibilities. If you plan to build a web site, or your existing website isn’t built with WordPress, then consider getting one in the future, or you could be missing out on some serious functionality.
If you’re still wondering just how powerful and flexible WordPress plugins are, let me show you some practical advantages of installing a plugin on your web site.
For example, if you need content protection, you can install plugins to make just a couple of paragraphs on your post inaccessible, or transform your WordPress site into a professional membership site with customized login details for every member â€¦
As mentioned before, free plugins can be used to improve your site in lots of different ways. From adding new features that can improve your business, your web users’ experience and your understanding of what is taking place on your site …
To extending your site’s visibility across various social media and search engines …
You can also add advanced functionality to your site using inexpensive premium plugins. For example, you can download plugins that automate tasks on your website like user feedback and event bookings management …
And also set up a custom-branded bookings and reservations system on your site … all for a small fraction of the cost of hiring web developers to design these functionality for you …
Additionally, you can take advantage of built-in WP commenting features and plugins that will allow you to engage better with web visitors, clients and registered site members â€¦
For example, your visitors can easily:
- Post comments on your blog posts (which can turn into online discussions) using either the native WP commenting function, or integrated Facebook comments (which are then displayed throughout your visitors’ Facebook pages, giving your site additional exposure).
- Bookmark your content on various social sites.
- Contact you via contact forms
- Engage online directly with your team using forums or even set up an online social network on your own domain.
- Engage with your support staff via live chats
- Call your business directly from their mobile phones while visiting your site
- Open support tickets
- And so much more â€¦
You can even integrate complex “back end” solutions with a WP “front end”. This lets you control your business sales and marketing, while the 3rd-party application handles the technological areas â€¦
WP Plugins – Some Useful Tips
- There are many WordPress plugins to choose from. Be careful not to overload your site with too many plugins, as this can begin to affect your site’s performance and site loading times. It can also mean more maintenance work for you resulting from possible conflicts.
- Only keep those plugins you really need. Delete any plugins you don’t need from your site, as these utilize server resources.
- Many free plugins normally receive very little to no support from the plugin author. When choosing premium plugins, ensure that you do a little research first to understand what kind of reputation the plugin developer has when it comes to providing support, updates, new features, etc. Be sure to check some of our plugin recommendations for additional useful information.
- If you see that an unsupported plugin has not been updated for a while (e.g. two years), then think twice before using it. WordPress is updated often and older plugins that have not been updated can cause conflicts.
- Make sure to always update your plugins. Older plugins not only can cause errors, they may also have security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers and malware.
As you can see, WP plugins are an important feature of WordPress and contribute to making WordPress the most preferred CMS available. Plugins also provide WordPress users with an easy, simple and inexpensive way to add new functionality to their web presence without having to spend thousands of dollars on web developers.
One last thing regarding WordPress plugins:
Whatever feature or functionality you need for your website, you can be sure that a someone has probably already created one that will do just what you need, and that it will either be available for FREE, or if it’s a premium plugin, that the price will be reasonable.
And, if by any chance such a plugin has not been created yet, then one can probably be developed for you for a reasonable price.
Hopefully now you have a better understanding of WordPress plugins – what plugins are and how they can help improve your website. See our published posts to learn about more popular WordPress plugins that we recommend using.
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