What is a WordPress plugin?

WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world, used by millions of websites globally. Aproximately 30% of all websites on the Internet use WordPress and approximately 60% of all content management systems (CMS) use WordPress. Those are staggering numbers. The next two players in the marketplace, Joomla and Druple are at about 3% & 7%, and 1% & 3%, respectively. One of the reasons for this is that WordPress is incredibly flexible.

Even better, many of the features can be added or changed without you needing to touch, or even know, any website coding. This means that you can usually manage your website yourself, even if you have no, or very few, web design skills. Although if you prefer to hand it over to a web designer or virtual assistant then there are many available who would be happy to help you.

To add features to your site you will need to get familiar with WordPress plugins. Plugins are small pieces of code that you can readily add to your site to perform a wide range of functions, from adding features like social media sharing buttons and contact forms, to more technical stuff like security or search engine optimization. You name it, there probably is a plugin for that!

Some plugins are free and for others you will need to pay a fee. You can browse through a list of plugins in the WordPress Plugin Repository. As WordPress has an open source license, anyone can develop and sell a plugin and you will find many available for free or to buy to meet almost any need. Before you download or buy a plugin, check the reviews it has and the date of its most recent update. Old and poor quality plugins (often indicated by low numbers of users) can create problems with your site, so these are best avoided. You can read reviews in the WordPress plugin directory or just search online using the keywords '[plugin name] review'.

So which plugins are you likely to need on your new WordPress site? Here are some suggestions:

Managing Your Site

Jetpack is a very popular plugin for traffic information, contact forms, social media buttons and more. Akismet is the best-known plugin for managing spam comments, which are very common on blogs.

Backup and Security

The worst can sometimes happen, so it's best to be prepared. Plugins such as BackupBuddy will back up your website automatically on a schedule defined by you. Securi is a plugin which will protect your site from hackers and more.

Here at WP Business Network we like Updraft Plus for automated and manual backups and Wordfence for website security.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Want to optimize your content for search engines before you publish? Then check out All In One SEO Pack or Yoast SEO. We use the latter. We especially like how it easily teaches you how to write better (for SEO purposes) blog posts.

Forms and Landing Pages

You can get a basic contact form from Jetpack, as mentioned above, but you may also need more sophisticated forms such as Gravity Forms that encourage visitors to opt-in to your mailing list. Landing pages are web pages that can be used offer visitors a free gift in return for their email address, or act as the entry point to your website. There are plugins specifically for opt-in pages or some page builder plugins, like Elementor, can be used to create them.

There is an amazing choice of plugins available, so decide what you need your website to do and you are undoubtedly sure to find a plugin that fits.

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Steve Henry

Stephen B. Henry, known to many online as the Wiz, and just Steve to his friends, is a published author, WordPress developer, online presence guide, and personal mentor who works from an office in his home or a laptop when he travels. He is a guest blogger on may sites.

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