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Plugins and Widgets: What are They, and How Can They Help You Build The Site You Want?

So you’ve mastered the basics of WordPress – nicely done! Now that that’s out of the way, do you find yourself wanting to further customize aspects of your page, or add new features you may have seen on other sites you admire, but don’t know where to begin?

It sounds like you might have reached the stage in your web design journey where it’s time to start expanding your arsenal of WordPress tools. If you’re feeling comfortable with the basic ins and outs of the WordPress interface, exploring the world of plugins and widgets can give you the tools you need to tailor the appearance and utility of your site to suit your unique goals. 

Person typing on a laptop.

So… what are plugins and widgets, exactly?

Great question! In this post, we’ll just be covering the basics so you can ease yourself in and decide whether this is a good next step for you. 


Simply put, widgets produce content that is visible on your site (like an email signup form), and plugins produce functionality that may appear in some form on your site, or may just exist on the backend to help you manage a variety of things (like SEO  or security). Sometimes, widgets are created by plugins, though WordPress has a number of handy built-in widgets you can use without having to scour the internet for third-party services.

Typically, widgets fit neatly in sidebars and other widget-ready places on your websites pages. They can be used to create contact forms, add a Google map to your sidebar, an events calendar to your page, or a even Google Translate -powered language toggle to your site. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Person reviewing their calendar.


Plugins are different — and a bit more complicated — but just as plentiful and varied as widgets when it comes to building and managing your dream site. Plugins can be used to expand the functionality of your site in a wide variety of ways that can both improve back-end management and user experience. There are plugins for tracking and improving your SEO, minimizing security risks, redirecting broken internal links, and much, much more. If you’re really ambitious, you can even access comprehensive CRM plugins to help you streamline and consolidate your client relations.

We’ll get into more detail on how to start introducing plugins and widgets — and how to find and vet the best ones — in our next couple posts. But hopefully this has been a good introduction into the basics of expanding your WordPress toolbox. 

A Little Intimidated? Don’t fret!

As always, if this post has left you feeling more overwhelmed than excited, the pros at Corporate Zen are here to help. Contact us if you’d prefer to have a little backup when it comes to the wide world of widgets and plugins.

Click here to learn more about developing your WordPress site with us, or fill out the contact form below to get in touch and see how we can help you reach your goals.

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