How To Install WordPress Plugins Via The WordPress Dashboard

Learn how to install and active plugins on your WordPress site via the WordPress dashboard.

How To Install WordPress PluginsBecause WordPress is distributed as free Open Source software, its code can be extensively modified and customized by software developers to create an almost unlimited number of functional applications, add-ons, and enhancements to the software.

These applications are called plugins. Plugins provide additional functionality for your WordPress site and most work seamlessly and natively with the WordPress platform. Thousands of free or low-cost WordPress plugins are available to help expand the functionality of your WordPress site. Best of all, most plugins will instantly extend, enhance, and add new capabilities to your WordPress site with only a couple of clicks and no technical skills required to configure or use these.

If there’s something you want your WordPress site to do, the chances are that someone has probably already created a plugin that will do this for you.

To learn more about WordPress Plugins, see the tutorial below:

To learn about many useful and essential WordPress Plugins, see the training module below:

In this tutorial, you will learn how to install and activate WordPress plugins from your WordPress dashboard using various plugin installation options.

How To Install WordPress Plugins

As you will see shortly in the section below, there are several options for uploading and installing free plugins automatically in WordPress, whereas installing paid plugins is normally done by manually downloading the plugin from the vendor’s site to your hard drive first, and then uploading and installing it on your site using the Upload method described below.

Installing WordPress Plugins On Your Site Via The WordPress Dashboard: Step-By-Step Tutorial

Log into your WordPress admin section, then scroll down your WordPress admin menu and click on Plugins > Add New

WordPress Plugins Menu - Add New

(WordPress Plugins Menu – Add New)

You will be taken to the ‘Add Plugins’ section …

Add Plugins screen

(Add Plugins screen)

You can also access the ‘Add Plugins’ section by clicking on Plugins > Installed Plugins …

WordPress Plugins Menu - Installed Plugins

(WordPress Plugins Menu – Installed Plugins)

And clicking on Plugins > Add New …

Plugins - Add New

(Plugins – Add New)

There are several ways you can install WordPress plugins automatically on your site:

  • Upload method
  • Search method
  • Featured method
  • Popular method
  • Recommended method
  • Favorites method

Add Plugins area options

(Add Plugins screen options)

Let’s go through each of the plugin installation options available on this screen.

How To Install WordPress Plugins – Upload Method

If using the Upload method, make sure that you have downloaded a zipped version of the WordPress plugin you are planning to install on your site. This can either be a free WordPress plugin from the WordPress Plugin Directory or a premium plugin that you have purchased from a plugin vendor online …

Make sure that you have the plugin you plan to upload to WordPress ready

(Make sure that you have the plugin you plan to upload to WordPress ready)

help If you need a file compression and extraction utility (to create and extract zip files), go here:

redarrow WinZip

After downloading the WordPress plugin file to your hard drive, you can upload and install it on your site using the built-in Upload feature in WordPress.

Go to the ‘Add Plugins’ screen and click on Upload Plugin in the top menu section …

Add Plugins - Upload Plugin

(Add Plugins – Upload Plugin)

Click on ‘Choose File’ …

Add Plugins - Choose File

(Add Plugins – Choose File)

Locate and select the file you want to upload to your WordPress site and click Open

Use the file uploader to locate your plugin file

(Use the file uploader to locate your plugin file)

After your file has been uploaded to WordPress, click Install Now

Add Plugins - Install Now

(Add Plugins – Install Now)

If your upload is successful, you will see a ‘Plugin installed successfully” message …

Your plugin has installed successfully!

(Your plugin has installed successfully!)

Important

If the plugin file already exists in your WordPress plugins folder, you will get a “Plugin install failed” message …

Plugin Installation Failed

(Plugin Installation Failed)

The plugin file may already exist in your WordPress plugins folder because:

  • It was previously installed, and
  • The plugin may have been deactivated, but its files have not been removed.

