In computing terms, a plug-in (or plugin, add-on, or extension) is a software component that adds a specific feature to an existing computer program. When a program supports plug-ins, it enables customization. (Wikipedia) In other words, plugins allow additional functions to be performed on top of the default functions the particular software or website is designed for.
1. Web Browser Plugins
There are many different kinds of plugins available for downloads. The most common examples are plugins or extensions made for web browsers. These extensions are exclusive for the particular web browser they are made for. For instance, plugins or extensions for Chrome will not be applicable for Internet Explorer and vice versa.
Plugins or extensions for web browsers are able to perform a variety of tasks from enabling the use of emoticons to changing your browsing location (comes in handy where access to some web pages is not authorized when user is browsing from within certain countries). Some of the well-know browser plugins include Adobe Flash Player, QuickTime Player, and Twinword Finder. Adobe Flash Player and QuickTime Player enables the web browser to read files written in certain format (SWF, AVI and etc.) that it would otherwise be unable to, by default. Twinword Finder on the other hand, is an add on semantic search functionality for browsers. It reduces research time by providing related search results through understanding of searcher intent and the contextual meaning of terms. Find-on-page results are returned in highlighted paragraphs on the web page.
Web browser plugins and extensions are available for download in their respective web browser plugin stores:
2. WordPress Plugins
Plugins are also widely available and used on WordPress, a powerful blogging and website content management system (CMS). According to WordPress beginner’s guide, a plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. From theme makers to writing tools, there is also a directory dedicated to list and house all the available WordPress plugins:
Some of the more popular WordPress Plugins among content marketers include Yoast SEO, which analyzes the degree of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for a specific set of focus keywords, Twinword Writer, which helps user to write better by providing instant search for synonyms and related words. (Read: Twinword Writer WordPress Plugin Launched)
What are some of your favorite Plugins in the market? Share with us and leave a comment below!