WordPress offers the possibility to extend new features, improvement or correction of existing features. This is possible, thanks to the plugins. In this article, you will get to know more about these useful WordPress plugins: how to find them, how to install, how to configure and much more.
This article is therefore designed specifically for beginners and those who want to know a little more before actual implementation and will teach you everything you need to know about WordPress plugins.
What is a plugin
The term "plugin" which is commonly used in English literally means "extension". A plugin is a small program that is added to WordPress to add functionality to the program, and to extend or correct its native functionality.
The scope of a plugin is broad: news, SEO, analytics, publishing, posting, commenting, social networks and so on - there are plugins for everything! And there are all kinds of plugins: very good, good, and very bad. These are of course to be avoided. WordPress is a very secure software and the major security vulnerabilities are added by plugins. I will give you some advice in relation to this.
Most plugins are free. Some are paid. Others are mixed, only the advanced and pro features being paid. In general, it is quite possible to settle for a free plugin. The advanced features of paid plugins can also be justified. But your main initial investment should not lie there.
How to find a WordPress plugin
WordPress designers have thought of everything. They created the official WordPress plugins directory. Most WordPress plugins are available here.
Here, besides the description of the plugin and some other information, you will find very useful information:
• Age of the plugin: This is not necessarily a bad sign but too old plugins should not see your preference;
• Rating of the plugin: each plugin can be rated from 1 to 5, and the average ratings are displayed. Prefer rated plugins;
• Plugin compatibility with versions of WordPress: not having information about compatibility is not fatal but if the plugin is an old one, you better be careful;
Some plugins are not available in this directory. Such plugins are offered by designers on their website. In general, it is better to avoid them, unless the designer plugin is a big, assessed structure as WooThemes.
Of course, all the plugins out of the official directory do not have risks for your blog. But one of the interests of the official directory is the review conducted on each plugin. Certainly, it is not necessarily perfect.
How to choose a WordPress plugin
The first criterion for choosing a plugin, is in its field of action: publishing, social, security, newsletter, SEO, etc.
In general, Google is your friend. There you will find the recommendations of bloggers and webmasters on a particular plugin for your needs. In fact, one of the first criteria to choose a plugin, is to take the opinion of other bloggers.
• Avoid plugins receiving bad evaluations from other bloggers;
• Prefer plugins recommended by other bloggers;
• Review the opinion of many bloggers;
• See details on the plugin in the official WordPress plugins directory.
Here are some general rules for the last step:
• Avoid the old plugins, especially when you do not know if they are compatible with your version of WordPress;
• Prefer plugins compatible with your version of WordPress without completely ignoring the others;
• Prefer highly rated without completely ignore other plugins.
• Documentation of the author on his website and some screenshots.
The management section in WordPress for plugins
Management of plugins on your WordPress blog is centralized in a single section – the management section. This section allows you to list the installed plugins as well as search, install, enable, disable or remove a plugin. The WordPress administration has access to the plugin management screen.
This central part is composed of two areas:
• the bottom part having the larger list of plugins: you can see their names on the left and descriptions on the right;
• the top part that has a simple filter, consisting mainly of "All", "Enabled", "Disabled" and "Recently disabled" options .
A plugin can be installed on your blog without being activated. At times disabling a plugin may be useful when:
• in case of conflict between plugins or between theme and plugins, or in case of malfunction;
• to check whether you can do without a certain plugin or to test a new plugin instead of an old or disabled one
In fact, only the configuration of plugins is not feasible for this section: each plugin has its own configuration available from another menu.
How to install a WordPress plugin
A WordPress plugin can be installed in 3 ways:
• By installing it from the official plugin directory;
• By installing it from the hard drive of your computer;
• Transferring it from the hard drive of your computer.
WordPress is an ergonomic tool; it is specifically dedicated to support the two first methods. For the third method, you must use an FTP program such as FileZilla.
How to update a WordPress plugin
Plugins can be an update for security reasons, correction or improvement.
Again, with WordPress, it's simple to update a plugin. You will be notified of the availability of a new version of a plugin directly in the WordPress admin interface. The matter will be settled with just a few clicks.
Well, almost everything you ever wanted to know about WordPress plugins has been covered in this article. These plugins are very powerful tools and can enhance your online business greatly.
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