What do Plugins do?

Time to do the do

Plugins do just about anything you’d want to do with your WordPress site. If you want your site to perform a task or change in appearance which your theme or the default WordPress platform cannot accomplish, chances are there is a plugin that will do the deed. And chances are there will be several to choose from.

Your website is a kitchen.

Think of how we do things in a kitchen.  A kitchen is a place where we prepare food and while there is plenty we can do by hand, if we want to do something more efficiently or some specialized food preparation we utilize tools that plugin. If you want toast, your kitchen can’t just make toast on its own, you need to plug in a toaster. The toaster is a plugin. A toaster, blender, refrigerator, microwave, etc. all have one thing in common (besides plugging in), they add functionality to your kitchen. Likewise, WordPress plugins provide needed, sometimes essential, functionality to your website.

 Functions

So when we want our site to do something like provide a email form you install a plugin to provide that function. Or if you want to augment an already existing feature, like adding more option buttons to your visual editor, there is a plugin to do just that. Start thinking of your website not as something that just sits there for someone to look at, but in terms of its function. What does your website do? What can your website do?  How can it better engage with the visitor/user ?

Everything you need is free

Your one stop shopping for free plugins is at  The WordPress.org Plugin Repository. There are over 20 thousand plugins here and you will almost always find your plugin function needs here. If you can’t find what you are looking for, or want something a shade better than what the repository offers, there are several reliable premium (you pay for them) plugins available.

Sometimes free is not free

Should you feel inclined to do a Google search for free-wordpress-plugins, don’t! DO NOT trust any  source for free plugins, other than the WordPress Plugin repository.  You could be inadvertently  importing  malware that could trash your site. There is a real eye-opener article about this practice here: Why you should never search for WordPress themes. This article is about themes, but all the things mentioned in the article can equally be applied to plugins. The point is, when you import a plugin or theme you are importing someone’s code and you want to be sure it is nice and clean. The plugins and at WordPress.org are thoroughly vetted so have no fear in using those.

 

Plugins -further study.

I also recommend the podcast Pugins A to Z for a weekly review of some of the best plugins and also ones to avoid.

 

 

 

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