Plugins are an essential part of any successful WordPress website. They can be used to increase your site’s functionality, to add additional features, and to perform tasks that would take hours of coding to accomplish otherwise.
However, it can be hard to choose the right plugins for your website. Using too many plugins can impact your site load speed, which in turn can impact your SEO score and general search engine rankings.
With this in mind, I’ve put together a short list of my top seven tips for choosing the right plugins for your website design project. They include:
- Think About What You Need Them To Do
As I’ve already said, there’s no point using too many plugins because they will only have a detrimental affect on your website. What you really need to do is think carefully about the things you need your plugins to do and choose them accordingly.
That being said, don’t be scared of using plugins that are actually useful – their benefits usually far outweigh any negative impacts that they might have.
- Use Versatile Plugins
There are plenty of plugins out there that are quite versatile with a range of features. I’d recommend using these, rather than using a number of smaller plugins.
For example, it’s quite easy to find gallery style plugins which also let you add social media buttons and sharing features. Similarly, a lot of the best SEO plugins contain a complete suite of SEO tools.
- Take Reviews Into Account
This should go without saying, but you should always take previous customer reviews into account when choosing plugins. Go for those with existing 5 star reviews.
- Look For Plugins With A Lot Of Downloads
Similarly, pay attention to how many downloads a plugin has. If it only has a handful of downloads then I’d be careful using it, even if it does have a perfect 5 star rating.
- Read The Documentation!
A lot of people miss out on great features because they simply don’t know they exist. It’s important to always read the documentation for any plugin that you use so that you know what it can really do.
- Pay Attention To Update History
Almost all plugins need updating over time. It’s a good idea to review the update history for each plugin you consider installing to make sure that the developers are active. If they aren’t then be careful and think about finding an alternative.
- Make Sure You Test Your Site After Installing New Plugins!
Unfortunately, some plugins can ‘break’ your website when you install them. It’s therefore very important to go through intensive testing straight after you install a new plugin to make sure that things are still working as expected.
Although the WordPress plugin library contains thousands of free and premium plugins, you really shouldn’t be using any more than 20-30. This means that you need to choose your plugins carefully to make sure that you’re using those which are both functional and high-quality.
The tips outlined here should help you get started, but remember – nothing beats doing your own research!