Join Carrie Dils for an in-depth discussion in this video Finding plugins that meet your needs, part of WordPress and Genesis DIY: Small Business Website.
- Let's talk a bit about finding and selecting plugins. So far we've focused on our content and the site design. Now it's time to look at extending the functionality we already have to help us achieve our site goals. Just like themes, there's a lot of plugins out there to choose from. For instance, in the wordpress.org plugin directory alone, there are over 35,000 plugins available. Another place to search for plugins is at managewp.org. This is still a search of the WordPress plugin repository, but it has some additional search features and comparison tools that can come in really handy.
Of course, you can always turn to Google for your plugin search as well, where you'll turn up even more free or paid plugins. A lot of plugin authors choose not to post their plugins on wordpress.org, but will sell them on their own websites or maybe even give them away on a repository like gethub.com. So all these places to look for plugins! This means that as a WordPress user, you need to be pretty savvy about how to pick your plugins. At WordPress meetups, and WordCamps, one of the most frequent questions I hear from new WordPress users is,"How do I find out which plugins I should use?" Well in the rest of this video, I'll give you some tips for selecting and installing plugins.
I like to search for plugins from right within my WordPress Admin. You can do the same by going to your WordPress site, going to the Admin area, and then clicking on the Plugins link. Then click the Add New button, and that'll take you to this plugins page. Here you get a list of all the available plugins from the wordpress.org plugin directory. You get a quick overview for each plugin, including the name, how many active installs there are, and when the plugin was last updated. One of the things you may encounter is outdated plugins.
The nature of Open Source is that a plugin author might create a plugin, but then abandon it for whatever reason. My rule of thumb is to steer clear of any plugin that hasn't had an update in a year or more, unless I just know the plugin author and trust that their code is up to date. Based on all this information, I can install whatever plugin I want into my site and then test it to see if it works. Now here's a tip: when you install a new plugin, check your site after each one to see that things work the way they're supposed to. Most of the time when you add a new plugin you're just adding functionality to your site and everything will work great.
And every once and a while you might add a plugin that either conflicts with another plugin, or causes some other problems, so don't be surprised if you occasionally come across a plugin that doesn't play nicely with your site. If you stick to installing and checking plugins one by one you'll find put quickly if there's a problem and you can simply uninstall that plugin and find an alternative. To install any plugin, you can simply click the Install Now button, and then activate the plugin. So now that you know where to find plugins, and a few basics of what to look for, let's look at some plugins I've selected to help with this site.
Find more courses in this series in our WordPress DIY playlist.
- Understanding your site goals
- Making a content inventory
- Choosing a theme and plugins
- Configuring theme settings
- Finding and installing plugins such as Ninja Forms
- Adding custom styles
- Securing your site and managing spam