10 Things to Know to Get the Most Out of WordPress Plugin

May 15, 2019 7:51 am 0

Have you ever imagined what WordPress would look like without the plugins? The power to present the content fashionably by one of the favorite content management systems of the world would have been lost. At present, on WordPress, there are about 55,000 plugins available. So, you have the option to present your page in a variety of ways with those plugins.

Plugins

Plugins in WordPress offers a plethora of options to the developers and the users. However, it is the developer’s responsibility to develop a WordPress website with plugins that do not result in delivering unsavory effects. In the other hand, WordPress plugins are used for making the responsive website design. Bearing that in mind, let’s discuss 10 things that you should know to get the most out of WordPress plugins. 

1. Know the Details of the Installed Plugins

It is essential that you know the details about the plugins that you have installed on your WordPress website. The plugins can be managed from the Plugin Screen. All the plugins that you have installed should be listed on this screen and should be found in wp-content/plugins directory. 

Each of these plugins must have a header section with its name, URI, description, version, author’s name, and Author URI. In case you cannot find these details it might be because the File Header is missing. 

2. Some Plugins Are Mandatory For Every Site

The plugins that you install are very much determined by the kind of site that you are developing. For example, an e-commerce site should have plugins that help with shopping cart whereas a photography site would benefit from the plugin with imagery tools. However, there are a few plugins that are required by every WordPress site. 

The primary purpose of any site is to attract as many visitors as possible, hence you would require a robust Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plugin. One such WordPress SEO plugin is Yoast SEO. Another, plugin that all sites should have is something similar to Wordfence. This will enable you to keep your data and content safe. For providing your visitors the option to connect with you, you can install the Contact Form 7 plugin.

These Plugins provide invaluable functionality to your website. 

3. Where to Find Plugins?

So where should you look for your WordPress plugins? The best place to start is the WordPress Plugin Directory. The plugins listed in the directory has been vetted and also has ratings customers’ review along with figures indicating how many WordPress sites are using the plugins currently. 

This is not the only place to get your plugins since many developers sell them via their websites. However, most of the plugins found on other platforms than WordPress.org are premium. The prices are generally reasonable, and the plugins offer sophisticated and targeted functionalities. 

Few of the other places where you can look for the plugins apart from WordPress.org are:

  • CodeCanyon: The largest platform for premium WordPress Plugins where the prices start from $2.
  • WPMU DEV: Offers a range of plugins for analytics, security, social media integration, design and such. To use their plugin, you need to have a membership, which cost $49 per month. It is a good deal if you need multiple plugins.  

4. Integrate Your Plugins with Other Tools and Platforms

Although plugins offer certain independent features, several ones rely on other software. Many WordPress plugins are designed in a way that allows you to integrate your site with other popular platforms and tools of various kinds. This translates into the fact that with WordPress you can make several programs run efficiently without knowing how to code.

Some of the well-known available integration are:

  • Google Analytics Dashboard for WP: This plugin allows you to track the performance of your site with Google Analytics and view results in the admin section. 
  • MailChimp for WordPress: MailChimp is a popular email marketing platform, and its plugin allows you to add new subscribers to your mailing list from the WordPress site you have created.
  • Custom Facebook Feed: Your Facebook feeds will automatically get added to your website with this plugin. You also have the option of customizing the feeds. With WordPress Plugin Directory you have a similar option for popular social media networking sites. 

5. Quality vs Quantity

Always try and select plugins that are coded well because poorly coded plugins will leave a footprint behind that might be difficult for you to remove. As a rule-of-thumb always be selective in installing the plugins for your site. It can be quite tempting to test almost all the available plugins for your site but refrain from doing that because it can cause more harm than benefit. 

Consider the following factors when installing plugins:

  • Number of downloads
  • Average rating
  • Reviews
  • The reputation of the developers
  • Evidence of active support

The reason that you should be careful about installing the plugins is that you want them to not only function when you are installing them but also in the future. Plugins are like a piece of functionality that you are installing to your site. 

6. Number Of Plugins

Plugins are nothing but merely some extra code that is applied to your site. Hence if you add the same code within the functions.php file, the same effects can be achieved. The primary concern of yours should not be how many plugins you have installed, rather whether those plugins are well coded and are not resource intensive. 

Therefore, it is always better to have installed a few immaculately coded plugins that are less in weight rather than a single heavyweight, resource-intensive, vulnerable plugin. Also, your concern should be what the plugins do and how helpful they are instead of how many. 

7. More Plugins Means Conflict

It is true that this point seems to counter the previous point, but at times the number of plugins installed does factor in. This is because the more plugins you install they are likely to have a conflict with each other theoretically. 

Almost all WordPress developers have to deal with the plugin conflicts issue.  There are infinite numbers of combinations of setup across the WordPress installations of plugins. The combinations of plugins installed while developing WordPress blogs are mostly unique. Therefore, be mindful of installing quality plugins that you require while keeping an eye on the number. 

Always try to keep things simple and go by the rule, ‘less is more’ but do not compromise on quality because of numbers. 

8. Troubleshooting Your Plugins

When working with plugins, there can be times when they will not work as expected. In such a case, you can troubleshoot them by using the following steps:

  • Recheck that you have followed the instructions correctly
  • Check if the plugin is activated on the Plugin Screen
  • Try de-activating and then reactivating the plugin. 
  • Search about the issue and how to resolve the problem in the WordPress Support Forums.
  • In case the problem persists, look for other similar plugins

9. Premium vs Free Plugins

The common perception of people is that if you are paying for something it is better than a free item. For plugins, that are not always the case. Though often people are happy to pay exorbitant prices for plugins, in reality, many unscrupulous developers charge hefty amounts for worthless products. On the contrary, many free plugins posses useful quality features and functions that are developed by trusted people. 

However, there are excellent, well-made premium plugins that are developed by reputable developers. Such plugins offer great functionality with consistent updates and support. The vital point is that you find the right developer. Hence, searching through Google and going with whoever shows up on the top of the list is not a good idea. Instead, get involved in the WordPress community, take note about the developers who are being talked about for their good plugin(s) and take a cue from there.

10. Get Rid of Deactivated and Unused Plugins

If you have not been using your plugins for long, it is better to get rid of them. This is because even the deactivated plugins are considered to be ‘live’ on your site. As a result, it poses a security threat. Same is true for the deactivated themes.

Hence, it is advisable that if you consider never using a plugin or theme in the foreseeable future, it is best to remove it.

Conclusion

It is essential that you take care of your WordPress plugins, keep them updated, and get rid of the unused ones. Selecting the plugins for your WordPress site can be quite challenging and overwhelming because of the sheer number of plugins available on the market. However, once you know how to select the right ones, you add many more functionalities to your WordPress website. 

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