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What are WordPress Plugins?

Every WordPress website has plugins. They are bits of software that add extra functionality to your site, allowing it to do as much as you need it to. They let you customise your WordPress website to exactly how you need it. Plugins are a bit like apps – you simply add the ones you want.

What Do Plugins Do?

In 2021, 433 million of the world’s 1.3 billion websites were WordPress sites. That’s about a third. Imagine if all those sites looked the same and worked in exactly the same way. Boring, right? But customise the look of the website, and even better, the functionality, and every website can be unique. And that’s the beauty of plugins. Want to add a shopping function? There’s a plugin for that. Love to be able to take bookings on your website? There’s a plugin for that.

Are There Plugins for Everything?

Pretty much, yes. There are more than 59,500 WordPress Plugins. And they cover everything from email form building to online security to SEO, plus all the stuff between. They can even add one small feature, such as an image to a side bar. You can find them all in WordPress as well as when they were last updated, reviews and current user numbers. This will let you see how popular they are. What if you can’t find the exact plugin you want? Because WordPress is such a versatile and well know platform, a developer will be able to write one for you.

Are Plugins Free of Charge?

There are thousands of free plugins as well as premium – those you pay for. The benefit of paid for plugins is that they come with support. The advantage of this is that, although WordPress plugins generally play nicely together, there may be occasions when some don’t rub along very well and cause site problems (coding compatibility, we all know what that’s like). In this case, there’s support on hand to sort it for you.

How Do You Find and Install Plugins?

You can find Plugins in your WordPress dashboard in your admin area. There is a search function to help you narrow down what you want. From there you can see all those within your category. They’re easy to install and keep updated and simple to activate or deactivate. This will only show you the free plugins. If you can’t find what you want amongst the free offerings, try searching for reviews and recommendations.

Which Plugins Do We Recommend?

This depends on what you want from your plugin! Three of our favourites are:

  • WooCommerce: build your own custom online store and sell digital or physical products direct from your website
  • Yoast: in short, this makes SEO simple and help to get your content ranked higher in online searches. As you create your content, Yoast scores it, letting you know if it’s good, or if it needs some more work
  • Jetpack: the top rated and recommended plugin to help with your website marketing, design and security. It also allows you to integrate your social media and check your site stats. A really useful plugin!

If you need any help with your WordPress plugins, from knowing which ones you need to making sure they’re up to date, give the EngineRoom team a call.

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