WordPress is one of the largest open-source platforms which helps to host your blog.
When it comes to creating a blog, a good content management system is essential.
Most bloggers prefer WordPress because it is very easy to handle this platform. Anyone can use this for blogging, even though you don’t know how to code.
Plugins are one of an integral part of WordPress. Many users prefer WordPress because it is very easy to design your website on this with the help of these Plugins.
If you are new to this platform and wondering what the function of plugins is, then this is a guide that can help you to understand what plugins and its functions are.
First, we can discuss plugins here.
What is a WordPress Plugin?
Now, we can discuss the main topic of WordPress plugins here.
They are known as the building block of the WordPress site. Plugins are specially created application available on WordPress that you can use additional features to your website.
So, we can compare these plugins with your smartphone apps.
You can download plugins if you want to perform a special task. It is very difficult to add extra features to your site because one needs to know to code for it.
The best thing about WordPress is that it offers more than 48,000 inbuilt plugins, you can download to enable any feature. Some of them are free and some others are paid one.
You can download these plugins from WordPress.org plugin directory. There are many external sites available from which you can download plugins.
You can add additional features to your website by downloading the WordPress site. To help you, developers are creating plugins for each function.
You can create any type of site on WordPress with the help of any plugin. You can even download plugins to optimize your site to improve search engine ranking and its performance. Here are some benefits of using plugins
- Live chat with your followers using WP plugins. This can help you to develop a good connection with your follower
- Add social media shatter button at the end of your blog that increases shareability of your content.
This is very essential in social media marketing and you can do this with the help of special WP plugins
- There are many plugins that are useful to improve your site’s search engine optimization. With the help of SEO plugins, you can attract Google’s attention towards your site and get a higher rank.
- While using WordPress your website should be protected. There is a chance of getting hacked and you need to protect your site from all vulnerabilities.
Security plugins are there from WordPress which are designed to keep all those malware away from your website. Download and install them on your site to protect it from external attacks.
- You can create booking forms and email list using some plugins from WordPress. When a site with low budget want to include them, it is easy to get it by downloading the corresponding plugin
So basically, you will get plugins for anything from WordPress. You can choose as many plugins as you wish to add on your site. This will help to increase its performance and features.
If you can use plugins effectively then WordPress is a better platform anyone can use to flourish their blog.
Blogging needs some effort but here if you found a domain name and a hosting platform to store your blogs, WordPress will help you with the rest of the functions.
No need to invest money on external tools for optimization, performance boosting, etc.
How do WordPress Plugins work?
WordPress is like a software program that is designed to perform a feature. What a developer does is to write code to create a plugin that performs a task.
When they create a plugin, they leave hooks and filters that enable them to modify existing feature and add additional features. So, what are this hook and filters?
Hooks are functions or codes that runs when a page load. They act as a code holder.
When you want to extend a plugin feature, you can add new codes to these hooks and improve its function. These hooks are of two types.
Action hook: These are the hook which holds code and runs it when the page loads
Filter hook: Filter hooks are the content changing element and when a code is attached to a filter, you can change your content as you wish.
All WordPress plugins are stored in its database and they can use content types, taxonomies, etc, that can enable users to store any type of data.
The main advantage of this feature is that you can activate and deactivate these plugins any time you want, by visiting your WordPress database.
Prerequisites before installing WordPress plugin:
WordPress sites are safe to use, and it won’t harm users with any dangerous malware. But, sometimes when you use plugins from any third-party source, there is a chance of getting hacked.
So you need to be very careful while using plugins. Here are some important points to check before downloading WordPress plugins.
- There are plugins with bad intentions to attack your site. Make sure you are installing a safe plugin
- If you install a wrong plugin that can cause an error on your site
- Some plugins can slow down your site and affect its performance
- Some plugins are intentionally designed to attack a site
- Check the website directory or source and make sure it is trustable before downloading
- Read reviews from users before selecting a plugin
- Install all its updates immediately and make them up-to-date
How can you find and install these plugins?
Check the plugins available by visiting WordPress.org plugin directory. It will show you all available plugins, that you can download for free.
Another place where you can find them is the admin area. There you can see a plugin option on the left side.
