Like most people, you most likely use a device like a smart phone. What do you do when you would like access to something new on your device like a new application, software or productivity tool?
Why, simple … you download and install an app!
An app is a little software that is very simple and easy to install and immediately integrates new functionality into a mobile device.
(Just like there are social sharing apps …)
A WP plugin is very much like an app. You install and activate a little piece of software that provides new functionality to your WP web site …
(… there are also social sharing plugins for WP users!)
Almost always, expanding the functionality of an already-built site involves additional cost. Depending on how complex the feature or enhancement is, things can get fairly expensive, especially if it requires modifying code.
This also applies to developing a new website. Businesses often fork out money up-front for added components they may never need.
To reduce expenses, we suggest a cost-effective strategy to developing your website and WordPress plugins are ideal for doing this.
Imagine being able to:
1) Start simply and with minimal cost involved. Get a professional web site up and running fast, then …
2) As you need more features, install new applications with just a couple of clicks of the mouse that integrate with your current web site, giving your website a whole new range of useful features, and also …
3) Cost not one cent extra to add to your website?
Well, that’s just what WP plugins allow you to do!
Benefits And Advantages Of WordPress Plugins
Earlier, we compared plugins with smartphone apps. Just like many apps are free to download and some may cost a little bit of money, the same applies with WP plugins.
In fact, thousands of useful plugins are freely available for users.
WP plugins that cost money are called ’Premium’ plugins. The good news, is that when you compare the cost of a Premium plugin to the cost of hiring a professional web developer to get the same functionality on your site, most Premium plugins are priced quite cheaply.
Also, since WordPress distributes its software as an Open Source application, anybody can create, edit and customize any portion of the WP code. This has allowed thousands of professional web developers to create more new tools that “plug into” WordPress than you can probably imagine.
- Plugins let you get started with a simple yet professional site and then expand as necessary.
- Plugins let you add almost unlimited features to any online business presence easily, quickly and inexpensively.
- Plugins give you practically endless expansion capabilities.
- WordPress plugins allow anyone to have a site that they can self-manage.
- Most plugins will work “right out of the box” and only require to be installed and activated to give your web site instant new capabilities, enhancements and functionality.
- Some plugins offer more advanced options and could require some configuration.
Plugins – Powerful, Flexible … And (Often) 100% FREE!
Just like WordPress themes, loads of plugins are currently available for WP users … for FREE!
You can view and download thousands of plugins from the Free WP Plugin Repository …
As previously mentioned, you will find WP plugins that can do almost anything you want done.
There are WordPress plugins for:
- Website Management
- Content Syndication
- Web Traffic Generation
- User Engagement
- Social Monitoring
- Uploading Media Files – Videos, Images, Podcasts, Multimedia, etc.
- e-Commerce And Online Sales & Marketing Automation
- Improving Sales Conversions And Lead Generation
- Data Analysis
- Optimizing Your
For example, you can expand your website with plugins like:
- Contact forms
- Polls and quizzes
- User Surveys
- Display advertising banners
- E-commerce (from setting up single sales with PayPal buttons, to complete e-commerce stores with online shopping carts, invoicing, recurring billing, coupon codes, etc …)
- Social sharing buttons
- Private Membership sites
- Newsletter opt-in forms
- Sales workflow
- Mobile integration
- Improving your site’s Search Engine Optimization
- Image galleries (including rotating images, lightboxes, etc.)
- Customer feedback forms
- Language translation (e.g. you can instantly change all content on your site from English to Portuguese)
- Statistical reporting (e.g. number of visitors, pages visited, keywords searched, etc.)
- Custom navigation menus
- Customer engagement – contest, live chat, currency conversion, etc.
- Offline storage integration
- Making pages load faster
- Event management
- Business listing directories
- Automatically sell and manage spots on your website
- Set up client appointments and reminders
- Manage reservations and bookings
- Detect broken hyperlinks on your pages and send you reports
- Redirect visitors from specific pages to other areas on your site or other sites
- Monitor social signals
- Make your pages printable or downloadable as a PDF file
- Add sitemaps
- Hide pages from displaying on areas of your site (e.g. sitemaps, feeds, etc.)
