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What are plugins and widgets and what they do to your WordPress site

What are plugins and widgets and what they do to your WordPress site

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One of the solid reasons why WordPress is so popular and top CMS choice for any business or a blog is the very fact it has so many plugins and widgets. Now, for some, it may seem we’re talking about the variation of the same thing but… What exactly are plugins and widgets, what do they do, what are their similarities and differences?

Hopefully, by the time you read this article, you’ll get a good idea what these features are and how they help your WordPress site.

What is a plugin?

A plugin is a piece of software, an extension that adds a specific feature to your new or already running blog/website. So, let’s say you have a very basic WordPress theme that you want to enhance and make it more functional. A plugin will do that to it. Its goal is to improve and expand your site functionality, once you download it and install onto your WordPress site.

what are plugins and widgets plugins screenshot

Whether it’s free or premium, every plugin needs to be installed and activated on your dashboard. Usually, they work from the back-end of your site, improving your interface and there’s really so much they can do! Just about anything and everything that your site might not have, plugins can add and upgrade too. There’s more detailed explanation on WordPress.org site, as well as more than 54.000 plugins on their’s depository for you to choose from.

What is a widget?

Widget, on the other hand, is something different and yet so similar to the plugin – which is why people often get confused. As you probably know, there is no exact definition of what widget is, so I’ll try to explain it the way I can.

A widget is a block-based tool that adds better content functions to your blog or a website.

Unlike plugins, which you need to download and install, widgets are the type of tool you drag-and-drop where you want them, usually to the sidebar, header or footer of your site.

what are plugins and widgets dashboard screenshot

Another difference from plugins is that widgets are visible to everyone, all those features that help your visitors and improve UX. Recent Comments, Category Posts, Calendar, Tags – those are all predefined Widgets that come with any WordPress site that we use.

what are plugins and widgets, widget area screenshot

Realtime plugins and widgets examples

To put it into perspective you’ll understand better; I’ll use these examples. Let’s say you need to add Google Analytics in WordPress site, how will you do it? Easy, you do it with the plugin, and in case you’re wondering how – here’s an article that describes the whole process.

Now, if you have a Facebook Page and want to share it on your blog, how would you do it? Again, easy, you’ll put a piece of a code from Facebook developers site in the Widget box (usually Custom HTML), and you’re done! Can’t get any simpler than that!

Conclusion

Both Plugins and Widgets are essential parts of your WordPress site, and you should take advantage of them. We use them to make our piece of web flexible, user-friendly, responsive and easy to work with. From blogging plugins to marketing plugins, to Social Media widgets and more, these are features no site can do without. In the end, it’s what sets apart WordPress from any other CMS platform out there.

Here at Meks, we have some custom Plugins and Widgets that come with our premium quality WordPress themes, so be sure to check them out and test free for seven days. And if you liked the article, find us on Facebook and Twitter and give us a shout out.

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Ivana Cirkovic

Ivana is a Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media consultant with over nine years experience in the field. She is also a WordPress enthusiast and an active member of WordPress community who lives online almost 24/7. In love with Twitter, WP, photography and NYC.

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