Click on it and search for the plugin name you want. There it will show you plugins related to your search. Choose the plugin you want and click the install button.
Sometimes the result will show a lot of plugins and a new comer will get confused.
They cannot find the plugin they look for from the other thousand of the result.
The best option a newcomer can do is to shortlist the plugins they want before checking for them and download it from the WordPress site.
Steps for installing plugins:
There are free and premium plugins available from WordPress. The installation steps vary for both types. Here are the
Steps to Install free WordPress plugin:
- Go to your WordPress admin panel and there you can find plugin option on the left side
- Then click on ‘Add New’ option near to Plugins on the top
- There you can see a list of recommended plugins for your site. If you found the plugin you want, download it from there
- If you cannot find the plugin you look for, go to the search bar and type the plugin name, there.
For example, Yoast SEO. Just by entering the first few letters you can see that plugin there
- Click on Install button and wait for the installation to complete.
- Now, you need to activate that plugin on your site. After installation completes it asks you to allow the plugin activation.
You can click on’ Activate plugin’. You can see a small message from WordPress on activation of that plugin.
Paid WordPress Plugin Installation:
Free plugins are not available to download from the WordPress admin panel. You can go to any third-party site or plugin market place to download them.
After paying for that plugin, you will receive a zip file of it.
- After getting this zip file you need to go to admin panel
- Click on plugins and select ‘Add New’ option
- There you can see the ‘upload plugin’ option. You need to click on it
- Next window will ask you to select the file you need to upload. Select the file and let it upload.
- After uploading click on Install Now button. The installation will take some time. You can Activate the plugin after it and start to use that plugin on your WordPress site.
Where can I find plugins?
I already told you to check WordPress.org directory to get details about free WordPress plugins available. There are other third- party sites from which you can download plugins.
Some premium plugins may not be available from the WordPress directory. You need to pay for them to use.
This is one of the large WordPress plugin directories you can use to get premium WordPress plugin you want.
There are many third-party app developers who develop WordPress plugins. You can also get the plugin from them.
How to find perfect plugins for your site?
There are many plugins on the WordPress site and it is very difficult to find the best plugins that are suitable for your site.
You can follow some proper steps before downloading plugins to make sure that they are genuine and effective.
1. Compare plugins:
When you see so many plugins under search result, one thing you can do is to open it and read more about its features.
You can see everything about the plugin on the right side. The information includes stars it got, number of downloads, last updated date, app requirement etc.
Below the app name, there will be a small explanation about the plugin and its features. Check this information of all top listed search result and shortlist some of them.
2. Plugin Rating:
Plugin Rating is the next factor to look for. Every app will have a rating and it is given by its users.
You can check the rating of the short-listed plugins and download the plugin with top rating. Many users use plugins without a rating. Some of the best plugins do not even have a rating
3. Plugin review:
Next factor is to check the review from users. When someone uses the plugin, they will write a review about the product to help others. See the opinion of people about that plugin.
4. Support overview:
You can click on the support section and there you can see how many support threads opened and resolved yet for that plugin for last month. This is also a guiding factor of its support efficiency.
Check the plugin version compatibility with your WordPress version. Check whether you WP version is compatible with this app and download if it works well. People can vote on plugins with two options.
One is broken and the other is working. Sometimes they forget to vote on broken one even if it works well. So, check that properly before downloading.
You can check plugin screen shots to know more about its working. They can say how a plugin works with your website.
You can easily interpret them than reading the overview. Try that option also before coming into a conclusion.
How many plugins can I install?
This is a common doubt for many beginners. Many experts say that the number of plugins should be limited as it slows down your website. But that’s not true.
You can install as many plugins as you want but make sure not to download any plugin that may damage your site.
Beginners without any coding knowledge cannot test the plugins and they should be careful while downloading plugins.
Initially it is better to limit the number of plugins on your website. You can add more as you gain your experience and coding knowledge as per your requirement.
This is a complete guide that can help beginners to know more about plugins and how to use them properly.
There are many plugins you can get for your website. The best thing about plugins is they, make your job easy and give you support to improve your website features.
If you want a quality website, choose proper plugins and update them to get good features from it.
WordPress is the popular and free CMS any newcomer can try for creating your own website. Use plugins to make your site more effective.