Check Your WordPress Plugins on Your Website
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems used today, and for good reason. The software is incredibly easy to use, while also providing advanced features for experienced users. Even beginners can get the hang of things quickly, as the documentation is extremely easy to follow along with.
It’s easy to see why WordPress is so popular, but what happens when you need a little more power from your blogging platform? Maybe you’re looking for a way to create a fully fledged website, or maybe you’re just ready to upgrade your existing site. In either case, WordPress has you covered with its range of plugins.
What are WordPress plugins, and how do they work? Let’s take a quick look at this essential piece of software to better understand what’s entailed.
Essential Geneses Of A WordPress Plugin
WordPress plugins are applications that make additional features available to your users. They often exist to solve a specific problem, and are totally dependent on the plugin developer to work properly. To function, a WordPress plugin needs to do the following:
- it should integrate with WordPress
- it should adhere to WordPress standards
- it should be easy for users to find and use
- it should contain well-written, accessible instructions
- it should be available to download from a reliable source
- it should be constantly updated
- it should be compatible with the latest release of WordPress
- it should be safe to use
- it should be free of errors
- it should provide documentation and support
- it should have a positive impact on your SEO
- it should be easy to install
- it should have a pleasing aesthetic
- it should have a high ratings on review platforms
What type of problems can these plugins solve? Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular ones.
Security is always a key consideration when creating a website, especially when you’re providing the service to people across the world. WordPress offers some fantastic security features, allowing you to restrict certain actions based on user roles and privileges. It also has a whole section of plugins dedicated to securing your site against hackers and malware. These are all invaluable features and plugins that you should consider downloading. Just remember that the more you rely on plugins to provide security for your site, the fewer layers of security you have remaining if something goes wrong.
A few good examples of security plugins are:
- WP GDPR(General Data Protection Regulation)
- WPCracked(Website Credentials Protection)
- Sage Payment Gateway(an SSL VPN plugin)
- Sage WordPress Password(for storing passwords and reset links)
- Bulk Renamer(a faster alternative to Adobe Bulk Rename)
- XML Sitemap Generator(a WordPress Sitemap Generator)
- All in One SEO(an all-in-one SEO plugin)
- Premium Member Pro(for creating paid memberships)
- Login Approvals(a plugin that requires login approvals for unpublished content)
- Optimizer(a performance enhancement plugin)
- Ajax Auto Complete(a highly customizable autocomplete widget for your posts and pages)
- Akismet(an anti-spam protection plugin)
- Redirect Manager(a plugin that lets you redirect any page or post to any other)
- W3 Total Cache(a caching plugin)
- Google Optimize(a SEO optimizer plugin)
- SEO Wiz(a free SEO plugin from W3 Total Cache)
- W3 Total Cache Scanner(a plugin that helps you find errors in your websites’ SEO)
- Yoast SEO(a free SEO plugin from W3 Total Cache)
Once you’ve had a website for a while, you’ll discover that it doesn’t always serve its purpose. Maybe you wanted to create a blog for fun, but now that you’ve put in the effort you realize that you don’t actually enjoy writing about the topics you’ve chosen. Maybe you’ve decided that you want to create a store front for your handmade goods, but now that you’ve uploaded all the pictures you realize that the feature doesn’t seem as appealing as you thought it would. Maybe you wanted to create a platform to promote your band, but now that you’ve put in the effort you realize that there’s already numerous other bands out there using the same platform and the same idea as you do. In any case, whenever there’s a bit of functionality that you feel like you’re missing out on, you can always get it with a plugin.
The functionality of WordPress plugins varies, but can be categorized into the following groups:
- Blogs and news publications
- Email Marketing
- Events and Meetings
- File Handling and Media
- Forums and Chat Rooms
- Member Management
- Search Engine Optimization(SEO)
- Social Networks
- Stripe Integration
- User Management
- WooCommerce(a WordPress e-commerce plugin)
- Youtube Integration
- Zoo Zoo(for creating a social network within your site)
Downloading And Installing Plugins
As mentioned earlier, WordPress plugins are completely optional, and you can use the underlying architecture of WordPress to build your site without installing a single plugin. On the other hand, you can always get the functionality you want with a plugin, but you’ll have to download and install it manually.
The process of downloading and installing plugins is very simple, as long as you remember a couple of things. First, you should always choose the Zip file over the package, as the former allows you to install the software manually while the latter needs you to have an existing directory in which to unpack it. Second, you should always check the details of the plugin before you download it, as some developers may use shady practices to trick you into installing malware. These are some basic rules that you need to keep in mind when getting software from anywhere online, whether it’s a WordPress plugin or not.
Once you’ve downloaded the plugin, you can use the instructions provided to install it on your blog. Typically, plugins come with a documentation page that contains all the details you need to get started. Just make sure you’ve saved both the documents once the installation is completed. From then on, you can use the plugin as described in the documentation to get the most out of it.
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for WordPress plugins, then check out the WordPress plugin repository. This is where all the official plugins are stored, so if you know the name of the plugin you’re looking for, then it’s likely that it’s already there. Keep in mind that the more popular a plugin is, the more likely it is to be found there. You can search by name or by description and find exactly what you’re looking for. Sometimes, you have to dig a little bit to find what you want, but overall it’s a great resource.
Using And Maintaining Plugins
Once you’ve installed a WordPress plugin on your site, you’ll see two options when you click on it: