What Is a Plugin?

Your WordPress.com site is live, and you’re happily creating content when a menu item suddenly catches your eye: Plugins. “What is a plugin?” you ask yourself. “Are plugins important?”

Plugins extend the functionality of your WordPress.com site

Think of each plugin as an additional tool that serves a specific purpose on your website.

Perhaps you want the ability to create an online store, make your site show up higher in search engine results, or even allow your site to support multiple languages. These features don’t automatically come with a WordPress.com account, but you can add them using plugins.

Part of what makes WordPress.com so user-friendly is that you get easy access to features that would require multiple downloads on other platforms.

If you want your site to have additional functionalities, you can install plugins through a WordPress.com Pro plan. You can pick and choose from hundreds of plugins to address the particular needs of your site.

Popular plugin examples

To get an idea of what plugins can do, let’s look at a few common ones.

WooCommerce is the most popular plugin for building an online store. Once installed, you can sell products or services through an ecommerce store within minutes.

It’s important that your site’s search engine optimization (or SEO) is in top shape so that people who use search engines can find your page easily. While your WordPress.com site comes with out-of-the-box SEO features, you can further fine-tune your efforts by installing the popular Yoast plugin.

If you need to present your website to users who speak multiple languages, install the Polylang plugin. It allows you to create a bilingual or multilingual WordPress.com site.

Installing plugins on WordPress.com

How to install plugins

To install a plugin, navigate to the Plugins menu item and select your desired plugin from the list that appears. Plugins are grouped by four themes: Engagement, Security, Appearance, and Writing. You can also search for a specific plugin using the search function

Click on a plugin for more details about what it does and to see its user rating. Then, install the plugin or continue browsing for alternatives.

With the hundreds of features available through plugins, the possibilities for improving and growing your site are endless. You’re within reach of a treasure trove of added site features and functionalities.


Jonathan Bossenger

Open source software and things.

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