What are WordPress Plugins & Why to Use Them?

wordpress pluginsI love WordPress and I love WordPress plugins!  Plugins are these amazing little widgets that help your website be more efficient at doing the things you want your website to do.

You will generally hear plugins referred to as “Add-ons”.  Add-ons is often considered the general term comprising snap-ins, plug-ins, extensions, and themes.

In a broader sense of the term plugin, Wikipedia defines plugins as “a set of software components that adds specific capabilities to a larger software application.  Plug-ins enable customizing the functionality of an application. For example, plug-ins are commonly used in web browsers to play video, scan for viruses, and display new file types. Well-known plug-ins examples include Adobe Flash Player and QuickTime.”

However WordPress plugins are specific to the WordPress platform which is the platform we build almost every website from.  Simly put, WordPress plugins allow the easy modification, customization, and enhancement to a WordPress website. So instead of changing the core programming of WordPress, you can add functionality by adding WordPress Plugins.

WordPress.org defines their plugins as “WordPress Plugin: A WordPress Plugin is a program, or a set of one or more functions, written in the PHP scripting language, that adds a specific set of features or services to the WordPress weblog, which can be seamlessly integrated with the weblog using access points and methods provided by the WordPress Plugin Application Program Interface (API).”

Plugins are available for almost any kind of enhancement that you’d like to make to your website.  From social bookmarking to e-commerce capibilities, you can find just about anything you’d like.  At the time of this writing, over 12,000 plugins are available and WordPress has a rating system in place to help you choose the one that will work best for your particular needs.

Because of that, I’m going to share with you a few of my favorites along with reviewing some of the newer plugins over the next coming weeks.  I will share with you why I like them, what the benefit is of using them on your website, and where you can find them.  You will be able to find them by clicking on the word “WordPress Plugins” in the tags posted in the right sidebar of this page.

This is going to be fun and I’m looking forward to bring these to you.

In the meantime, if you want to start checking out WordPress plugins yourself, head over to WordPress and see for yourself what kind of amazing things you can do with these little applications!

Leigha Baer

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