Today’s post is a guest post by Ender Tech, a web development firm in LA.

Did you know that WordPress powers 30% of the internet? WordPress is an excellent resource and online platform to help you develop your website the way you want.

Hiring a professional web developer will definitely help you through the process.

 WordPress (both .com and .org) boast software that is free and open-sourced, meaning you can create what you want on the internet without a subscription plan or fee.

When you want to go beyond the bare minimum, that’s when you need to consider adding a plug-in to your website or blog page. WordPress has over 50,000 plug-ins to choose from. While that may seem overwhelming for beginners, it doesn’t need to be. In fact, having too many plug-ins can actually slow your site down.

The goal of a plug-in is to help your site function better! You want visitors to find your site to be user-friendly, so only add a plug-in if it gives your site a feature you actually need. Don’t be intimidated! Below are 5 facts for beginners to keep in mind as they start using WordPress plug-ins.

1. Plug-Ins Are Meant to Enhance

If you’re a complete beginner to WordPress, you may not already realize that your page is going to look great no matter what. WordPress is already powerful, but a straight-forward solution for your website woes. Without adding any plug-ins at all, you can already make changes to your site with just a basic knowledge of HTML.

But if you’re looking for a way to customize your website, perhaps to offer a storefront, you can use a plug-in. This quite simply means someone else has taken the time to create the HTML code needed to have your website work in a different way.

Plug-ins can help your site have better control of its security, or add an image gallery. Whatever your website needs, there is probably already a plug-in available for you to use. Some plug-ins are free, some you have to pay for, so you have to decide what you need and how you would like to go about that.

You can find plug-ins in so many places but if you are a true beginner you may want to start with the official Plug-In Directory. The directory breaks down plug-ins by category including popular and featured options. But there is also a search box so you can seek out the exact plug-in you are needing to make your website work better.

2. Choose Plug-Ins Carefully

It is worth repeating that having too many plug-ins on your site can slow your site down. Since many people will leave if a site doesn’t load in 3 seconds then you don’t want to dissuade visits to your site by making it slow! Each plug-in script will send a request to a server as a user accesses your site.

Each request will take only a millisecond, but milliseconds can add up, so be wary of how many plug-ins you add. Take time and figure out what your website actually needs, and use plug-ins to be the solution.

You want to find a plug-in that has been designed well and updated occasionally. If a plug-in is too old it may also slow down your site, but it is easy to see when a plug-in has been updated last. In general, if a plug-in hasn’t been updated in over six months, you should be wary to add it to your site.

Before you install a plug-in check the user ratings and reviews. There will always be a few negative reviews, not everything is going to work perfectly in every situation, but if there are overwhelmingly positive reviews, that plug-in is probably going to be a good option for you.

It is absolutely okay to install a plug-in and try it out for a while. If you ultimately decide the plug-in isn’t a good fit, it is easy to remove it from your site so you can try another one. It is best to only add a single plug-in at a time so you can easily spot any problems that occur and will know which plug-in caused the issue.

3. How To Install A Plug-In

How To Install A WordPress Plug-In

You might be ready to go ahead and try out one of those plug-ins but maybe you aren’t sure how to install it. Luckily for you, WordPress has made it fairly simple to install plug-ins, even for beginners who might be nervous they will screw something up.

First, you will want to navigate to the Plug-in menu on your WordPress Dashboard. Once you are there, click “add new.” This will then load up the “Install Plug-Ins” page which will let you search for the specific plug-in you plan to add. Once you have found it, click on the “Install Now.”

It’s honestly that easy to install an plug-in! Which may show you how easy it could be to go overboard. Remember to take it is slow and evaluate each plug-in as you add them so that your site will work correctly and help visitors find your page!

You can always test a plug-in on a development copy of your site first. In fact, if you aren’t sure having a plug-in immediately go live may not be the best choice as a beginner. Bugs and security breaches can cause a major disruption to how a page works so testing a plug-in behind the scenes first is a good idea.

4. Security Flaws

Because WordPress is open to a large community some hackers have taken advantage of the use of plug-ins to gain access to websites and breach their security protections. It can be hard to protect your site from hackers, but changing your passwords frequently is one way to combat these issues.

There is no way to tell which plug-in a hacker may be trying to use in order to gain more information, another reason to only use the plug-ins you absolutely need and not to add any additional options that may not help your functionality. There are plug-ins where the main goal is your site’s security, which may be a great choice.

If you are concerned you can also hire an internet security firm to help you monitor your site. That may offer to the reassurances that you won’t be hacked, but it may be unnecessary as a beginner unless you are collecting payments from customers on your site or other personal information.  

5. Compatibility

Because anyone in the WordPress community can create or design a plug-in, you may find that certain plug-ins don’t work well together. If you discover a compatibility issue it may be startling, since sometimes is causes sites to crash or disappear altogether. It is important to keep your site backed up frequently to avoid major issues.

Once you uninstall one of your plug-ins your site should function typically again. As plug-ins get older, it’s possible their creators haven’t done recent updates, you can always go back and check. If you find your plug-ins aren’t working, switching to paid plug-ins may solve the problem since your funds go towards keeping the plug-in up-to-date.

Conclusion

All about WordPress plugins

WordPress is a great way to help build a website for whatever your needs, and with many resources available is especially great for beginners. Taking your time creating your site and adding plug-ins will give you the best results and soon your site will be up and running the way you’ve always dreamed.

Plug-ins can help you with anything, your SEO,  helping you share your social media, as well as hosting your contact page. When a plug-in is used correctly it can greatly enhance your site. Following this guide will help anyone starting out to find the best solutions for their needs and make the world of plug-ins more easily understandable.

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