What are WordPress Plugins and how much do they cost?

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What are WordPress Plugins?

WordPress plugins are pieces of software designed to extend the basic functionality of your website.

In the early days of the internet, if you wanted your website to do something special, you’d have to pay someone to custom code the functionality from scratch. This typically took a lot of time and money.

The great thing about WordPress, is that because there are so many users worldwide, there are also lots of people looking for the same functions. Instead of having someone start coding from scratch, you can just buy it off the peg.

It’s great as everybody wins – Instead of charging by the hour, the developers can sell their plugin very cheaply to millions of users. Millions of happy users paying very little, and millions in the pockets.

How many plugins do I need?

That’s a bit of a “how long is a piece of string” question.

Theoretically, you can build a basic content based website without using any plugins at all, but generally speaking it’s going to be worthwhile to add at least a few.

There are a several key free plugins that I install by default in all the websites I build. These improve performance and security, and make significant improvements to the look and usability of WordPress.

Can too many plugins cause problems?

Yes and no…

Occasionally plugins can slow down your website, which is not a good thing. People don’t like to wait for pages to load!

Usually no single plugin causes a significant slowdown, but the combination of several different plugins might.

The main risk from having lots of plugins is conflicts – as they are all made by different developers in isolation, once in a while two plugins will not play together nicely and will end up making your site go wonky.

This can happen from the get go, or more often than not, after one of the plugins (or WordPress itself) runs and update and something changes.

If you wake up one morning and your website has gone topsy turvy, most likely it’s due to an update causing a plugin conflict. This can be easily fixed by rolling back to the previous version, the contacting the developers so they can fix it. (Or just contact me and I can help sort it out for you!)

How much do they cost?

The great news is that many plugins are completely free.

Others have a (relatively) small one off fee, occasionally there may be an anual subscription.

Often developers will create a free basic version, and then offer a paid “pro” version with extra features and options.

It’s worth searching around – often the official woocommerce plugins for example are very expensive, when there are actually much more reasonable and better performing alternative versions out there from other developers!

How do I choose?

I will install all the necessary plugins you need when I build your site for you.

I always use free plugins where possible.

If I think that a paid plugin is necessary / worth spending the extra money I would always discuss this with you beforehand.

It’s possible in the future though you may wish to expand the functionality of your website by adding more plugins. If that’s the case, you can check my handy guide here of what to look out for when choosing a WordPress Plugin, and you can of course always ask my opinion!

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