What Is A WordPress Plugin?

Date2November 30, 2018 category

What Is A WordPress Plugin? Simply, a way to add features to a website running on the WordPress platform. Meaning an enormous range of uses for both users and administrators are only a simple plugin away.

Some of the most popular features offered by plugins include securely handling e-commerce transactions, guaranteeing search engine optimisation, managing mailing lists, and configuring certain types of websites such as wikis, forums, or private portals.

 

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How Do I Use A Plugin in WordPress?

Like most platforms, WordPress treats graphical themes differently from plugins; while both make it easy to add to a site, themes typically deal only with the site’s appearance and feel, whereas plugins typically add a dynamic feature to either the site or the administrator’s dashboard.

However, some plugins do require or at least recommend certain themes that are optimized to handle their features.

Among the thousands of plugins available for WordPress, both free and proprietary ones are available. Many also operate using a “freemium” system, where the basic package is offered for free, but users who are looking for more advanced features must purchase the full version.

Installing a Plugin

Most WordPress plugins can be installed in just a few clicks, through the “Plugins” menu in their dashboard. Through this menu, users can search through the thousands of plugins available, or sort them by categories, and they can use the plugins’ user ratings and number of downloads to ensure they’re downloading the best one.

Many plugins require users to complete some setup procedure, but this is typically organized into a convenient walkthrough. In the event that a user is unhappy with a plugin they’ve downloaded, removing them is as easy as installing: they just click a button in the Plugin menu.

This easy installation and management is part of why WordPress has become so popular; maintaining a powerful website doesn’t require a programming background. Many plugins give users the option to install them manually, but this is considerably more difficult and only appropriate for those who are knowledgeable of web development.

What does a Plugin do?

Plugins could be broadly divided into two categories: those that add features for the website’s visitors, and those that are available only to the site’s administrator through the dashboard. Of course, many plugins fit at least partially into both of these categories.

Every one of WordPress’s thousands of plugins is unique, but certain types are broadly popular across many different types of websites. Some of the most popular types of plugins include those for e-commerce, search engine optimization, and site configuration.

Some of the most popular plugins have been downloaded and deployed thousands of times and power many highly-ranking websites:

Best WordPress Plugins

WooCommerce

WooCommerce can be used to set up an online shop offering virtually any sort of item. After moving through the Setup Wizard and registering with one or more payment services, users can easily create items, sort them into categories for easier browsing, set prices, and add photos and product descriptions.

While Stripe and PayPal are the most popular payment services, several more are available, allowing users to accept orders in all sorts of international currencies.

A convenient button will appear in the Dashboard’s toolbar that allows shop owners to manage their sales and active orders, and they can withdraw funds from whichever payment services they accept any time they’d like.

Though the plugin itself doesn’t require an SSL certificate, virtually all of its payment services do because they handle sensitive data; most web hosting services offer SSL certificates for free, and they are easy to acquire otherwise.

WooCommerce is available as a “freemium” plugin; most of its features are available for free, but certain ones require a subscription, including the option to sell appointment time slots.

Yoast

Yoast is a plugin designed to help users monitor their blog posts’ search engine optimization potential. With easy post, users can enter keywords and see how often they’re used, have the plugin analyze it for its Flesch readability score, ensure that the content doesn’t already exist elsewhere on your site, and add a title and meta description then preview how it will look in Google and social media pages.

Users can also take more general actions to boost their site’s SEO performance, such as creating an XML sitemap and ensuring the site’s permalink URLs are still functional. The plugin is updated every two weeks to ensure that it is built for the latest Google algorithm.

Yoast is also available as a “freemium” plugin; the full version costs $89 per year, and includes support for more keywords per article, a feature to create redirects for deleted pages, access to 24/7 customer support, and a complete lack of advertisements.

MailChimp

MailChimp is an email management system that allows users to maintain a mailing list; while it’s most often used for marketing, many organizations also depend on MailChimp for newsletters and other internal communication.

Launched in 2001, MailChimp predates WordPress by about twelve years, but it has released a WordPress plugin to make it easily accessible.

Like many popular plugins, MailChimp is “freemium,” with its most advanced features reserved for paying customers.

However, even the free service is far more than a simple mail manager, and it offers many impressive features, such as the option to automate messages and a detailed analysis of how many people unsubscribe with each mailing or how much traffic the mailings drive to your site.

Summary: What Is A WordPress Plugin? An Unmissable Opportunity!

The huge depths of the WordPress plugins available, and their easy of use, makes selecting and use one a simple task but with some very real benefits.

A little time spend exploring the options available could be a quick and easy boost to your website.

Good luck!

 

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