Plug-ins are like boxes of chocolates. You never know what you’ll get. They promise you language translation and you get some sort of mysterious cream you can’t quite identify. Or maybe you’re expecting little chocolate turtles and you get the ones with the cherry in the middle.
You get the idea. I’ve taken a bite of many chocolates. And I can save you the time and trouble – if chocolates were WordPress plug-ins. To me, they are. I’m that nerdy, and obsessive, in a good way, and it really matters to me that my clients are happy.
So what is a WordPress plug-in? Last time I checked, there are well over 50,000 (yes, fifty thousand!) in the WordPress repository. I think a new one is born every 7 seconds. Well, they’re kind of like apps. There’s an app for everything, right? Weather, Social, Banking, anything.
Likewise, there’s a plug-in for all the things in the WordPress world. There are the usual amazing suspects: Woo commerce, Yoast SEO, Easy Digital Downloads, and powerful stuff like that. Then there are the ones you hear less about Smash Balloon Instagram Feed, image reduction or security options.
What is a WordPress plug-in? It’s code. That’s all. Code. We all know what code is. The plug-ins code adds functionality or features to our site. Or integrates them. And Extensions superpower the core functionality of plug-ins and trick out their capabilities.
These plug-ins have that extra something and are the go-to solution for many WordPress creators for a reason. Whether it is automatic backups, SEO, or security. I want to point you in the direction of some things that I’ve learned about WordPress plug-ins that I think can make your life a little bit easier. A jumping-off point when you’re starting out. There are a couple whose functions overlap so you’ll need to find which suits your needs best.
*In the interest of transparency, I do not receive any compensation and am not an affiliate for any of the plug-ins we discuss.
Woo commerce– e-commerce built for WordPress
Yoast SEO-Lots of SEO plugins for different needs
Ninja Forms-Drag and Drop WordPress form builder. Used on this website
W3 Total Cache-increasing website performance
Jetpack-Security, performance and marketing tools. Mixed bag of tools
Smash Balloon Instagram Feed-Other feeds, too. Used on this website
WPMU DEV – All-in-One WordPress Platform (the Hub to monitor many websites
Hummingbird Pro-Page speed optimizer
Smush Pro-Image Optimizer which helps page speed
Defender Pro-Fight hacker, brute for attacks and malicious bots
Snapshot Pro-Back ups