WordPress is so versatile! The WordPress platform can be as simple as a blog or as complex as an e-commerce site. It just depends on how you use it.
Right out of the box, WordPress is a wonderful blogging software, which is how it got its start. However, it has developed over the years to become a complete CMS (Content Management System)–and a hearty one, at that! So, without adding anything to WordPress, you can create a fully functional website, including a blog…or not. At this point, I’ll just add a little explanation. The term “website” generally refers to static information, although from a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) perspective, you are best to make frequent changes. The term “blog” or in the early days, “web log”, generally refers to a frequently updated web page, listing most recently posted articles first and working backwards, chronologically. Having a blog on your website will maximize your points with Google and other search engines, thus, helping your site to rank higher in search engines results.
One of the beautiful things about WordPress is the versatility of it. When you add plug-ins to your site, the functionality changes. So, your WordPress site can become an e-commerce site in a matter of minutes. It can also become a Membership-Based site in just as short amount of time.
Plugins are ways to extend and add to the functionality that already exists in WordPress.
The core of WordPress is designed to be lean and lightweight, to maximize flexibility and minimize code bloat. Plugins then offer custom functions and features so that each user can tailor their site to their specific needs.
Currently, there are almost 33,000 plugins listed in the WordPress plugins directory…and many more that aren’t listed there, but are available elsewhere. Most “premium” plugins (ones that you pay for) have their own websites, as the plugins in the main directory are free. Some plugins can be seen by the visitor on the website, such as a calendar or a web form. Many are working behind the scenes to make a website more secure, easier to update, or just give the end-user a better experience.
As with most things, there are good plugins and bad plugins. Some of the things to watch out for with bad plugins are compatibility issues, security vulnerabilities, and abandoned plugins. Not everyone will know what to look for or even how to research what may be good or bad about a plugin. Protecting your site from those bad plugins is one of the things I do for my clients. Let me know if you need help!