You may already have heard that the true power of WordPress comes from the fact that you can easily add to its functionality by using any number of pre-built plugins! But what are WordPress plugins? What do/can they do, and how do you use them?
To find out, check out our latest video over on our new YouTube channel.
Take a look:
Hi! This is Topher with WinningWP. In this video we’re going to answer the question “What are WordPress Plugins?” WordPress out-of-the-box is extremely flexible and powerful but it can’t do everything and nor should it. Just because one person wants a specific functionality on the website doesn’t mean that everyone should have to have that. So a plug-in is something that changes or adds to the functionality of WordPress. Now what kinds of things might you want to be doing you may ask? Well there are lots of amazing things that you can add to WordPress. Right here is the WordPress.org plugins repository and as you can see there are over , plugins available for free. Now let’s take a look at some of the kinds of things that can be done. So here are some ecommerce plugins and there are a hundred and one pages like this, of different plugins that help you sell things on your website. WordPress doesn’t do that out of the box but with the plug-in it can. How about forums? Three hundred and thirty pages of different types of forum tools. If we search for community we end up with things that can help you build an online community similar to Facebook. And if we search for forms we end up with these excellent plugins that can help you build a form on your site so that people can contact you or sign up for something. Now you may be asking “How can I install one of these?” Well I will show you, if we go to our WordPress dashboard under plugins, add new. And here are a number of plugins available to you. Now what’s notable is that this information is pulling directly from wordpress.org. This is the same search, so if we search here we get the same results that we got over here on org. So to install one you simply click the “Install Now” button and WordPress takes care of the whole process of going to get it for you, downloading it, and installing it. Now it doesn’t work until you click activate, and there we are. Now there’s a little thing up top that says “Thanks for installing Caldera Forms” and now on the left there’s a new menu item for Caldera Forms. And right here you could create a new form. I already have one called “My Contact Form”. I’ll show you how to add it to a page. Now that I’ve installed the plugin there’s a new button right here. I simply click it choose the form I want and insert form and there it is. If I update my page and then view it there’s my form right on my page. So just like that with a search and a few button clicks I was able to add functionality to WordPress and make it do forms and add a beautiful functional form right on my site. That’s something I want to point out is that not all plugins are free. Here’s an excellent example of one that is not free. This is called Gravity Forms. It’s another form tool but what you get for your money is excellent support and many many features. So if you’re the sort of person they would like to pay money to have somebody on hand available to help you then paid plugins are the way to go. Something I want to caution you about though is downloading paid plugins from a site that’s offering them for free. It’s not that uncommon. You may go to a site that says “click here to download Gravity Forms for free!” Stay away from those kind of sites because they’re very often filled with malware. The reason you’re getting a free version is because they hacked it and they put things in there that you do not want on your website. So if you want a paid plugin go ahead and pay for it. Support the author and get the great support that comes with it. If you want free plugins, stick with wordpress.org. All the plugins on wordpress.org are carefully reviewed and scanned by experts so the plugins that you get here will be safe. So let’s summarize. A plugin is something that adds to or changes how WordPress works. They can be free like on wordpress.org or they can cost money and come with support. Something important to remember is that if you can imagine it, there’s probably already a plug-in for it for WordPress. So if there’s something you want WordPress to do go looking for a plug-in. You’ll probably find something and it will make WordPress work even better for you. If you’d like to learn more about WordPress check out WinningWP.com.
Anything to add? Any must-use WordPress plugins?