Guest post by Ryan R. Hughes
"There's a plugin for that." "Just download the plugin.” These are quotes that tend to haunt my dreams. Let me begin by stating that WordPress plugins are wonderful things that can make carrying out an extremely difficult task very simple. However, as with all good things in life moderation is the key!
Lots of Plugins = Lots of Waiting
Without getting too technical, adding many plugins adds a lot of bulky code that is required to be loaded with every page on your website. When these stack up, your website can slow to a crawl and push your readers away.
To solve this, always make sure you are only utilizing plugins for things you actually need to use them for. It’s also a good idea to ensure you’re not using two plugins to accomplish the same goal. For example, using two social media plugins when there’s one that accomplishes both goals.
Choosing the right Plugins
There are some general “rules of thumb” you can follow to ensure you’re selecting the right plugins for use on your WordPress website.
- When was it last updated? - Plugins that aren’t updated regularly
are more than likely not going to be good choices. WordPress is not a static
platform and plugins must continually be updated to function properly. If you
select a plugin that hasn’t been updated in a year, it’s likely the plugin
won’t work at all on your website today. It’s also very possible that if
it does work, any changes that cause issues in the future will go unresolved.
- What are the WordPress version requirements? - While I recommend always running the
most up-to-date version of WordPress, sometimes that’s not possible. Perhaps
you have specific coding that is being updated or a plugin that won’t work on
the new platform already. Whatever the case may be, ensure you won’t create any
headaches by installing a plugin that requires a version later than you
currently have deployed.
- Number of Downloads and Ratings - It’s true that number of downloads and ratings aren’t an exact science, but it does allow you to draw some inferences. If something has been downloaded thousands, or even millions of times, and continues to hold a good rating, it’s probably a good plugin. Contrast that with a plugin that has low download numbers and low ratings.
the Author: Ryan
is an entrepreneur and partner at OodleTech, a southwest Ohio based digital
agency with a passion for design, technology, and user experience development. Ryan and his team work with innovative technologies to unlock their full potential.