To learn how to delete a plugin, see the tutorial below:

Once your plugin has been successfully installed, click on the Activate Plugin link to enable it …

Activate Plugin

(Activate Plugin)

Your plugin is now active …

Plugin Activated

(Plugin Activated)

You can also activate a plugin by going into the ‘Plugin’ screen and clicking on the Activate link in the menu displayed below the plugin name …

Activate Plugin

(Activate Plugin)

How To Install WordPress Plugins – Search Method

You can search free WordPress plugins listed in the WordPress Plugin Directory and install them into your WordPress site using the Search feature. It helps if you know what plugin you are looking for, otherwise just type in a general search phrase or keyword.

Tip

If you search for plugins in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory, you can narrow down your search further using filters (Keyword, Author, Tag) …

WordPress.org - Filtered Plugin Search

(WordPress.org – Filtered Plugin Search)

If searching for plugins inside the WordPress dashboard, go to the ‘Add Plugins’ screen. The Search Plugins field is located next to all of the other installation options …

Add Plugins - Search Method

(Add Plugins – Search Feature)

Type a search term into the Search field and hit Enter …

Enter your search term to find a plugin

(Enter your search term to find a plugin)

Find the plugin you would like to install from the ‘Search Results’ list and click on the Install Now button to install the plugin into your WordPress site …

Add Plugins - Search Results

(Add Plugins – Search Results)

The plugin will begin installing. After your plugin has installed successfully, click on Activate Plugin to enable the plugin …

Install and activate your plugin

(Install and activate your plugin)

Useful Information

Finding and installing WordPress plugins using the Featured, Popular, Recommended, and Favorites methods all follow the same process.

Let’s take a look at these plugin installation methods …

How To Install WordPress Plugins – Featured Method

You can install plugins on your WordPress site using the Featured method. The Featured option is selected by default when you arrive on the Add Plugins area …

Add Plugins - Featured Plugins

(Add Plugins – Featured Plugins)

A list of featured plugins from the WordPress Plugin Directory is returned in your screen. Select the plugin you want to install and click on the Install Now button to install the plugin on your WordPress site. Follow the process described earlier to activate your plugin.

How To Install A WordPress Plugin – Popular Method

You can install plugins on your WordPress site using the Popular option. Go to the ‘Add Plugins’ area and click on Popular from the options menu …

Add Plugins - Popular Plugins

(Add Plugins – Popular Plugins)

A list of plugins voted by users as being the most popular on the WordPress Plugin Directory is returned in your screen. Select the plugin you want to install and click on the Install Now button to install the plugin on your WordPress site. Follow the process described earlier to activate your plugin.

How To Install WordPress Plugins – Recommended Method

You can install plugins on your WordPress site using the Recommended option. Go to the ‘Add Plugins’ screen and click on Recommended from the options menu

Add Plugins - Recommended Plugins

(Add Plugins – Recommended Plugins)

A list of suggested plugins that other WordPress users have installed on their sites is returned in your screen. Locate the plugin you want to install and click on the Install Now button to install the plugin on your WordPress site. Follow the process described earlier to activate your plugin.

How To Install A WordPress Plugin – Favorites Method

You can install “Favorite” plugins into your WordPress site using this option. The Favorites feature allows WordPress users to share their favorite free WordPress plugins with other users …

Add Plugins - Favorites

(Add Plugins – Favorites)

Practical Tip

The Favorites feature is useful if you perform multiple WordPress installations, as it allows you to access all of the plugins you would normally add to each new WordPress installation you perform.

To access this feature, you must have an account set up with WordPress.

To set up a Free WordPress account, go here:

Once you have set up your WordPress account, you will be able to log into the WordPress.org site …

(Set up a free account at WordPress.org)

Once you’re logged into your WordPress.org account, click on My Favorites

WordPress.org - My Favorites

(WordPress.org – My Favorites)

This will take you to your Profile section …

WordPress.org - Your Profile section

(WordPress.org – Your Profile section)

While you are logged into the WordPress.org site, you will see a ‘Favorited’ link displayed below the download buttons of all plugins listed in the WordPress Plugins directory …

Installing WordPress Plugins

Click on the ‘Favorited’ links of the plugins (and themes) you like …

Favorite any plugins you like

(Favorite any plugins you like)

This adds the plugin to the ‘Favorites’ section in your WordPress.org profile …

Your Favorite Plugins

(Your Favorited Plugins)

As you add more favorited plugins, these will get added to your profile …

Your Favorites

(Your Favorites)

