What is a plugin and how it works?

One of the features that make WordPress a great platform to create a blog or website is its flexibility and ability to adapt to any kind of need. And the kind of tools that offers to users.

In terms of design, the themes (or templates) allow you to have a choice among thousands of designs or also create or modify a template to your tastes and needs.

But if we want to expand the possibilities and function of WordPress, in an unlimited way, plugins are the best way to achieve this.

What is a plugin?

Plugins are software or applications containing a group of functions or features, which help to improve in all aspects your WordPress website.

There are plugins for every need in WordPress, including:

  • Design
  • Statistics (Analytics)
  • Email marketing
  • Social networks
  • Security
  • Backups
  • Web Traffic
  • e-Commerce
  • SEO
  • And others.

If you need to have some functionality on your site, the phrase "there is a plugin for that," applies perfectly. Everything that you need for your website, if you are using WordPress, you can find it in a plugin.

And if does not exist, you can create! In freelance sites like oDesk, Powertofly or Guru.com there are many freelancers that you can hire to create any plugin that you require for your blog or website.

Thanks that WordPress is an open source platform, hundreds of web developers are able to create plugins for the platform. At present, there are more than 30,000 plugins in the official directory of WordPress.

In addition to free plugins, there are many developers who build your business and are dedicated to selling "Premium" plugins, that focus on solving and improve different elements and aspects of WordPress. The plugins are developed mainly in PHP and also use HTML, Javascript and CSS.

Installing and admin plugins

As an administrator in your website you can install, edit and delete plugins from the WordPress main desktop. And to install a plugin, you have two options:

  • Installing from the desktop into the Plugins WordPress> Install New option
  • From FTP with .ZIP file

Examples of plugins

Let's see some examples of different plugins and what they can do with WordPress:

1. All in One SEO Pack

This plugin helps configure and optimize WordPress for a good search engine in Google, Bing or others. It offers an option to change the title, add a meta description, keywords and categories on the home page and every page or post.

It also automates the optimization of tags, URLs, add sitemaps, it syncs with Google Analytics and more. A great choice for internal optimization SEO.

2. WooCommerce

A plugin to create a professional, effective and process online store orders every day. This plugin, developed by Woothemes, converts WordPress in an e-Commerce platform.

With WooCommerce you can add products of all kinds (physical and digital), use different attributes and synchronize it with many payment processors like Paypal.

3. Pop Up Domination

This plugin works by creating a "pop-up" or subscription on any WordPress page. When a user is browsing the site, will appear in a given a popup with a form to subscribe to the newsletter blog or site.

This helps a lot to increase the number of subscribers and grow the audience of a blog.

4. Akismet

With this plugin, you can remove excess SPAM of your website. When installed, your website and the comments section will be much cleaner, plus you will no longer receive your mail notifications of new "junk" comments or spam.

How many plugins should I install in WordPress?

The number of plugins isn’t a big issue, and what matters is quality. If you need 10, 25 or 40 plugins, go ahead! Just make sure they are good quality plugins created by developers with experience and expertise. Never use “pirate” plugins, hacked or with a dubious origin as they may have malicious code.

Now that you know what it is and what does a plugin, begins to use them!