Plugins: Everything You Need to Know About These Awesome Tools for Your Website

WordPress Plugins

You might be asking yourself, “What exactly is a plugin?”. Chances are, your website is already using one if not several plugins. These awesome bites of software add customized functionality to your website – think contact forms, SEO builders, mobile optimization, security protection…the list goes on and on. We’re excited to give you the rundown on plugins and discuss some of our favorites as well.

Plugins 101

Plugins are open-source (meaning the code is adjustable) software made up of PHP code and may include JavaScript, CSS, and images. They are fast and easy to install on your site, and easy to navigate as well. Because they are open-source and the WordPress developer community is vast, a wide array of plugins are available. The result is custom functionality for your site without manually adjusting the site’s code. The other awesome part about plugins? Many versions are absolutely free!

Popular Versions

Hammersmith Support includes plugins on our sites because they add functionality and allow us to customize each site with our clients’ needs in mind. Some of the most popular are:

  • Gravity Forms:  Build complex powerful forms, polls, quizzes and more
  • Yoast SEO: Optimize for keywords, keyphrases, synonyms, build a sitemap, etc.
  • Smart Crawler: SEO page scanner
  • Advanced Custom Fields: Add fields to your pages
  • Defender: A premium security plugin that monitors activity on your site as well as reporting on vulnerabilities and necessary updates

A Word of Caution

We would be remiss if we didn’t tell you about the potential pitfalls of using plugins. Just like your overall website, plugins should be updated on a monthly basis. Taking too long to update could potentially cause your site to be corrupted and not work properly or worse, leave your site open to hackers who exploit outdated versions of plugins to install malware. Once your site is out of date, it is likely that running updates will cause conflicts or issues that will could render parts of your site unusable. In any case, before launching or updating a plugin, be sure to copy your site as is. After activating or updating your plugins, test the site’s functionality (think lead forms, sign-ups, adding new content, etc.) to ensure all is well on the site.

How Hammersmith Support Can Help

If we lost you at backing up your site – let Hammersmith Support help! We offer monthly maintenance packages where we can keep your site up-to-date, running smoothly, including other vital maintenance, and content updates. In addition, Hammersmith Support is offering free training sessions that include tips on how to maintain and understand your WordPress website.

Book your free WordPress training session today!