Hi everyone! Welcome to a new blog where we are going to be discussing about Plugins and widgets in WordPress!

Now before finding the difference between the Plugins and Widgets let’s understand the features which makes WordPress a very powerful Content Management System and the addon functionality which can easily be added to website using WordPress.

Now if I talk about addon functionalities it could be anything say, for example: if you want to have a feature inside your website where you know the backups happen on a regular basis in your website. If you have to get it done without WordPress or without any Content Management System, you will have to talk to your server guy and then they will put in something inside your website based on which you know on timely basis backups are taken similarly if you want there is some option inside your website where you can put in email options and it does not feature a Content Management System, you will have to go and insert some code inside your website. Using WordPress is one of the benefit is that you get to know all these forms of Plugins and Widgets available in WordPress.

There are other Content Management Systems too which have these kind of functionalities with them but then I would say you are restricted by choice over there. The functionalities are available over there but they are available in a very limited way. Because the usage is not very high and also the community that supports these Content Management Systems is not as they get it is for WordPress.

So that is what makes WordPress a very powerful CMS and the 2 features which have really contributed to making WordPress so widely used is Plugins and Widgets and that is why you know I am dedicating the full session for Plugins and Widgets.

So, What is a Plugin?

Now Plugin is a piece of code in WordPress which provides some kind of functionalities. Now it could be a functionality to say statistics of your WordPress websites, it could be a functionality to help you with social media marketing. You know like social media icons on your blogs, it could be a functionality where you can design a form inside your website quickly design using drag and drop feature and you know how to integrate them inside your website or it could be something where you know you can see statistics of your blog based on the number of shares they have had on social media platforms.

So that is a Plugin. It’s a piece of code which provides some kind of functionality and

What is a Widget?

Now a widget I would say is a block inside your WordPress website at a predefined location where you can insert a new functionality over there.

So say for example: you have a widget on the right hand side of the blog or a WordPress website which is a predefined position inside your theme. Now you drag a widget of a contact form and drop it over there so that contact form get auto generated over there or for example: you have a widget placed at the footer of your website and you want there your twitter timeline should be shown. So all you got to do is you have to find out a widget which shows the twitter timeline and you drag it and drop it over there and It shows up over there.

Usually widgets are generated using Plugins. So Plugins provide you with a piece of code that does some kind of functionality and there are times that functionality can be made visible on the places where widgets are placed.

So I will just take a plain example over here: In a website there are 4 places for widgets over there and – in these 4 places what we have done is first widget place we have dropped text widget where we have just copy pasted our address over here. In the second widget section we have dropped a Facebook widget which gives a number of likes on your Facebook pages and the latest updates that we are posting over there. The third widget is for a twitter timeline and the fourth widget is a Google map locator. So how do these widgets come into existence? A place initially we will call Plugins and these Plugins give us the widgets and then we just drag these widgets into these predefined places and we have to put in our login credentials for twitter, Facebook over there where we have to put in values for Google maps.

So this is how a Plugin and a Widget works in sync and they actually make you achieve different kind of functionalities using a Plugin and Widget.

So if I have to talk about a website, from functionality perspective, I would say for me the important functionalities can be segregated in 3 different sections called as addon functionality. So if I pick on addon functionality it is which I expect my website to have.

They would be more related to say statistics of day to day visits that I have on my website. Plugin you know which can help you at the back of my entire website. A Plugin which can help me to increase the speed of my website, a Plugin which can help the discussions which are happening on the websites say for example – I do want to have this comment functionality which is there by default inside WordPress. I want something which is a little more advance. So there is a Plugin to integrate over there.

That plugin is a free plugin which gives you facility to have a discussion forum kind of thing set up below your blogs.

Then for example – say if I want that I should have a plugin which can help me generating a site map which can help Google in easily reading my website that can be done.

Similarly I can have a Plugin which can help me in generating custom forms and their Plugins are secure too and to manage spam comments to have email options so these are the add on functionalities.

Second category of Plugins that I would want my website to have is something which can help me with my SEO.

WordPress is obviously a CMS which has a good Website structure and its quiet a free to optimize but then again when you get on to doing SEO you have to do lot of things like a Keyword research and you want to do the Keyword research to make sure that the keywords are properly placed inside your blogs and you should have your keywords in the title if it has a good meta description written over there.

So that is something which you can easily manage using one of the Plugins over there. Then you know if I talk about SEO, other functionality would be your Google analytics, inside your blog it would be so easy if I can just see the statistics of my blog something which you get to see in Google analytics by not going inside Google analytics and just sending all the statistics directly inside my WordPress admin itself.

So these are some of the functionalities which help us sale SEO. The third level of functionality is I have to talk about is it could be more related to social media.

Social media functionalities say something like social media follow button, Social media share buttons, a section for Facebook, Section for Google Plus, a section where I can display my social media feed. Something in the WordPress dashboard where I can see the social media statistics of my blog, how they have been performing what are their number of shares on different platform for each individual blog or page and then features inside my website where someone can directly login through their social media account and directly post a comment over here and also they can share their comments on the social media account so these are the functionalities which can be easily get in using Plugins and Widgets if I was not using a platform such as WordPress.

I would literally have to hire a designer or a developer to build these kinds of functionalities over there or you know insert some code inside your code so that these functionalities can be achieved over there with WordPress its quiet easy you know. You just find these Plugins used all them in your website and you are good to go!!!

So we will go one by one so before I start with the type of Plugins see in this particular section I am going to giving you a list of Plugins which can easily help you with the functionalities that I just spoke about and I am going to show you installation of them. And Show you how they work so in this particular blog or Plugins and widgets once you have your own website up and running over there you can quickly go through this list and you can install these Plugins.

I am not saying these are the best Plugins in the market but then yes these are Plugins which are available on free to use and you can use different functionalities over their using these Plugins and if you think that tomorrow you need something better, you can anytime go and do a research on Google and find some other Plugins which are alternatives for these Plugins with WordPress every single functionality over there are hundreds of Plugins available over there.

It’s more about which Plugins suits or connects more to the functionality that’s you are looking at for example: if I talk about email option I am close to 15 different Plugins there. So here is the list of Plugins which I think are best for using in WordPress website:

  • Wpforms
  • Yoast
  • SEOpack
  • Jetpack
  • UpdraftPlus
  • iThemes Security etc.

That’s all about the difference between Plugins and Widgets ! If you have any suggestions or comments please leave those in the comment section below.

Vishwajit Kale

Vishwajit Kale blazed onto the digital marketing scene back in 2015 and is the digital marketing strategist of Hostdens, a company that aims to provide reliable web hosting solutions. Vishwajit is experienced in digital and content marketing along with SEO. He's fond of writing technology blogs, traveling and reading.