The variety of WordPress plugins available in the free and premium plugin marketplace is why WordPress is so popular. Outside of the WordPress core, which is basic in many ways, anything else you’d like to achieve with your WordPress website will likely be the result of a plugin installation. So how to find WordPress plugins, you say? I have 3 tips on how to find them and keep up to date.
How to find WordPress plugins video walk-through
What’s a WordPress plugin?
A plugin is a piece of software that extends the core functionality of your WordPress website. If you’re thinking of doing anything outside of publishing a page or post with your site, then it’s likely a plugin. Possible uses for plugins:
- Front-end uses
- Display your latest social media feed (from like Instagram, for example)
- Adding a subscribe-to-blog box that connects to your email marketing subscriber list
- Have an e-commerce website and display products on your site
- Use web fonts (like Google Fonts) on your site and the ability to display them
- Back-end uses
- Page builders
- Spam handlers
- User management
The list of possible plugin use cases is almost literally endless!
For the curious: Any solid WordPress website will have some recommended plugins installed for a variety of reasons. Not all websites require the same plugins — it all depends on the project’s need! If you’re wondering how many plugins your website should have, the recommended range is between 5 – 15, maybe up to 20. Try not to keep too many or else you’ll need to constantly update them and ensure they do not conflict with each other.
Tip #1: Find plugins via the WordPress admin
Before you begin looking for any external plugins that may be found outside of WordPress.org, it’s important to get familiar with the most basic way to find new plugins right from your WordPress website.
- Login to your WordPress back-end
- Hover over or click on Appearance
- Click on Add New
You’ll enter the WordPress.org plugin marketplace. Here, you’ll find completely free plugins, or “freemium” plugins.
Freemium plugins are a mixture of free + premium. You can download them for free, but for a certain price they can provide premium functionalities that are unlocked through a purchase.
Benefits of finding WordPress plugins via the adminWordPress plugins that are available via the WordPress admin (and alternatively also at WordPress.org/plugins) are vetted and approved enough to be considered safe to download and install from WordPress.org. This doesn’t mean they will all be perfect or coded the right way, but they meet the requirements of WordPress to function as a usable plugin.
Other benefits of finding plugins via the admin include:
- Taking advantage of the “Featured”, “Popular”, “Recommended” and “Favorites” plugin filters.
- The plugins under these main categories are usually well reviewed and trusted, so they deserve strong consideration for some of the uses you’ll need to fill.
- Plugins are searchable
- There are a ton of plugin tags at the bottom that help you search for plugins in a particular area (“security” and “SEO” are examples of available tags that group similar plugins into taxonomies)
- Every plugin has a WordPress.org landing page which includes among other things:
- A plugin description
- How to install
- Screenshots (in a lot of cases)
- Community download stats
- User reviews
- Support forums for that specific plugin
- Developer/author information, and more!
- The WordPress.org markertplace is one of the best ways to find fresh and new plugins
Downsides of the free WordPress.org plugin marketplace
Search experience could be better
While having a variety of plugins is a good thing, sometimes having too many (over a hundred for any given search) can be daunting. If it wasn’t for the helpful reviews, we wouldn’t know which are good or which to install!
The WordPress.org marketplace could use some very useful features, such as the ability to sort by best reviewed, most reviewed, most downloaded, etc.
Not a place for maybe more quality premium plugins
This is not a suitable marketplace for completely premium plugins since any found within this method can be instantly installed (at least their “lite” or free versions).
Tip #2: Third-party premium plugin marketplace
If you’ve gone through tip #1 and free or freemium plugins are not doing the job, you might be curious about premium plugins and the better quality or service they can offer.
Example: Code Canyon
Benefits of third-party WordPress plugins
- Better quality in some cases (some developers spend a lot more time making a better, finished product when it’s meant for sale)
- Developer and customer support (as a customer of the plugin software product, you might be more entitled to get help from the developer)
- More options not available at WordPress.org
How much can I expect to spend for a premium WordPress plugin?
Anywhere between $5 – $40 with $20 being the average. You should strongly reconsider buying any plugin over $40. There are probably better options for less or for free!
For the curious: Not every website needs a premium plugin. In fact, you can have a quality website using only free plugins available via the WordPress.org marketplace. However, some projects may require you to consider premium plugin products.
Tip #3: Subscribe to a good WordPress plugin newsletter
There are WordPress bloggers out there doing the hard work for you everyday, some who specifically focus on finding some of the best and latest WordPress plugins out there. They want to please their readers by finding good plugins, reviewing them, and being the source of your discovery when you land on your next useful plugin.
So why not use them? It’s one of the best ways to learn how to find WordPress plugins.
Let bloggers and other content makers look for some of the best plugins that you can benefit from. Subscribe to a leading WordPress blog or feed service so that you can stay up to date with the latest plugin news without ever really having to spend the time researching them yourself.
One example and recommendation is WPmail.me — simply subscribe and you’ll receive a weekly email of WordPress news (including plugins) from a variety of content makers around the web.
Here’s an example of the newsletter’s plugin news section:
What are other ways you find WordPress plugins for your website? Did I miss any useful methods (perhaps word-of-mouth)?
Use the comments below for any questions or comments on these 3 tips on how to find WordPress plugins.