WordPress Plugins

Dec 20, 2013
spoke

wordpressplugins

WHAT ARE WORDPRESS PLUGINS?

Plugins can add features and functionality to virtually any element of your WordPress site. In fact, themes, content, and plugins are like three basic components that go into creating a WordPress website. If your theme is what gives your website its look and feel and your content includes the articles, videos, blogs, and multimedia that your viewers are really looking for, your plugins help provide the extra features that jazz up your platform and content with additional abilities.

Lego

DO I NEED PLUGINS?

I like to think of a basic WordPress install and theme like I would a basic set of LEGOs. It’s an important starting point, and you can build houses and spaceships that are bulky and square, but you’re limited. Plugins are like specialty LEGO sets that you buy at the store–each one coming with special pieces that can’t be found anywhere else. So, the answer is definitely YES, you need plugins to make your website awesome.
For example, a basic WordPress install doesn’t have a pre-installed pdf viewer. To add that function, hover your mouse over the “Plugins” menu item in WordPress and you’ll see the “Add New” option.

 

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Once you click on that, type “pdf viewer” into the search bar that appears. A list of possible pdf viewer plugins will appear and you can click “Install Now” once you decide which one you want. Be sure and visit the “Details” link before installing and using a widget — often a developer will give you a quick tutorial of how to use their plugin, and many times what you see there will help you decide whether the plugin will actually be helpful to you.  And for your pdf viewer, I would recommend both Google Doc Embedder and Spiderpowa Embed PDF.

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SO WHAT DO I DO WIDGET?

Widgets give you another useful way to enhance your website. Widgets are nothing more than small scripts that add features to special content areas in your theme.  You can add and edit them the Appearance/Widgets menu item in WordPress (see the image below, and note that not every theme will include all the same content areas).

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Common widgets add features like a list of your latest posts, a tag cloud, a photo, or even an embedded multimedia player. Many useful widgets can be added to your site by installing a plugin, and once they’re installed they show up here in the “Widgets” page under the “Appearance” menu item. Get creative and see what you can find.

WHERE DO I START?

To help you begin your quest for increased functionality on your WordPress website, we’ve pulled together a list of a few plugins that we’d recommend to just about anybody:

Photo Gallery

http://www.nextgen-gallery.com

PDF Uploader

http://wordpress.org/plugins/google-document-embedder

Social Media Widgets

http://wordpress.org/plugins/social-media-widget

Contact Form

http://wordpress.org/plugins/contact-form-7

Under Construction Page

http://wordpress.org/plugins/underconstruction

Broken Link Checker

http://wordpress.org/plugins/broken-link-checker

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For more help, check out our six-part WordPress video series on www.youtube.com/Bluehost