Plugins are pieces of software that add functionality or new features to websites and are what will make your WordPress site unique, and make it work the way you want, without you having to pay for a developer to write bespoke code for you. They are written to integrate seamlessly with WordPress, many are free, some you have to pay for, but all give you choice and flexibility to help you create the WordPress site you want. Not on WordPress? Read our blog 7 Reasons Why WordPress is Great for some of the reason why we think WordPress is a great platform for your online business.
There are literally tens of thousands of plugins available, and you might find a number that do what you want, so how do you choose the right one for you?
- Work Out What You Need – Plan what functions you want your website to have, and only choose the plugins that you need. This is likely to save you time and money! Don’t over-complicate your site with lots of add-ons that will need ongoing maintenance and updates. You can search for plugins on the WordPress Website directly and check out reviews, or look at the top 50 WordPress plugins here if you are not sure what is available.
- Think Security – The downside to using plugins over bespoke coding is that the can be a weak link in the overall security of your website. However let’s keep it in perspective. Look for plugins that are regularly updated, and are operating on the latest version of WordPress. Be responsible in maintaining your website by reacting to notifications regarding updates. This is where is becomes important to only install necessary plugins and remove any out of date or unnecessary ones as it does take time to maintain them and you don’t want to feel overwhelmed by notifications about updates and end up not doing them!
- Free or Premium – We all love a freebie but be warned when it comes to plugins. Yes it may keep your costs down in the short term but longer term it could cause issues. Premium plugins really aren’t that expensive, they are often security tested and tend to be updated more regularly, and maintain compatibility with new versions of WordPress.
- Think Support – If there is an issue with the plugin – who do you contact? Do you know? With free plugins you might be limited to the WordPress forum – which may be enough for your needs – however will not be the bespoke assistance available if you have a premium plugin which can include the developer assistants, and even debugging on your site to check for issues, particularly if it relates to a security one.
- Check Reviews – Use the reviews available to check out the reputation of the plugin developer. If the plugin has been downloaded a number of times with good reviews, likelihood is the product is good. Security, Support and the reputation of the developer are intrinsically linked. Check out the reviews for one of our favourite plugins – Yoast SEO
- Plugin Bundles – These give you the option of giving you a group of plugins that work together in one bundle. Its a great option that gives you reassurance regarding compatibility, as well as saving you time regarding maintenance and updates. If for some reason something isn’t working correctly, you only have to go back to one source. You may also save money as buying as a bundle can be cheaper that buying individually.
In conclusion, plugins are a great way to customise your WordPress site and make it unique, however you do need to do your research to help you choose the right plugin for your site. Learn about the importance of keeping on top of your website maintenance and do the updates! Think you might be in need of a website refresh, book your free consultation below or tell us your favourite WordPress plugin or feature.