The Greatest Show On Earth.
This was the famous tagline for the The Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey Circus.
On the Internet, WordPress could arguably snag this title; at this writing, over 25 percent of all websites — on earth — are WordPress-based.
Like a circus, WordPress it has many moving parts, many players, many roles. One of the most important is that of the plugin. (I am talking about WordPress.org sites, which are different from this blog site on WordPress.com.)
There are hundreds of plugins to create awesome functionality: calendars, e-commerce, colorization, custom typography, cool buttons and icons, and much more.
When checking out a plugin, you first go to Plugins on the left side of the page, in that vertical menu.
- Installed Plugins shows what you already have in your WordPress.org site, which comes loaded with several. Not all are activated, and not all are necessary. It’s a good idea to delete the ones you don’t need, as they take up bandwidth.
- Add New lets you explore available plugins. Do a Keyword Search (form field, upper right corner area on page) the find a plugin to suit your needs.
- Editor is the section where you can edit the code for your plugin; not recommended for students in a class entitled “No-Code Websites…”. But if you are interested, there’s a great introduction to the plugin editor on the wpbeginner site.
Plugin Tips for the Newbie
- Check the number of Active Installs, and the ratings (both how many stars, and how many people rated it), of any plugin that interests you. Obviously, the more downloads and the higher ratings, the better.
- Once you download and activate a plugin, test it immediately. Don’t assume it will solve your problem and you’re done for the day. It may not meet your specific needs. In which case…
- Try multiple plugins. The great thing about plugins is that 1) the vast majority are free and 2) they’re easy to deactivate and delete. Find the one that will make your life easiest in the long run, in terms of editing your site. It’s worth the investment of time up-front!
Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.