What is a Website Plugin?

A plug-in is a form of software that introduces new features, adds functionality, or enhances an existing web application. As website and app developers, we are very familiar with the use of Plug-ins and are striving to keep up with the ever-evolving options that allow us to enhance our client’s websites.

As a business owner, pastor, administrator, or member of a nonprofit organization, we know plug-ins may be a little more foreign to you. As you navigate the process of launching, redesigning, or adding updates to your website, you will be presented with many opportunities to utilize plug-ins. Let’s learn a little more!

Where Did Plug-in Come From?

In the early years of the internet, the days of the dial-up tone, websites were very limited in their functionality. Most websites featured some text, a few still images, and maybe a few links. Then some of the earliest adapters created plug-ins to help overcome some of the limitations presented by early HyperText Markup Language (HTML), the standard coding language used to build websites. 

In simple terms, plug-ins were created by some coders who were ahead of the times. Plug-ins help create a more engaging website presentation and experience for visitors. Today, thousands of plug-in options can be used to customize and add features to your website. 

How Do They Work?

Without going into too much detail Plug-ins are designed to integrate seamlessly into your website. They usually serve one specific purpose. Examples of a plug-in would be adding an event calendar to your website, selling tickets, or accepting payment or offering. All these features look to be a part of your website from the outside, but on the back end, they run separately through plug-in software. 

Most Common Types of Plug-ins Used for Small Business

  • SEO Tracking
  • Ecommerce 
  • Analytics tracking
  • Forms
  • Mailing lists
  • Security
  • Improved function
  • Live Chats
  • Payment
  • Ticket sales
  • Video
  • And more!

Why Use Plug-ins?

Individual plug-ins will offer you different benefits based on what they are used for. For example, form plug-ins can help you expand your mailing lists and capture new customers. Security plug-ins protect you from detrimental breaches of data. SEO tracking plug-in helps you see how your marketing efforts are affecting your google rankings. The list goes on. 

Overall, plug-ins are a swift and easy way to expand the functionality of your website. Developers can download and install existing plug-ins in minutes and easily keep them updated with your website. 

Use Plug-ins With The Help of a Professional

We must caution you with your plug-in use. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to seek the guidance of a professional, like our team of website developers for small businesses, churches, and nonprofits, before adding any plug-ins to your website. With thousands to choose from. Not all plug-ins are good or created equally. Quality plug-ins offer many benefits but bad plug-ins can introduce security threats, drain your resources, or create other conflicts within your website. 

At Torrch, we offer our clients a broad list of trusted plug-ins to choose from to enhance their site in ways they see fit. If you are looking to add features to your website or thinking about adding other updates, our team of web developers and designers at Torrch can help!

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