Once you have favorited plugins in your WordPress.org account, you (and anyone else) can access these plugin, by going to Add Plugins > Favorites, entering your (or another user’s) WordPress.org username, and clicking the ‘Get Favorites’ button …

Add Plugins - Get Favorites

(Add Plugins – Get Favorites)

This returns a list of all plugins that you or someone else has marked as a “Favorite” in the WordPress Plugin Directory …

Favorite WordPress Plugins

(Favorite WordPress Plugins)

Select the plugin you want to install and click on the Install Now button to install the plugin on your WordPress site. Follow the process described earlier to activate your plugin.

Practical Tip

For a list of our favorite free WordPress plugins, log into your WordPress dashboard, go to Add Plugins > Favorites and enter username wptrainme into the username field.

Activating Multiple Plugins

If you have installed several plugins in a row but have not activated these yet, you can activate these all at once.

To activate multiple plugins simultaneously, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins …

Plugins Menu - Installed Plugins

(Plugins Menu – Installed Plugins)

Click on the ‘Inactive’ link on the menu at the top of your screen …

Plugins - Inactive

(Plugins – Inactive)

Click on the main checkbox next to the ‘Plugin’ column header to select all plugins at once (deselect individual plugins that you do not want to activate), or individually select plugins that you would like to activate …

Select All Plugins

(Select All Plugins)

In the Bulk Actions drop-down menu, select Activate (1) and then click Apply (2) …

Bulk Actions Menu - Activate and Apply

(Bulk Actions Menu – Activate and Apply)

Your selected plugins will be activated …

Selected plugins activated

(Selected plugins activated)

Congratulations! Now that you know how to install and activate plugins via the WordPress administration area, there is no limit to how far you can extend and enhance the functionality of your WordPress site.

Discover great plugins that will help to extend the functionality of your WordPress site and learn how to install, configure, and use essential WordPress plugins in this training module:

How To Install WordPress Plugins

(Source: Pixabay)

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"I am beyond impressed with what you have put together. I can tell that you put a ton of hard work into building what you have. You have the absolute best content on WordPress I have ever seen!" - Robert T. Jillie

***

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Learn how to update and delete WordPress plugins inside your WordPress dashboard …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins SafelyIn a separate post, we provide a detailed explanation of what WordPress plugins are about and how you can use plugins to easily add new features or functionality to your blog without editing code.

You can read this article here:

In this tutorial you will learn why plugins need to be kept up-to-date, how to easily update and remove your WordPress plugins, and useful tips to help you better manage your plugins if you plan to run multiple WordPress sites.

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Why Your WordPress Plugins Need Updating

New WordPress versions are constantly being released (about every 3-4 months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities discovered in earlier versions, as well as to improve existing features.

Depending on how many plugins you use on your site, you can expect to see at least some new new update notices for WordPress plugins whenever WordPress releases a new version.

This is because most plugins for WordPress are created by external developers, so sometimes code or features in the newly-released WordPress version conflict with plugins that were built for a previous version. Whenever this happens, there is a potential for conflicts to sometimes develop.

Fortunately, most WordPress plugin developers (and the WordPress developer community itself) are very proactive when it comes to making sure that plugins get updated when a new version of WordPress is released (if updating is required). All you need to do as a website owner, is simply keep your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon learn, is very easy to do.

Important Info

Keeping your WordPress plugins up-to-date and deleting old plugins you no longer use is an essential aspect of good WordPress site management and helps to avoid problems and errors.

The WordPress step-by-step tutorial below explains how to upgrade and delete plugins from the dashboard with no web coding knowledge or skills required.

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress – Tutorial

WordPress uses a number of different ways to inform users when plugins need updating.

For example, you can instantly see how many plugins are out-of-date as soon as you log into your Admin area just by looking at the “Plugins” menu.

For example, in the screenshot below, 9 plugins need to be updated …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Inside The Dashboard

You can also tell how many plugins need updating from your WordPress Toolbar (as shown below, a number of plugins have to be updated) …

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins In The Dashboard

The Plugins section (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also lets you know which plugins need updating …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

In addition to providing information about which plugins have available updates, the Plugins section provides links to the plugin developer sites and gives you the option to update the plugin with one-click …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Let’s start by learning how to update one plugin at a time.

