Plugins like themes can easily get people confused. The theme is the basic look and functionality of your site. Plugins can help your site be more user friendly and can even provide additional functionality to your site. Plugins for your wordpress site are similar to apps for your smartphone. They allow you to do more in one place.
A word of caution – not all themes are compatible with all plugins and not all plugins are compatible with all themes. Most current themes and plugins do work well together, but sometimes an update to one can cause issues on your site.
Plugins like themes can be free and/or paid. I personally use both free and paid plugins on my sites. Connie Ragen Green and Adrienne Dupree have a great report on the Top 20 WordPress Plugins for Business – offering both free and paid recommendations – click here to get your copy.
The easiest plugin for most people to start using is Askimet. Askimet blocks spam comments, so you don’t have to waste your time and energy on all that junk. Askimet is already installed on your website when you install wordpress. You will have to take the steps to get your key, but this is free to do, just follow the instructions in the settings area of the plugin.
One of my personal favorites is the Pretty Link Plugin, it allows you to make your links – well – pretty. You can name them whatever you like and make them unique as well as easier to remember. I mean let’s face it our affiliate links don’t look nice, so this is an easy way to make them look nice. Another great benefit of Pretty Link is that you can start with the free version and upgrade to the paid version when you are ready.
Beyond the Basics
Once you have the best plugins for business, you may still need something specific to your industry or just something you want your website to do. For instance on some of my niche sites, I use a plugin that automatically posts content, so in case I get behind, my site never looks stale. This is not a plugin I want on all my sites, but it is helpful for some sites. As ecommerce continues to grow, there are many plugin options to turn your site into an ecommerce site too.
I have also tried some plugins that help you build sales pages, but I find them overwhelming and tend to forget to actually use them, so I have stopped trying. But you should see what works for you, and know that you can deactivate and delete any plugin from your site if it is not doing what you want it to do.
A word of warning about plugins
Don’t add too many to your site, it can slow down your site and that can drive away visitors. It also is seen as slow site by Google and that is said to get you less exposure. You don’t want to do anything that deters Google, or any other search engine from showing your site to eager viewers.
The WordPress marketplace is a trusted marketplace to shop for plugins. Make sure any plugin you choose has been updated recently, if there are no recent updates, you should probably make a different choice. The other way to add a plugin to your site is to upload it directly to your site. When using this type of plugin make sure it has come from a trusted source, you don’t want anything you upload to your site to do harm. I try to make sure that I know someone who has used the plugin or that I know and trust the developer.
There are thousands of plugins for WordPress, you can get lost in all the options. Start with Connie and Adrienne’s Guide to get you started, then branch out slowly when you are ready. If you can’t find a plugin that does what you want you may be able to have one built just for you.
Good luck and use the plugins to help your site make you more productive.