An Intro to WordPress Plugins: What Are WP Plugins?

WordPress has an incredible number of plugins available to help you build your site or blog. We'll explain what wp plugins are and list some of our favorites! - cable plugging into cloud

Did you know that an estimated 35% of all websites are WordPress hosted and developed? This is largely thanks to the incredible versatility WordPress offers businesses of all sizes. From individual bloggers to massive Fortune 500 companies, WordPress has something to offer everyone.

One of the key foundational reasons WordPress is so popular is because of its plugin features. WordPress plugins are essential for ensuring all fundamental web design tasks run well.

If you're still a bit confused about WordPress plugins, don't stress.

We'll even give you a list of some of our favorite plugins, WP style!


What Exactly Are WordPress Plugins?

An intro to WordPress plugins: what are WP plugins? - wordpress plugins - your wp guy - two women working on their taxes happily in a shop - WordPress has an incredible number of plugins available to help you build your site we'll explain what WordPress plugins are and list some of our favorites!

WordPress plugins help to add new functionalities to any WordPress site. By using them, we're able to enhance the default setups with new features.

Simply put, WP plugins are a way to customize a WordPress site, much like apps on a smartphone.

Built in PHP script, plugins can help you with a variety of functions including:

  • Website performance
  • SEO and Google rankings
  • Contact forms
  • Social media buttons or other link buttons
  • Creation of media galleries
  • And much more!

There are almost 60,000 WordPress plugins available, and more are being built every day. WOWZA. Most of them are completely free, though this means they likely won't come with fast tech support, if any. So it depends what make sense for you and your budget. A free experience or a fee experience.

But, with the help of a professional web designer, investing in WP plugins can take your site to the next level.

What Are the Best Plugins to Use? 

Some plugins are considered must-use (MU) plugins. These plugins are automatically activated as soon as they're installed, without the user having to do anything. I don’t know about you but we sure love having one less thing to do!  These plugins often perform essential functions for WordPress sites too. Such as SEO ranking, backups, security or spam prevention.

Some MU WP plugins that we love include:

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is a popular WP plugin used, as the name suggests, for SEO. Web developers and content marketers can use Yoast SEO to help them rank better on search engines, which is vital for every website. We all are just trying to stay top of searches AND top of mind when it comes to promoting our businesses.

One essential way Yoast SEO does this is by analyzing the web page content. Then, it will give the user suggestions for how to optimize the content, such as blog posts, for search engines.

Other functionalities of Yoast SEO include:

  • Optimize keywords
  • Create XML sitemaps
  • Analysis of internal links
  • Analysis and suggestions for readability

WP Rocket

Another popular plugin that's all about optimization, WP Rocket is essential for most websites. WP Rocket helps to minimize site loading times, so audiences can get to the site content faster.

WP Rocket works by making sure images are only loaded as visitors scroll through the page. This way, our site isn't trying to load everything all at once. Hooray for less buffering!

By doing so, WP Rocket also works to minimize the weight of our code. With this plugin HTML, CSS, and Javascript files won’t reduce your website down to slug speed.


An intro to wordpress plugins: what are wp plugins? - your wp guy - kid with home make rocket strapped to its back, with chalk clouds drawn on the wall - WordPress has an incredible number of plugins available to help you build your site we'll explain what WordPress plugins are and list some of our favorites!

As essential as a WordPress backup, JetPack ensures the safety of our website. JetPack provides malware protection, security, and speed to help keep a website running smoothly.

JetPack even provides web developers with automatic backups and offers easy restores. Plus, there's also malware and spam protection thanks to JetPack's regular scans.

The list of all of JetPack's features is a long one. But, in summary, it's an almost essential plugin for website maintenance and security. So unfortunately, you can’t fly with this JetPack but at least your peace of mind will soar.

WP Merge

The WP Merge plugin is essential if you've created a site backup. This is because it will clone any changes you make on the live site to the dev backup and vice versa. WAIT REALLY? I always wanted a twin.

YES! WP Merge saves you from having to meticulously make notes of any changes and replicate them. Instead, this data plugin will do all the work, making website development that much simpler.

It's also great for those working with the development and/or content team. Now, we won't have to track the many changes made for one or the other. Which means more me time for you, sweet sweet me time!

Gravity Forms

Most websites will want some kind of contact form, so their customers and audience can get in touch with them. The Gravity Forms plugin makes what could be a complicated task that much simpler. Still not understanding the full gravity of the situation?

Well rest assured, no advanced technical skills are required to use Gravity Forms. Even order forms that include pricing information are a breeze with this plugin.

Gravity Forms can be especially useful when paired with a theme like WP Rentals for business use. Gravity Forms combined with WP Rentals plugins can make booking and ordering for hospitality businesses that much easier, move over AirBnb!

Akismet Spam Protection

An intro to wordpress plugins: what are wp plugins? - wp plugins - your wp guy - the word spam written on paper and circled in pink marker - WordPress has an incredible number of plugins available to help you build your site we'll explain what WordPress plugins are and list some of our favorites!

One thing that won’t make things easier on your site are hostile sources such as bots. They can create a real problem for websites. By filling a site with spam, these bots can reduce your speed, security, and credibility.

That's why the Akismet plugin is so vital. It will scan comments and contact form submissions to keep an eye out for potential spam. So you don’t have to! I can hear the hallelujah chorus singing right now.

Akismet works by using its extensive global database of previously submitted spam. It compares the comments on your site with its database to prevent any spam from filtering through.

Some other features of Akismet include:

  • Comment status history, so you can see when, where, and why spam was flagged
  • Hidden links revealed in any comments
  • Discard feature to automatically delete spam and free up space

Why Are WordPress Plugins Important to Your Small Business?

With WordPress plugins, small businesses can make sure that they have all the features they need without breaking the bank or wasting any time. It's like having superpowers in your pocket - when leveraged properly, WordPress plugins can turn an ordinary site into an extraordinary one.

Small businesses often don't have enough resources to hire professionals to customize their websites - but with WordPress plugins, you don't need to spend extra money on custom development services. Need to sell products online? There's a plugin for that. Need to set up a contact form? There's a plugin for that too. Plus, WordPress plugins can help save time compared to developing custom solutions - and that means more time focusing on other aspects of running a business effectively.

WordPress Development & Support Done Right!

Now that you know more about some popular and incredibly useful WP plugins, you can go about customizing and improving any WordPress site. However, to really get the most out of the WordPress experience, it's best to work with a professional web developer.

Request an appointment with us to get started with professional web development & support today. We'll work together to build a top-notch fast and polished site.

An Intro to WordPress Plugins: What Are WP Plugins? Summary

• WordPress is the most popular host and development platform for websites, estimated to host 35% of all sites.

• WordPress plugins are essential for customizing a WordPress site, like apps on a smart phone.

• There are almost 60,000 WordPress plugins available, allowing users to customize their site for performance, SEO ranking, contact forms, media galleries and more.

• Must-use (MU) plugins are automatically activated and often perform essential functions such as SEO ranking, backups or security.

• Popular MU WP plugins include Yoast SEO, WP Rocket, JetPack and Gravity Forms.

• Working with a professional web developer is recommended to get the most out of one's WordPress experience.

An Intro to WordPress Plugins: What Are WP Plugins? FAQs

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