I can’t say enough about WordPress! Seriously. (if I didn’t love it, do you think I’d have a WordPress mug?)
Along with being one of the most powerful tools you can use for developing your brand online, it’s also a very user-friendly way for non-tech people to manage their own site.
Plugins: Adding Functionality
Another thing that’s great about WordPress is that it gives you the ability for you to add plugins that can really beef up what your site can do for you.
Plugins can give you the ability to add features like:
- simple contact forms
- robust multi-page forms
- ecommerce (sell stuff!)
- the ability to have paid memberships
- play media files (music, video)
- display impressive slideshows
- and really almost anything you can think of.
Why WordPress plugins are awesome:
- Plugins can save you a lot of money in development costs. If you had to pay a team of developers to create a custom solutions you could end up spending thousands of dollars, then be married to that developer for updates and modifications.
- Generally easy to install. Depending on the plugin it often can be as easy as doing a search for the plugin you’re looking for, then click install. There is some setup required for each plugin. The level of setup complexity is determined on how powerful the plugin, how much extra functionality it adds to the site.
- One-click updates. A very cool thing about WordPress is that it lets you know when there is a new version of your plugin available. In most cases, all you have to do is click the automatic update buttons and you’re done.
Somethings to be aware of:
- Plugins that suck! Not all plugins are created equally. There are some amazing plugins out there, and there are some out there that are just very poorly written. A good thing to do is ask for recommendations. Check with others who use plugins for what you are looking to do. People are generally pretty happy to give you the benefit of their experience with plugins, both good and bad.
- Conflicts. Even if a plugin is comprised of well written code, it may conflict with other code; code used in your site’s theme, or often you may find your newly installed plugin has a conflict with one of your other previously installed plugins. If your new plugin is one you just have to use, then you might need to make a choice between the two conflicting plugins.
- You just might not be able to find a plugin that does what you need. Or, it might do part of what you need, but just won’t be the perfect solution. Then you can either make a compromise and come as close as you can with a plugin, or start looking for a developer to make you a custom solution that does exactly what you need.
Free vs Premium
There are a ton of free plugins out there. An a lot of them are very good. But always remember… you often get what you pay for. Most of the plugins that I use on sites are free plugins, but they are awesome and made up of very well written code. I’ve done my research, I’ve tried a lot of plugins, I’ve refined my list of ones I like to use. My favorite plugins are premium plugins. For a couple of these, such as Gravity Forms and Cart66, I’ve paid for the developer’s license and it’s been worth every penny.
Wrap it up, Ted!
So if you’re using WordPress you should definitely be aware of plugins and what they can do for your site.
If you’re not using WordPress yet, call me. I’ll give you countless (or at least a lot of) reasons why you should be. (but at least now you know about plugins :))