Your business website is much more than just the content that people see on the screens. There are a whole host of plugins running behind the scenes to power e-commerce, social media integration, and other features. When any one of them fails, your site malfunctions and the customer experience suffers.
What are plugins? And why should you care about them? Here’s what you need to know:
What’s a Plugin?
At the most basic level, a plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. In other words, you can add new features and functionality to your site without needing to know any code.
Anyone who has administrative access to a site can install a plugin. Many plugins are available for free through the WordPress store and installing them is as simple as a few clicks. Sounds great, right?
However, plugins do not come with technical support, so you are on your own for installing, managing, and troubleshooting them. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
While plugins can add value to your website, they can also create a lot of headaches for you if they are not managed correctly. If a plugin installation or update fails, it can take your entire website offline. This is rare, but it can happen.
Because plugins don’t come with technical support, it can be difficult to know who to contact for help when something goes wrong. As you’ll see, a WordPress plugin hosting service can help in this regard by taking the burden of maintenance off of your shoulders.
What Can Plugins Do?
Again, if managed correctly, WordPress plugins can take your site from basic text and images to a dynamic online representation of your business that allows customers to buy your products, connect with your team, and help new customers find your website.
There are more than 45,000 WordPress plugins available that can do just about everything imaginable. If you can think of a feature or function, chances are there’s a plugin for it.
How do you know where to start? There are a few basics, like security and anti-spam protection, that just about every website needs. Some of these will come pre-installed with your WordPress theme or be added automatically when you start working with a website developer.
Beyond that, here are a few of the most popular WordPress plugins:
- Yoast SEO: This is the gold standard for search engine optimization. Adding it to your website will ensure that your content is clear and concise, and that your website is aligned with the keywords you want to target.
- WooCommerce: This plugin is one of the most common for e-commerce. You can quickly set up product pages, shopping carts, payment processing, and everything else you need to sell products and services on your website.
- Contact Form 7: As you might guess, this plugin is all about creating forms for your customers to get in touch with your business. With little or no technical experience, you can create a form that’s simple to use and put it anywhere on your website.
- Social Share Buttons: These are the buttons at the bottom of many web pages that allow you to easily share the content on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Having this plugin installed is a great way to build your organic following by making it easy for your customers to spread the word about you on social media.
As you start to expand your website and become more familiar with what’s available, you’ll likely see opportunities for additional plugins you can add. A web designer or developer can also recommend plugins based on your business goals.
WordPress Plugin Update Service
Once you’ve chosen your plugins and added them to your site, the next step is to make sure they are up to date. Like any application, plugin developers update them regularly to add new features and keep them safe and secure.
Plugin updates will be available in the “Updates” section of your WordPress dashboard. From there, you can choose which plugins to update. There’s also an option to deactivate a plugin if something goes wrong during installation.
A WordPress plugin update service gives someone else the responsibility of making sure the plugins are up to date so you can focus on managing and growing your business. Conversion Strategies offers this service as part of our website maintenance packages.
We will automatically check your site’s plugins to make sure that they are up to date and handle any updates that are necessary. We will also make sure your site is backed up before we install any updates so you don’t lose any valuable data.
Add our WordPress plugin updates service on its own, or incorporate it as part a larger website maintenance package that also includes hosting, content, security, and more. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you make the most of your website.