What is a WordPress Plugin? And How Do You Use It?


If you’re delving into the WordPress world, you’ve likely come across the term “plugin” quite often. But what are they, and how do you use them? Let’s explore together!

WHAT ARE WORDPRESS PLUGINS?

WordPress plugins are pieces of code that add functionality! These code snippets, housed within plugins, enable the WordPress core to extend or enhance its features.

For instance, if WordPress lacks the ability to create a contact form, you can simply download and install a plugin to have your ready-to-use form.

Over the years, WordPress has gained immense popularity, and the number of plugins has grown significantly. This is one of the reasons why WordPress is the most widely used CMS (Content Management System) globally.

Many plugins are free, but there are also some premium ones that allow you to enhance your site with powerful features for a reasonable price.

HOW TO INSTALL A PLUGIN

Now, let’s see how to install a plugin. We’ll install a fundamental feature that every website should have: a contact form.

For this purpose, we’ll use the WPForms plugin.

This plugin enables us to create a contact form quickly and easily!

First, access the backend of your WordPress site (if you’re unsure how to do this, refer to the previous guides) and click on “Plugin - Add New.”

Plugin - Add New

You’ll be presented with a screen like this:

Add New Plugin

Here, go to the top right corner, in the box labeled “Search for plugins…,” and type WPForms. The search will start automatically, and after a few moments, you should see this plugin in the list:

WPForms Plugin

Now, all you need to do is click on “Install Now.”

After the plugin is installed, you can activate it by clicking “Activate.”

Activate Plugin

You’ll then find yourself at this point:

WPForms Welcome

This plugin makes form creation a truly simple task! So, you can now follow the guide provided by the plugin itself, and in less than five minutes, you’ll have your beautiful and functional form!

Next, click on the orange button “Create Your First Form.”

Create Your First Form

Now, you can click on “Simple Contact Form.” The plugin will proceed to create a basic form. When it’s done, you should see a screen like this:

Form Preview

On the right is the form preview, and on the left, you can add and modify the fields that make up the form.

There is also a premium version of this plugin, but the free version is sufficient for basic forms.

Now, click on “Save” in the upper right corner and then on “Embed.”

After clicking “Embed,” a window like this will appear:

Embed Form

What’s written in the dark gray box is a shortcode: a code that allows something to appear within an article or page.

Now, all you need to do is copy this shortcode and paste it on the page where you want your contact form to appear.

After copying the shortcode, close WPForms (with the X in the upper right) and click on “Pages” in the side menu.

Pages

Here, click on “Contact” to edit the page we created earlier.

Now, all that’s left is to paste the shortcode into the content of the page and click on “Update” in the upper right.

Paste Shortcode

If you preview your contact page now, you’ll see that the form created with WPForms is now embedded!

Exciting, isn’t it? You’ve just installed and used your first plugin!