Update WordPress Plugins One At A Time

Warning

We recommend performing a full backup of your data and files before upgrading your blog or website.

In your admin menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

The “Plugins” section will display in your browser. The page can be quite long depending on how many plugins you have installed on your site …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins

(WordPress Plugins Page)

Useful Tip

Useful Information:

If you have too many plugins installed and would like to make this section more manageable, then click on the Screen Options tab at the top of your Plugins screen and enter a smaller number of items per page (all plugins show up on the page by default), then click the ‘Apply’ button …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your WP Dashboard

Your Plugins page will now be made more manageable with a pagination feature added. You can find an installed plugin by scrolling through the pages or using the “Search Plugins” field …

How To Update And Delete Plugins In WordPress

You will see information about plugins in different color backgrounds depending on the status of your plugins (active vs. inactive and up-to-date vs. out-of-date) …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely From Your WP Admin Dashboard

Plugins in need of upgrading have a distinctive notification message: “There is a new version of [Insert Plugin Name] available”

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Inside The Dashboard

Select the plugin that needs to be updated and click on the update now link …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

WordPress has done away with the loading screen when updating plugins and streamlined the plugin update process, so that the process of updating your plugins takes place with just “one click” without leaving your Plugins screen …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

Repeat this process for any other plugins on your site that need to be updated, or see the section below if you have a number of plugins that are out-of-date and would like to update them all in one simple operation.

***

Now that you know how to update one plugin at a time, let’s show you how to upgrade a bunch of WordPress plugins simultaneously.

Bulk-Upgrading Plugins

To bulk-upgrade WP plugins simultaneously from your admin area, go to the “Plugins” section and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Tick the check box next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins at once, or select only the plugins you want to update by checking its box …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

In the Bulk Actions pull-down menu above your plugin table, select Update

Updating And Deleting Plugins In The WordPress Admin Dashboard

Click Apply

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Your selected plugins will automatically begin to update …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Inside The Dashboard

After your plugins have been updated, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to go back to your Plugins screen, or choose another section of your dashboard …

How To Automatically Update And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

Once all plugins are up-to-date, any plugin alerts disappear (i.e. the “at-a-glance” indicators and “There is a new version of XYZ plugin available” messages no longer display on your screen, toolbar and menus) …

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

All plugins are now up-to-date!

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

(When your site uses the latest version of all plugins, update icons disappear)

Now that you know how to upgrade plugins, let’s take a look at how to safely delete plugins safely from your WordPress site.

How To Remove WP Plugins

As part of good WordPress management practice, it’s a good idea to delete plugins that are no longer needed or being used on your site. This can help to decrease server resources and also will help you avoid potential problems.

In this section, we show you how to remove unused plugins from your WordPress site.

Warning

Always create a full back up of your site before installing, upgrading or deleting plugins, in case something goes wrong and you need to recover data or reinstall your site.

To remove a plugin, go to your main menu and select Plugins > Installed Plugins

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

In the Plugins section, find the plugin you want to delete and make sure it is inactive.

Hint: Inactive plugins appear in a different colored background than active plugins and display an “Activate” link below the plugin name …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely

If the plugin is active, then click on Deactivate before going any further …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

Next, click Delete

Updating And Deleting Plugins

If you would like to have a look at all the files that will be deleted before proceeding, then click on the “Click to view entire list of files which will be deleted” link in the “Delete Plugin” section …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In Your WordPress Admin Dashboard

All files associated with the plugin selected for deletionwill display on your screen …

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

If you are absolutely sure about going ahead and deleting these plugin, then click on the Yes, Delete these files button …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The Dashboard

The selected plugins and related files will be deleted from your server …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

How To Delete Several Plugins Simultaneously

You can bulk-delete all inactive plugins, or select a combination of active and inactive plugins to be deleted.

Important

Note: To delete any plugins that are presently active, you must first deactivate them.

