What are WordPress Plugins?

What are WordPress Plugins?

It’s incredible easy to adjust the look and feel of your website using WordPress.  One way WordPress does this is with a “Plugin.”  Adding a plugin to WordPress is like adding a tool to a tool belt.  With the right tools, you’re able to build almost anything!

Plugins are little mini-programs that run within your WordPress website.  There are thousands of plugins out there as people are constantly creating new ones.  I’ll give you a list of some of my favorites, but first a word of warning.

Plugins, because they are little programs, need resources to run.  They’ll take processing power and if you start adding too many, you’ll notice your site will take longer to load.  If your site is running slower, search engines won’t rank it as highly and you won’t have as many visitors.

One additional note, make sure you research your plugins before you install them.  You want a plugin that is updated regularly.  WordPress often updates their software to make sure it’s secure.  If you install a plugin that hasn’t been updated in years, you run the risk of someone being able to break into your site through that plugin.

With that said, plugins are generally safe and the good ones are always being updated.   You research your plugins here at the WordPress Plugin Directory.

Here are a few Plugins worth noting:

  • Akismet – Free (for personal use)Akismet actually is automatically installed with every version of WordPress (you already have it installed).  It keeps your comments from being taken over by spam… you’ll need it.  Even though it is installed, you will need to activate it by creating an account with Akismet (free for personal use).
  • Wibiya – Free (with Premium Upgrades Available)You’ll probably notice that I use Wibiya here at WPTrainingVideos.com.  Wibiya is a great toolbar and helps your visitors to share content.  But, as you’ll notice, you can also setup chat, see where people are logging in from, etc.  Wibiya has some great features and almost all of them are free.  You can purchase premium features if you want them.  I tend to use the free features and it’s worth checking out.
  • Digg Digg – FreeThis is another plugin that I use to help make it easier for visitors to share content.  It allows visitors to share content through Facebook, Twitter, Google +1, Digg, StumbleUpon and a host of other sites you can setup.  I really do like Digg Digg, but if you try to setup every social option possible it will slow your site down quite a bit. I just stick with the majors (Facebook, Twitter, Google +1).
  • W3 Total Cache – FreeSpeaking of speed.  It will speed up your website and help your search engine rankings.  W3 Total Cache should be installed on every WordPress site you have.  It can be a little more complicated for a brand new user to install but WPTrainingVideos.com members will have access to a video that walks them through step-by-step.

There are plenty of other Plugins I’d that are worth investigating, but the ones above will give you a good start.

If you found this post helpful, please let your friends know with a quick click likeing, sharing, tweeting, etc.  I’d also be very interested in your comments.  What plugins have you found worthwhile?  What questions do you have about plugins?  Any great resources you’d like to share?

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