A plugin is a piece of software, often in the form of a code, that enables a digital application, website or program to perform additional actions that it might not have been able to do on its own. These software additions can be essential to the performance of a browser or web page but are often used to boost or improve the overall user experience online or within a web design.
Plugins have quickly become an essential part of the browsing experience, either through actual necessity in order to view videos and images (e.g. Adobe Flash Player), or as an aid to creating and sharing content online. Plugins on WordPress, for example, make the design and implementation of web pages and their SEO features much simpler, and ultimately improve the entire web development experience.
What Can A Plugin Be Used For?
There are different forms of plugins available to be downloaded, including for web browsers, WordPress and other software applications. Programs that support plugins offer customisation for users in new ways, adding additional functions to the otherwise default program and adding a sense of originality in some cases.
For browsers, plugins are often referred to as extensions for this reason, as each one tends to offer something new to the Internet browsing experience. Ad-blocking software plugins, for example, attract over 12.2 million people every month, while the likes of Adobe Flash Player and QuickTime Player make viewing specific content types much simpler.
On WordPress, the plugins tend to revolve around improving your website’s SEO or the overall design and ease of use of the web development project. WordPress has its own Plugin Directory, but some of the more popular plugins include YoastSEO for easy implementation of the best optimisation practices, SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant for better-optimised content and Google XML Sitemaps, for a Google-recognised sitemap that makes crawling the page easier.
But Take Caution!
While plugins can ease the pressure of designing, hosting and using a website online, it’s important to remember that too many plugins can slow down the browsing experience for the user. When plugins become ‘out of date’, they can cause more harm than good, and so it’s important to ensure that the plugins you do use are not only up to date, but still useful for your website.
If your website needs a helping hand, a plugin could be the way to enhance and improve what’s on offer to not only you but your potential and returning customers.