- Hide post content
- Import content from other publishing applications
- Perform bulk data edits
- Fight SPAM commenting
- Customize guest comment displays (e.g. displaying Facebook posts)
- Insert scripts and code elements into your website’s header or footer
- Add tables
- Display animated graphic elements and advanced content formatting options
- Add and manage QR codes
- Improve your local search listings on Google
- Add business location maps
- Publish your posts automatically on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and others
- Show countdown timers (for special offers, coupons, etc …)
- Display personalized greetings, timed offers, etc …
- And so much more!
As you can clearly see, plugins give you endless possibilities. If you are planning to build a website for your business, or your existing site was not built with WordPress, then consider getting a WordPress site or blog in the future, or you will be missing out on some serious functionality.
If you’re still wondering about the power and flexibility of using WP plugins, let’s take a look at some practical advantages of installing a plugin on your web site.
For example, if you want to publish private content, you can install plugins to make a section of your post or page inaccessible, or transform your WordPress site into a professional membership site with personal login details for users …
As mentioned previously, you can use free plugins to enhance your site in so many ways. From adding functionality that improve your business, your site’s user experience and your understanding of what is happening on your site …
To extending your site’s reach and visibility across social networks and search engines …
You can also add complex functionality to your site using inexpensive premium plugins. For example, you can buy plugins that automate functions on your website such as customer feedback and event bookings management …
And also run a complete bookings and reservations system online … all for a tiny fraction of the cost of paying web developers to design the same applications for you …
Additionally, you can take advantage of built-in WordPress commenting features and plugins that will make your site even more interactive …
For example, your web visitors can:
- Leave comments on your site (which can turn into online discussions) using either the native WP commenting feature, or integrated Facebook comments (which are then displayed throughout your visitors’ Facebook pages, providing you with additional exposure).
- Bookmark your posts on various social sites.
- Contact you using contact forms
- Engage in online discussions with your team members via online forums or even set up a private community on your site.
- Engage with members of your team through live video chats
- Dial your business directly from their devices when visiting your pages
- Open support tickets
- And much more …
Finally you, can even integrate sophisticated “back end” solutions with a WordPress “front end”. This allows you to control your business sales and marketing, while the 3rd-party application handles the technological side of things …
WordPress Plugins – Some Useful Information
- There are lots of great WordPress plugins available. Be careful of overloading your server with an excessive amount of plugins, as this will invariably begin to affect your website’s resources and page loading times. It also means more maintenance issues for you as a result of potential conflicts and errors.
- Install only those plugins that you really use. Delete inactive plugins from your site, as these also consume server resources.
- Many free plugins often receive little to no support from the plugin developer. When considering paid WP plugins, make sure you do a little research first to understand what kind of reputation the developer has when it comes to offering support, upgrades, new features, etc. Be sure to check some of our WordPress plugin reviews for additional expert information.
- If you see that an unsupported plugin has not been updated for a very long time (e.g. two or more years), then think twice before installing it on your website. WordPress is updated often and outdated WP plugins can cause problems.
- Always update your plugins to the most recent software version. Older plugin not only can cause conflicts, they could also have security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers and malicious software.
As you can see, WP plugins are an integral part of WordPress and contribute to making WordPress the most powerful, flexible and scalable content management system available. Plugins also provide WordPress users with easy, simple and inexpensive ways to expand without spending thousands of dollars on web development costs.
One last thing regarding plugins:
If there is any functionality you want for your website, you can guarantee that a someone has probably already created one that will do just what you need it to do, and that it can either be accessed for FREE, or if it’s a premium plugin, that it will be surprisingly inexpensive.
(Whatever you need done, there’s a WordPress plugin for that!)
And, if by any chance such a WordPress plugin is not available, then one can certainly be written for your business for a very reasonable price.
Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of plugins – what plugins are and how they can significantly improve your WP website. See our published posts to learn about more popular plugins that we recommend using.
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