Beginners guide to WordPress plugins
Plugins are ways to extend and add to the functionality that already exists in WordPress. The core of WordPress is designed to be lean and lightweight, to maximize flexibility and minimize code bloat. Plugins then offer custom functions and features so that each user can tailor their site to their specific needs.
How many plugins are there?
There are over 36.000 available plugins for WordPress. WordPress plugins can enhance the default settings of your WordPress site, or pack your site full of new features such as eCommerece, advanced spam filters, and many more.
How do you install a plugin?
There are three ways to install a WordPress plugin.
The easiest way to install plugins is in the WordPress admin panel, using the search option. When using this option WordPress offers you an easy way to add lots of excellent and free plugins from the WordPress Plugin directory. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install plugins using this option.
The second one is quite similar. It involves you finding the plugins you want from another source, then using the WordPress admin panel to upload these plugins. This is a bit harder. But, it gives you access to plugins that the WordPress Plugin directory don’t offer. Why doesn’t the WordPress Plugin directory offer these plugins? Mainly because the plugins you can find outside the WordPress Plugin directory might have to be purchased.
The other way to add plugins is to use FTP Manager. This is not for beginners, and complicates the process quite a bit. The main advantage of using the FTP manager is that you get a more detailed look on the plugins and how they are used. We recommend you don’t start with this option.
After using any of these options to install your plugins it’s important that you remember to activate the plugins you want to use.
Is there a downside to using plugins?
At this point in the article it might seem like plugins allow a great variety of features without any cost. Sadly, that is wrong, the cost of using to many plugins is that your site will be straining its servers, and thereby slowing itself down. This makes the loading time for the content on your site longer. Slow loading websites will make a part of the audience you want, either leave your site before they even see your content, or use less time on your site.
Choose the plugins your site needs, and don’t over do it.
How do I find good plugins?
In general finding the best possible plugins for your site will require a bit of research. Here are some good starting points:
- Check the number of downloads.
- the latest update and if it is compatible with your latest version of WordPress.
- Check if the developer has a live support page.
- Look at different plugins which offer the same or similar features.