WordPress is a remarkably versatile platform, made so in part by an equally remarkable ecosystem of plugins, but which is the best WordPress plugin for you? Searching through 49,000+ options to find the perfect match for your page is a daunting and time-consuming task. However, with a bit of planning, some consideration of your specific needs, comparisons and testing, your best WordPress plugins are just a search away.
Begin With Your Needs In Mind
The best WordPress plugins are those which meet your individual needs. That neat plugin you read about in a Top-10 list may look amazing on someone else’s blog, but that doesn’t mean it will fit your specific site and situation. After looking around at some source code to see what your peers are plugging in, make a list of what you want your plugins to do and see if there are any tools you can use to achieve the same ends without it. A Google Analytics script, for instance, instead of a redundant WordPress plugin.
Carefully Selecting Your Best WordPress Plugins
Okay, you’ve done your research and have your needs list, now keep in mind that every plugin you install will have to be updated (eventually) for best performance. A plethora of unnecessary plugins may also leave you vulnerable from a security standpoint and adding needlessly can decrease the speed at which your site loads. Less is literally more (speed & security), so add only as is necessary.
Where and Why?
Your best WordPress plugins are just a search away, once logged in. Simply hovering your cursor over the “Plugins” section allows you to add, remove, and search for plugins on-site from the WordPress Repository. These plugins will all be free although some have premium versions available. Once the search has begun, there are a number of viewable metrics that can help you determine which plugin may be best for you, including:
- Plugin Author: A good author with a good reputation is more likely to create a good plugin.
- Last Updated date: Shows how well supported the plugin is.
- Star Rating: Look for 4 stars or better.
- Active Installs: Compare this to other similar plugins and see which ones people seem to be using more.
- Testing and Compatibility: Even if you have done all your research and chosen the best WordPress plugin, eventually it all comes down to whether or not it works with your site. Take the time to test before you go live.
I do want to take a moment to talk about premium plugins as well. I am a big believer in using quality plugins that I know are likely going to be well-maintained on a regular basis. This often means purchasing a plugin and paying an annual fee to use it. If it’s something you really need for your site, consider paying the fees to get the support you need.
The accessibility to quality plugins and themes is one of the things I love most about WordPress. It’s still important to be mindful in the process of selecting what you need to build your site. Remember it’s sometimes best to go with as few as possible so you are less likely to have conflicts and your site will run faster. If you really need something, hopefully these tips will help you find the perfect solution.
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