Introducing WordPress Plugins
In this video, we're going to take a look at WordPress plugins. Now plugins are extra code that you can add to your site to add extra features. Unfortunately, plugins are packaged very nicely so that it makes it super easy to add and remove plugins. First let's go to wordpress.org and see what kinds of things are available. This is "wordpress.org/plugins" and we're here on the featured page. You'll note at the top that it says there are 47,624 plugins available. On the featured page, we can see Beebe press which is forum software and buddypress which can help turn your entire site into something like Facebook. Jetpack is actually a meta plugin. It contains a whole bunch of other plugins. Akismet helps keep spam off your site, theme check make sure that your theme is actually up to snuff and WP super cache can help make your site go extra fast. But if we click popular we can see that there are at least 34 pages of them. Google Analytics by monster insights helps integrate Google Analytics with your site. All-in-one SEO is for SEO just like Yoast - their competitors - and they do things a little bit differently but they're both excellent. Google XML sitemaps WooCommerce is for e-commerce. Contact form 7 ads contact forms to your site. The list goes on and on and on. So how do you get these, you ask? Well, actually what we want to do is go back to our site and under plugins I'm just going to click install plugins. You'll see that we already have three. I have one called akismet which is to keep spam off the site but it is not active at the moment it's just sitting there. Hello Dolly is kind of a toy. It was written Matt Mullenweg and was one of the very first plugins, and it's sort of a demonstration. Lastly, I have here the WordPress beta tester which allows me to get beta versions of WordPress if I want them. So now I want to add a new one. I can either click add new on the left or add new at the top - they do the same thing. Now I can see a bunch of plugins that are just suggested, featured, popular and you'll note that these are all the same plugins that were on the other site. That's because they are just recommended and then if you have an account at wordpress.org you can get your own favorites. I have an account so I'm going to put in my name and click get favorites and these are my favorites. So to install one, all you have to do is click the Install Now button. Then what I want is down the page here a little bit and it's called simple page ordering. So now I'm going to click install now and it is installed but it's not working yet. I need to activate it. Fortunately, I can do that right here and now it is active you can see it in the list and you can tell it's active because it's a light blue color and there's deactivate now. What does this plug-in do you might ask? Well in the video about making pages, I pointed out that you could order them by changing that number in the little box. Well this plugin allows us to simply grab them and reorder them, this way. So by dragging aquarium under civics, I made it a child of civics. I move it up, it's not anymore. If I move it below home safety then it's still its own parent but it is below civics. Now this is only useful if the theme uses that number but if your theme does use that number then dragging and dropping these is way better than going into every one of them and changing that number, trying to get them all in the right order. Now when a new version of a plug-in comes out, WordPress will tell you there will be a little indicator up here by the comments bubble. They're leaning the cater here next to plugins and if you click it you'll be able to click update. Right here there's a bulk actions option so if you click both of these you can activate and now Akismet is active. It put up this alert and Hello Dolly is active. All it does is put lyrics to the songs Hello Dolly right up here. So I don't want either one of them active anymore so I'm going to deactivate something. That's important to remember. Is that not all plugins are equal in quality. Some of them are written quite poorly and can actually slow down your site quite a lot. Some of them haven't been updated in quite a while. Let's take a look at how we can tell some of those things. If I click add new (we'll just pick this one just arbitrarily), there's a more details link. It says warning this plug-in has not been tested with your current version of WordPress. Now since I'm running a beta version of WordPress, that doesn't surprise me but over here on the right I can see it's compatible with up to 4.4.5. It's probably compatible with the latest version but you can't be sure. You can see there are three hundred plus active installs; you can see who the author is and when it was last updated. This one was last updated just two weeks ago, so we know that George is keeping it up to snuff. We have six ratings and the average rating is five stars so it's probably pretty good. Once you've spent a little time in the WordPress community, you'll start recognising more and more contributors. I recognise almost all of these people and they're quite excellent developers so I can tell that this is a good plugin, also by the people developing it. If you go to other notes it tells you where you can get together with the developers to help work on this plug-in, maybe ask questions, etc. All of the plugins have this. More details link here. It has features, active installs, compatible up to 4.7. Here are the reviews. If you click reviews, you can actually see the reviews so before installing a plugin make sure you read the more details. Make sure it does what you want. If you find that you don't want a plug-in you can simply deactivate it and then delete it from your site. I also recommend that you delete any plugins that you don't have active. WordPress plugins that are not active can still be accessed from the web and if there's a security hole then it can still be abused so it's common for people to deactivate a plug-in but leave it, thinking that it's not hurting anything and never look at it again. Years later it's still sitting there and it might have a security flaw that has been patched but you haven't updated because it's deactivated. So, to reiterate, if you're not using a plug-in please delete it. You can get it back any time you want as you build your site think carefully about what you need your site to do and look for plugins that do, that don't just install plug-ins that are neato or fun because they can slow your site down. That said, if it's your own personal blog and you're having a wonderful time, go for it.