This article is for all the newbies to WordPress. I’m sure by now you’ve heard a couple of WordPress terms that you’re probably thinking ‘what the heck does this mean’. One of those terms, I bet are ‘WordPress Plugins’. As with anything  else that we’re learning for the first time, it can be a little bit overwhelming when we don’t have a clear understanding of the basics. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, I was in the same boat a couple years ago. I hope this article will help to relieve a little of the anxiety that you may be feeling and give you a better understanding of what WordPress Plugins are and how to use them.

According to WordPress.org, Plugins are used to extend and add to the functionality that already exists in WordPress. The core of WordPress is designed to be lean and lightweight, to maximize flexibility and minimize code bloat. Plugins then offer custom functions and features so that each user can tailor their site to their specific needs. You can use plugins to add design features, like adding an Instagram feed to your website. You can also use plugins for functionality, like adding a contact form or improving your SEO. The image below shows you some default plugins that are included in your WordPress Install.

Installed WordPress Plugins
Installed WordPress Plugins

Plugins make it easy for users to add features to their website without knowing a single line of code. There are thousands available for free to download at the official WordPress plugin directory. Plugins can be installed or uninstalled from your WordPress Admin Dashboard (see image below). You can also download and manually install them using an FTP client.

Add New WordPress Plugins
Add new plugin screen in the WordPress Admin area

Because the vast majority of plugins are free, it is important to note that they usually do not come with tech support. For this reason it is important to be careful when choosing which ones you want to install on your site. Here are a couple things to look for when considering using a WordPress Plugin for your website:

  • How long has it been since it was updated?
  • Is it compatible with the latest version of WordPress?
  • Are people getting answers to their support questions?
  • What type of rating does it have?

So, did this help? I hope it did. Please drop me a note below to let me know your thoughts about this article. I would also love to know what other areas in WordPress that you would like to learn about.

Also please look out for my upcoming video tutorials which will show you how to install a WordPress Plugin on your website.