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WordPress Plug-Ins Best Practice

plug-ins wordpress Apr 17, 2020
 

Table of Contents

WordPress Plug-Ins Best Practice
Best Practice
Things to Look for in a Plug-In
Number of Installations
Date of Last Update
Compatibility with your Version of WordPress
First Steps After Installation
Going further
Related Posts

 

When it comes to plug-ins for a new WordPress site, everybody has an opinion. If your site is brand new, don’t listen to everyone. Choose your plug-ins carefully.

It can also be very frustrating to install and configure the plug-ins. I did a quick video that talks about this as well as shows you how. Here are some WordPress Plug-Ins Best Practices.

WordPress Plug-Ins Best Practice

DO install a few basic well-known plug-ins, such as spam filters, backup, exports, and additional features for your theme.

DON’T install all the plug-ins that some well-known blogger uses. Just because they use those plug-ins, doesn’t mean you need them at this time. Remember, they have been blogging a lot longer than you and have carefully selected (hopefully) their plug-ins based on how they are representing their content.

DO research your plug-ins. Make sure they are regularly updated. For example, do not choose a plug-in that was last updated in 2008. Actually, if the plug-in has not been updated in over a year, chances are there will be issues.

Much has happened since then, and many vulnerabilities to your site will appear. This can cause your system to slow way down, or even crash.

DON’T install several plug-ins of the same type unless you are temporarily testing them and intend to delete them shortly. This can absolutely affect the speed of your site as well as confuse WordPress. For example, consider if you installed 5 different social media icon plug-ins. If they were all enabled you could have a mess on your screen with nothing but Facebook icons.

DO back up your site before installing and activating plug-ins. It takes just a few minutes and will save you if the plug-in doesn’t work correctly.

DON’T automatically subscribe or pay for the “pro” version of every plug-in. If your blog is very new and you have little traffic, you will be wasting money. Some of the “free” versions will last you for years of functionality.

DO review and inspect plug-ins that others are using. It’s always good to be in the know for future things. HOWEVER...

DON’T go down the rabbit hole of plug-ins. There are over 60,000 plug-ins just in the “popular” section. You could spend hours looking and trying, only to find that it isn’t needed or is too advanced for your blog at this time.

Best Practice

Things to Look for in a Plug-In

Number of Installations

You should look at the number of installations first. If there is less than 100, it probably hasn't been properly tested. I usually only accept a plug-in that has more than 5,000 installations, but it does depend on the plug-in. If in doubt, reach out to me. 

Date of Last Update

This is another key field to look at. If the plug-in hasn't been updated in over a year, I would be very cautious. There are exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, it means that there have been no security updates or any other types of updates. Normally that indicates that the plug-in is no longer actively being used or coded.

Compatibility with your Version of WordPress

This is another one that is subjective. Sometimes, it may say it hasn't been tested with your version. More often than not, it will be ok to use. However, do a backup prior to installing or updating this plug-in.

If you notice anything odd or weird happening, disable this plug-in and see if that helps. For example, a friend of mine, Paulette Erato, recently had an issue with the hamburger menu on mobile not working. Shortly thereafter, another friend, Kelly Thoreson, had the same issue. 

We found that WordPress has recently been updated automatically. Paulette and Kelly were using different themes but found that there was a plug-in in common. After updating that plug-in, the mobile sites went back to normal.

It did take a day or two for the plug-in to be updated from the Programmer, so they initially disabled or uninstalled the plug-in until the fix was in place. 

Suffice it to say, automatic updates are not a good thing necessarily. Also, sometimes installing a plug-in, or an update will break things. If in doubt, I may be able to help. Put in a helpdesk ticket with your situation. 

Most plug-ins will have some configuration that needs to be done. 

While there are tons of other plug-ins that, in time, you will want to add, remember that the more plug-ins you have activated, the potential for slowing down your site is greater. Choose wisely.

In addition, when you start adding more features and have more followers and traffic, you may want to change your hosting as well. But that’s further down the road.

If you want to play around with email marketing in the near future, there are three most common ones: MailChimp, MailerLite, and ConvertKit.

All three are at no cost or low cost for less than 1,000 subscribers. I recommend you start with ConvertKit, unless you think you will always have less than 500 subscribers.

It is complicated to go from one to another, so while you have zero or just a few family members subscribing, now may be the time to install, activate one, try it for a day or two, deactivate, activate another, and so on.

First Steps After Installation

Start with creating content. Once you get content on a roll, then you can play with new options. It’s probably way down the road before you’ll need any more plug-ins.

We have further information about formatting your blog post found on this blog post.

WordPress Formatting

Remember to include these costs in your startup and annual budget! For more details on having a blog budget, see the post here.

Going further

You can download these steps in an infographic and much more in our Be Your Own Tech Support Mastermind Membership. More information is available by clicking on the graphic below: 

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