What is a plug-in?

I asked my friend Shazia to help me explain this one. She was on the same panel I was at BlogHer08 and discussed plug-ins and widgets and the difference between the two.

Plug-ins extend the functionality of the blog. For example, a plug-in can turn a blog into an online store, or a photo gallery, or a portfolio. Or a plug-in can provide things like an automated backup or spam protection. They usually need
to be uploaded for installation, and can require coding knowledge to
configure and use.

I think that “sidebar bling” is a good description for
widgets – these are easy-to-use code “snipets” that enhance your blog–mostly in terms of offering your readers some more information: about
you, or your blog, or just general information (e.g., Google maps,
visitor’s locations, and recent posts/comments etc.). Widgets can
usually be added to the blog via the control panel without the need
for any coding knowledge, but are limited to use in the sidebars.

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