WordPress was launched in 2003, at which time it was little more than a blog-cum-online-journal people would use to record their personal opinions and it with the rest of the world. Not satisfied with limiting itself just to blogging websites, WordPress plodded forward with determination to grab the attention of a wider audience. Soon enough, it established itself as the content management software (CMS) of choice for not just blogging but non-blogging websites as well.
One of the best features of WordPress is the ease with which you are allowed to modify, customize, or enhance the blog/ website without having to change its core programming. WP’s famous plugin architecture allows you to insert a program written in PHP scripting language. This way you aren’t stuck with a CMS weighed down by a whole lot of features you may or may not need, unnecessarily draining the resources of the site. Instead, based on what your requirements are, you get to add a selection of specific functionalities to your site using the right plugins.
So … want to add a smart looking event calendar to your site? Why not? You think a video gallery will make your blog pop? No problem. Want to give your site the social networking boost? Of course, with pleasure! Want to spark an intensive discussion with your audience? Done deal.
Sounds pretty nifty, doesn’t it, especially if I were to tell you that there are thousands of WordPress plugins available for the taking. Some are paid, most are free (because people associated with the WordPress realm are just so generous!) and they cover almost every functionality you can think of. Trust me, if you imagined adding a specific feature to your website, somebody somewhere will have already anticipated your needs and coded up a plugin for you to use. If you can’t find what you are looking for, be patient. Somebody is probably designing a plugin this very minute.
Choosing WordPress plugins for your site is a lot harder than you may think. The sheer variety can knock you off your feet. Choose the right ones and your site will automatically become engaging and productive. Choose the wrong ones and you will see site traffic and rankings take a hit. Choose too many and your website will become sluggish, leaving your audience with a growing sense of frustration as they navigate through it.
There is yet another reason why you must choose WordPress plugins with a lot of care – to guarantee the security of your website. Don’t get me wrong. WordPress, in itself, is not vulnerable to security risks. The CMS has some fabulous security measures built into it; but each plugin you install provides a tiny little gateway to hackers and mischief makers who are looking to exploit the system.
I don’t want you to start panicking here and delete every single plugin you may have installed on your site. Or attempt to learn the art of coding to make all your plugins from scratch. Ready to use plugins are a lifesaver, and as long as you get them from reliable websites, there is very little to worry about.
Speaking of which, what ARE some of the websites from where you can shop for WordPress plugins with relative peace of mind? The first one that comes to mind is WordPress.com. But obviously! WordPress has made an extensive library that chronicles over 28,000 top plugins from across the CMS world. The plugins listed here are among the best that the WordPress community has to offer. You can search the library with ease, download a plugin of your choice, read reviews about it, and leave your own, if you want. Searching for plugins has hardly ever been this convenient.
Yet another great place to look for WordPress plugins would be Yoast. Most popularly known for their SEO plugin (hands down the best in the market), Yoast has a fairly good track record of making WordPress sites work faster and more efficiently. This team of highly motivated individuals are extremely passionate about what they do and some of the biggest brands like Facebook, The Guardian, and eBay seek out their skill and expertise as consultants. All in all, if it’s a plugin from Yoast, you can place your trust in it … without any reservations.
When you are speaking of WordPress plugins, you can’t get away without mentioning WooThemes. Six years ago, 3 WordPress enthusiasts from three different parts of the world met online and started selling a few commercial themes. Today, they’ve grown into a team of international designers and developers that has dedicated itself to making a fabulous suite of plugins and themes. Observing the rate at which they’re progressing, it’s not going to be very long before they will realize their ambition of becoming “the ultimate WordPress platform provider”.
At the end of the day, there’s no escaping the fact that plugins are integral to a WordPress site. If you’ve opted for this famous content management system, you will eventually end up installing some plugins to improve the functionality of the website and tailor it to your demands.
But how do you preserve the integrity of your website while increasing its user-friendliness? By selecting carefully, keeping the total number of plugins down to only the most essential ones, and being mindful of the source you are buying from. If you are able to do that, you’ll know that you’ve struck a perfectly harmonious balance that will translate into success for your website.
Hi. I am a Delhi-based design professional and a graduate from the National Institute of Design. Currently, I work for Web Design Company, Addictive Media’s Digital Design Division. In every project I undertake, I try and balance form as well as functionality. Whenever I have some spare time on my hands, I turn my attention to interests like photography, writing, and travel blogging.
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