A wealth of possibilities for your website!
In the office, we’ll dream up possibilities we could do with a website and usually that line of conversation ends in: “There’s probably a plugin for that.”
And often, there is.
A plugin is a little piece of software that you can plug into your website to make it do cool stuff.
Adding a plugin to your website is a little like adding apps to your smartphone.
You add apps to your smartphone to customize it and to make your phone perform specialized functions for you. The same is true with plugins.
When you are on a website and you see, say, social media feeds or pop-up boxes where you can enter your email address in exchange for a free e-book or a printable recipe option, etc. Those are the workings of a plugin that has been added to that website.
Do plugins cost money?
They can cost money. Many are free.
If you’ve ever launched your own WordPress site, you may have seen a series of free plugins already loaded up from within your dashboard. (Seen when you click on the Plugins tab on the left hand side.)
Staying with the smartphone app analogy, there are a number of free plugins that offer premium upgrades.
For those plugins that have a cost, the range in price is broad. They can cost anywhere from a few bucks to several hundred and even into the thousands for highly customized and seriously robust options.
Is Installation Easy?
In short, it depends.
Sometimes, adding a plugin is as simple as clicking “activate” and voila! Other times it requires a fair amount of configuration that requires someone with that knowledge (or a ton of patience if you’d like to try it yourself).
When you're just starting out with testing new plugins on your website, you may not know which ones will be easy to install and which ones won't. The good news here is: it doesn't hurt to try.
If you find out you're in over your head, you can always deactivate the plugin from your site. Easy.
How do I find plugins?
If you have a WordPress site, one of the easiest ways to find new plugins for your site is from within WordPress. Hover over the “Plugin” tab on the left side of your dashboard. A menu will pop-up that gives you the option to "Add New."
Once you click, Add New, you’ll see a screen populated with some of WordPress' most popular plugins.
- You can search using keywords to explore plugin possibilies.
- You can install directly on this dashboard using the Install Now button located within each plugin's box.
Hover over the plus signs below to see what I'm talking about.
Once a plugin has been installed, this button becomes "Active."
Search for plugins right here!
Clicking "Install Now" allows you to install the plugin from within your site.
Keep an eye out for issues.
Unlike apps on your phone, plugins can be a bit more finicky on your website. Because of this, it’s important to use plugins that are trustworthy (we’ll speak more on that next week).
Additionally, it’s a good idea to try one plugin at a time. Once its installed, check to make sure everything else still running properly—including previously installed plugins.
Sometimes, when a plugin is added, it doesn’t play nice with the other plugins and you have to remove it or reach out and get some technical support.
To victories great and small!
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