Go to the “Plugins” section and select all of the active plugins that you want to delete by either placing a tick next to their checkbox, or selecting the check box next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins (warning: this will deactivate all plugins) …

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

Once you have done this, specify Deactivate from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

Click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins Inside Your WordPress Dashboard

Your selected plugins will be deactivated …

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins In The Dashboard

Once you have deactivated these plugins, click on the Inactive link on the menu at the top of the page …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Select all of the plugins you want to delete by either placing a tick next to their check box, or click on the check box next to the Plugin column header to select and delete all inactive plugins …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

Once you have ticked all the check boxes next to the plugins that you want to delete, choose Delete from the Bulk Actions drop-down menu …

Updating And Deleting Plugins From The WP Dashboard

Click Apply

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely From Your WP Dashboard

A list of all selected plugins will be displayed in the Delete Plugins screen. Click on “click to view entire list of files which will be deleted” to review all the plugin files that you are about to delete, or click on the Yes, Delete these files button if you are absolutely certain that you want to proceed to the next step and delete all of the selected plugins …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

All plugins will be deleted and their associated files will be removed from your server …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

Plugin Management – Tools

In addition to the methods shown above, you can use WordPress plugins to manage your plugins.

PLUGIN CENTRAL

Plugin Central - WordPress Plugin

Plugin Central improves the management of your plugins with features that let you install plugins directly, displays the status of plugins in need of update in your Admin area and also allows you to update multiple plugins with a single click of the mouse …

Plugin For WordPress

To learn more about this plugin, visit the plugin site:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

As discussed earlier, when a plugin update is released, the best practice is to upgrde that plugin to its latest version as soon as possible.

What if you run multiple WordPress sites using the same plugin? Normally, you would need to login to your sites one by one and then update the plugin manually from that site’s dashboard. If you own or manage multiple sites, this process can take quite a while!

WordPress Power User Tip: If you own multiple WordPress sites or blogs, you can install, upgrade and delete plugins on multiple sites automatically and simultaneously using a number of WordPress management tools.

Below are just some WordPress management tools you should check out:

Jetpack

Jetpack Manage

The Jetpack plugin is a single WordPress plugin that provides users with a powerful range of features, allowing self-hosted WordPress site owners to benefit from WordPress.com’s infrastructure and take advantage of things like stats reporting, automated social sharing, and many other features.

Jetpack Manage - Single WordPress Dashboard Management

(The Jetpack Plugin lets you access a range of powerful WordPress features)

One of these features is “Jetpack Manage”.

Jetpack Manage allows you to manage multiple WordPress sites from a central dashboard.

With Manage, you can upgrade plugins, set plugins to update automatically, and activate or deactivate plugins on a site-by-site basis or in bulk, whether you’re on your computer, tablet, or smart phone.

For more information about the plugin, go here:

ManageWP.com

ManageWP.com

(ManageWP is a very popular WordPress management tool for multiple WP sites)

ManageWP helps you easily manage all of your sites and blogs from one dashboard, including upgrades, backups, security and more. This application features easy one-click management and instant login access to your sites.

Visit this site to download and use this plugin:

WP Pipeline – WordPress Mass Control Plugin

WP Pipeline

(With WP Pipeline, you can update all of your WordPress sites, plugins and themes from a central location)

WP Pipeline is very similar to ManageWP, but sells for a one-time purchase fee instead of recurring payments. It lets you control and organize your entire portfolio of WordPress sites and perform multiple updates from a central dashboard.

To download and use the plugin, visit this site:

Congratulations! Now you know how to automatically update and delete plugins safely inside your WordPress admin dashboard without touching web code.

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"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group

WordPress Plugins Explained

This tutorial explains what WordPress plugins are, how plugins work and how plugins help WordPress users extend their website’s functionality. 

Get Thrive Leads for WordPress

WordPress Plugins - Expanding Your Blog's FunctionalityOne of the most useful features of the WordPress software is that you can quickly enhance your WordPress site’s functionality using plugins.

What Are Plugins?

No doubt, you most likely use a smart phone. What happens when you would like to access something new on your phone like a new game or a business productivity tool?

Why, simple … you download and install an app!

An app is a little software application that is really simple and easy to install and adds new features to any mobile phone.

