WordPress 101: Using Plugins to Add Functionality

Like building with Legos, plugins add additional features to WordPress at any time. Start small then build over time!

wordpress pluginsA plug-in is a small bit of code that sits on top of your WordPress installation and increases the functionality of your website in some way. Plugins allow your blog to have more features and to do more than it could when you first installed it. Most plug-ins are written in the PHP scripting language and add an additional feature or function to your website. TRANSLATION: Experts in computer programming are creating little bits of code that will enhance your website. These are free or “premium”, which cost a fraction of what you would pay to have this custom-built.

Plugins integrate seamlessly with WordPress so there’s no messing with your WordPress code. That’s another great thing about plug-ins. They don’t actually affect your original WordPress install. They reside separately and interact with WordPress. I do however, recommend that you hire an expert to help you with this. Adding too many or plugins from unreliable sources can slow down, break or open up your website to being hacked.

Let’s review a few types of functionality that you may want to add to your website:

Photo Galleries

Plugin to allow for albums of photos with ease of admin management. Galleries can be used to show events, before/after of your work, sample work projects and more. Images can be displayed small (thumbnails) then enlarged to show details.

My website uses two different plugins. The first adds a carousel to add rotating thumbnails in my web design section. This enhances the text area by showing a snapshot of my ability. I also have a portfolio with larger samples of my work. Plugins make creating and managing images EASY – you can upload the original image through the backend interface and it will be resized for you. You can change the order and details. This is a huge time saver on trying to do this manually!

Videos

Can be added to pages or posts with ease, or incorporated into the design elements. The easiest way to add a video is by first uploading it to YouTube, then “embedding” it into your website. Plugins can make this easier—rather than having to generate the “embed code” from YouTube, you can use the link to the video along with a few “short codes” (a little bit of text that will then display the video like you want).

Audio / Podcasting

Plugins make it easy to display an audio player on your website. This is a great way to include a welcome message or repurpose live talks, webinars or teleseminars as part of your sales process. Podcasting is more advanced, it is distributing audio or video content via RSS 2.0, or Atom. Podcast clients such as iTunes allow listeners to subscribe to your RSS/Atom feed and automatically download your content to their portable audio players as it becomes available. If you are doing a radio show online or on air or want to enhance your blog, this can be an option for you.

Digital Access Pass (DAP) –  MY FAVORITE MEMBERSHIP PLUGIN!

Digital Access Pass (DAP)Digital Access Pass (DAP) – Membership sites made simple! Take your existing (& future) content and turn it into a completely automated, recurring-revenue generating membership web site…using “content dripping”, email autoresponders, and a built-in affiliate program. The tech features of this plugin and support are fantastic. We highly recommend!

  • Sell 1 product, or hundreds.
  • Create 1 membership level – or Multiple (unlimited).
  • Sell 1-time products, or recurring-subscription programs.
  • Even use DAP to sell live events and coaching programs.

Wishlist Member

Wishlist MemberWishlist Member – If your business is ready to build a simple membership site, we recommend using Wishlist Member. WishList Member is a powerful solution for creating an online membership site – all built using WordPress as the core content management system. It’s easy to control access to your content, accept payments, manage your members and so much more! It works great for simple sites. For more complex sites, we recommend Digital Access Pass (DAP). My consulting can help you determine what your needs are.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO plugins by Yoast –  Create search engine optimized web pages and blog posts. You need content that attracts the people who are looking for what you have to sell, and search is a huge source of motivated buyers. Yoast SEO incorporates everything from a snippet editor and real time page analysis functionality that helps you optimize your pages content, images titles, meta descriptions and more to XML sitemaps, and loads of optimization options in between. They also make related plugins to create a robust SEO solution (NOTE: THIS DOES TAKE ON-GOING EFFORT!!)

eCommerce

Use PayPal or a fully featured shopping cart application suitable for selling your products, services, and or fees online.

Calendar

The simplest way is to add events to your blog as a regular post. A more advanced feature is to promote your networking events with a calendar. There are many plugin options available if you need to display as listings, months or both. I can work with you on a custom solution.

Advanced User Registration

Use a custom-branded login page. This is a great option for membership sites.

And many, many more!


PS - I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed by reading blog posts full of ideas, tactics and tools. Be honest...

  • How frustrated will you be trying to implement this on your own?
  • How much time will you waste if it's not your next best step?
  • Did you just take the time to read this but you won't make any changes?
  • Or are you ready to take a small next step to build your brand?
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Virtuallinda (Linda Schenk)

I work with service-based entrepreneurs to attract more ideal leads, 24/7. My practical and flexible approach will help you to “Simplify. Build. Profit. Repeat.” I offer a custom blend of 23+ years of expertise in marketing, websites, brand identity, strategy, tech solutions and more. My skills link together like LEGO Bricks to create a custom fit for you.

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