Why use plugins?
WordPress plugins are easy to install, usually have uncomplicated operation in the backend and often offer many customization options for the design of your existing website. They are best suited for adding a specific feature to a website that is not included in the standard WordPress functionality or in a specific theme – without having to change the original WordPress source code.
If it is a single additional function, a specific design element or a group of functions on a specific topic such as online shopping or data protection, installing a plugin is always better than laboriously reprogramming the page or switching to a theme that this function is included, but is otherwise unsuitable. In order to add several additional elements to your website, you can of course install different plugins and combine them with each other. But be careful: Too many plugins can affect the performance of your website! That’s why it’s worth investing in a plugin that combines several of the functions you need, or buying an extension to an already installed plugin.
Comparison: Plugins and Themes
While themes can be used to adapt the design and functionality of entire websites to the respective requirements, WordPress plugins are more suitable for adding individual design elements, settings and functions to a website. If a theme does not contain all the settings that you need for your website, it can be supplemented with additional elements using plugins. Some plugins contain very extensive setting options, so that their purpose can be similar to that of a theme. The WordPress plugin WooCommerce, for example, adds many elements to your website that you need to create an online shop. However, you do not determine the look and structure of your entire website, but adapt additional elements to the existing design. An exception are so-called page builders such as Divi or Elementor, which are also installed as plugins: These programs allow you to customize your website Design from scratch and add, move or change individual elements such as images, text fields, buttons or backgrounds using menus and drag-and-drop. The functions of these plugins go far beyond those of a simple WordPress theme, which is just a design template. Cleanly programmed plugins and themes are often coordinated in code and function. So that your plugin works smoothly with your theme, you should make sure that you buy both from reputable providers.
Create plugins for WordPress
There is an almost endless range of different plugins on the market with a wide variety of functions, both large and small. The cost of a license ranges from around €2 per month to a one-off payment of €70. However, many developers also offer their plugins as a free version with reduced setting options. However, especially when creating extraordinary websites, it can happen that there is no suitable plugin for the desired function or that the possibilities of an existing plugin are not sufficient. In this case it makes sense as an experienced programmer to create a plugin yourself, to change an existing one or to have an individual plugin programmed by an expert. Creating a plugin yourself is not difficult even if you only know the basics of programming: Because plugins are simple PHP scripts that can be uploaded and activated quickly and easily in the WordPress plugin directory. However, it gets complicated when more complex plugins consisting of several interacting scripts are to be programmed. In order to make it easier for you and others to edit and manage the code and to avoid sources of error, the scripts should be cleanly written and explained with meaningful comments. If this becomes too complicated for you, it is better to contact a professional programmer. To have an individual plugin developed, you can, for example, hire an agency or a freelancer who is familiar with WordPress websites and plugin programming. Normally, the creation of a plugin by an external provider costs between €1600 and €3000, depending on the scope. You should reckon with a time expenditure of about 2 to 3 working days. You can also increasingly find them on freelance platforms like Fiverr and co. Offers for full programming or modification of plugins starting from as little as 30€ or 40€. Such an offer can be worthwhile for simple plugins. However, if you want to place a more complicated order, you should use reputable offers so that your plugin is properly programmed and works in the end.
If you are technically versed, you can also hire a programmer on the Fiverr platform to code a plugin for you in PHP. However, note that if you buy cheap, you often buy expensive. We at WP-Meister do not use Fiverr for customer projects (anymore) when it comes to larger projects (possibly even with deadline pressure).