A Guide To Understanding WP Plugins

(Just like there are social sharing apps for mobile phones …)

A WordPress plugin is quite similar to an app. You install and activate a software application that provides new functionality to your website …

A Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

(… you can also find social sharing plugins for WordPress sites!)

Typically, if you want to expand the functionality of an already-built web site, additional cost is involved. Depending on how complex the features or enhancements are, this could become fairly expensive, particularly if it requires programming code.

This is also applicable to setting up a website. Business owners will often spend money upfront on extra features or options they probably will never need.

For this reason, we recommend using a modular approach to setting up a presence online presence and WP plugins are ideal for doing this.

Imagine being able to:

1) Start simply and inexpensively. Get a professional web site up and running quickly, then …

2) As new features become necessary, just add new applications with a few clicks of the mouse directly from within your WordPress administration panel, giving your web site a completely new range of useful features, and …

3) Cost not a single cent extra to download and install on your site?

Well, this is exactly what a WP plugin enables you to do!

WP Plugins – Benefits

Earlier, we compared WordPress plugins with ’apps’. Just like some apps are free to download and some may cost a little money, the same is true for WordPress plugins.

In fact, loads of wonderful plugins can be downloaded to your site for free.

Plugins that you purchase are called Premium plugins. The good news, is that when you compare it to the cost of paying for professional web development services to add similar features and functionality on your site, most Premium (i.e. paid) plugins are priced quite low.

Also, as WordPress makes its code available to everyone, any person can create, rewrite and customize any portion of the code. This has allowed thousands of professional web developers to enhance the core WordPress software application.

  • WP plugins allow you to get started with only a basic web site and add new features and enhancements to your site only as required.
  • WordPress plugins allow you to add practically endless features to your web site quickly and quite cheaply.
  • Plugins give you virtually unlimited expansion capabilities.
  • WP plugins allow business owners to have a site that they can fully manage.
  • Most plugins will work “right out of the box” and only require installation and activation to provide your web site with new capabilities and functionality.
  • Some plugins can be a little more complex and may need some initial configuration.

Plugins – Powerful, Flexible … And (Often) 100% FREE!

Like many WordPress themes, loads of WP plugins are available for WordPress users … often at no cost!

You can download thousands of plugins from the Free WordPress Plugin Repository

A Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

As mentioned earlier, you can find WordPress plugins that will do just about anything you could think of.

Plugin categories cover:

  • Blog Administration
  • Content Management
  • Traffic
  • User Engagement
  • Social Media
  • Inserting Media – Video, Graphics, Audio, Multimedia, etc.
  • e-Biz And Online Sales Automation
  • Increasing Website Conversions And Lead Generation
  • Data & System Reporting Tools
  • Securing Your WordPress Site

You can enhance a business online presence with plugins like the following:

  • Contact forms
  • Polls and quizzes
  • Social contests
  • Display advertising banners
  • E-commerce (from managing single-item ordering with PayPal buttons, to enterprise scale e-commerce stores with online shopping carts, payment processing, recurring payments, discount codes, etc …)
  • Social sharing buttons
  • Membership sites
  • Newsletter subscription forms
  • Sales workflow
  • Mobile conversion
  • Improving your site’s SEO
  • Image galleries (including rotating images, lightboxes, etc.)
  • Customer testimonial forms
  • Language translation plugins (e.g. you can instantly change all content on your pages from English to Norwegian)
  • Statistical reporting (e.g. number of visitors, pages visited, keywords searched, etc.)
  • Custom navigation menus
  • Customer interactivity – contest, live chat, currency conversion, etc.
  • Media management
  • Faster page loading
  • Event management
  • Business listing directories
  • Automatically sell and manage advertising on your site
  • Set client appointments and appointment reminders
  • Help customers make reservations and bookings
  • Detect broken links on your pages and send you reports
  • Redirect website pages
  • Monitor social signals
  • Make your pages available for printing or downloading as PDF
  • Add a site map
  • Hide specific from showing on areas of your site (e.g. site maps, feeds, etc.)
  • Protect page content sections
  • Import information from different CMS platforms
  • Perform bulk data replacements
  • Block SPAM
  • Customize visitor discussions (e.g. display Facebook discussions)
  • Inserting scripts and code elements into your content
  • Add formatted tables
  • Display animated graphic elements and advanced font display formatting options
  • Create and manage QR codes
  • Improve your local search listings on Google
  • Add location maps
  • Post your content automatically on social pages like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, StumbleUpon and many others
  • Show countdown timers (for expiring offers, discount coupons, etc …)
  • Display personalized greetings, timed offers, etc …
  • And so much more!

As it’s clear to see, WP plugins give you virtually limitless business flexibility. If you are planning to build a web site for your business, or your existing web site was not built with WordPress, then consider choosing WordPress in the future.

If you’re still wondering just how powerful and flexible WP plugins are, let’s take a look at some practical advantages of installing an inexpensive plugin on your site.

For example, if you need to publish content which is only accessible to some users, you can install plugins to make just a couple of paragraphs on your post inaccessible, or create a complete membership site with customized login details for all users …

A Newbie's Guide To WP Plugins

As mentioned previously, you can use free plugins to improve your web site in so many ways. From installing functionality that can enhance your business, your web users’ experience and your ability to analyze website metrics …

A Practical Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

To extending your business reach and visibility across social sites and search engines …

A Guide To WordPress Plugins

You can also add advanced functionality to your website using relatively inexpensive premium WordPress plugins. For example, you can set up plugins that integrate and automate features on your website such as displaying customer testimonials and booking events …

A Useful Guide To Understanding WP Plugins

And even run a complete bookings and reservations system on your site … all for a small fraction of the cost of hiring web developers to code custom applications for you …

A Newbie's Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

Additionally, you can take advantage of built-in WordPress commenting features and plugins that will increase user engagement …

A Guide To WP Plugins

For example, your web visitors can easily:

  • Post comments on your blog posts (which can turn into online discussions) using either the native WP commenting feature, or integrated Facebook comments (which are then shared throughout the visitors’ Facebook pages, giving your site added exposure).
  • Share your content with other online users on various social sites.
  • Contact you via contact forms
  • Engage in online discussions with other members through online forums or even set up an online social network on your own domain.
  • Engage with your support staff through live chats
  • Dial your business from their smart phones while visiting your site
  • Get help and support via a client helpdesk
  • And much more …

A Beginner's Guide To Understanding WordPress Plugins

Finally you, can even integrate sophisticated 3rd-party applications using a WP “front end”. This lets you control the content that your visitors see on your site, while your 3rd-party application handles the technical aspects …

A Practical Guide To WordPress Plugins

WordPress Plugins – Some Useful Information

  • There are lots of good plugins available. Be careful not to overload your site with too many plugins, as this can affect your website’s resources and page loading speed. It can also mean more maintenance issues for you resulting from potential conflicts.
  • Only keep the plugins that you really use. Delete all deactivated plugins from your site, as these also use server resources.
  • Many free plugins normally receive little to no support from the plugin developer. When considering premium plugins, make sure you check around a little and see what kind of reputation the plugin developer has when it comes to providing support, upgrades, new features, etc. Be sure to check our plugin recommendations for additional information.
  • If you see that an unsupported plugin has not been updated for a while (e.g. two or more years), then think carefully before installing it. WordPress updates regularly and out-of-date WP plugins can create problems.
  • Always upgrade your plugins. Outdated plugin not only can cause errors, they could also contain vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers and malicious software.

A Guide To Understanding WP Plugins

As you can see, plugins are an important element of WordPress and contribute to making it the most used content management system available. Plugins also provide WordPress users with an easy, simple and inexpensive way to add new features to their web presence without having to spend thousands of dollars on outsourced web development.

One last thing regarding plugins:

Whatever functionality you want for your website, you can guarantee that a WP plugin probably exists that will do exactly what you want it to do, and that it can either be downloaded at no cost, or if it’s a paid plugin, that the cost to buy it will be minimal.

Whatever you need done, there's a WordPress plugin for that!

(Whatever you need done, there’s a WordPress plugin for that!)

And, if by any chance such a plugin is not available, then a custom plugin that does exactly what you need it to do can most certainly be coded for you at a reasonable cost.

Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of WP plugins – what they are and how they can expand your WP website. See our published posts to learn about more great WP plugins that we recommend using.

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