The Idiots Guide to Managing WordPress Plugins
It never fails, within days of finishing a client’s website, I receive a frantic call that goes a little something like this: “Nick! My site is broken! I have no idea what happened, it just doesn’t work!!! All I did was install a couple WordPress Plugins!”
I proceed to pull up the client’s website, but it crashes. I attempt to pull up the WordPress Dashboard, but that crashes as well. These are the tell-tale signs that something just ain’t quite right. My next step is to access their website via FTP and look into their plugins folder. BEHOLD! The source of our problem has been found! The client took it upon his/herself to install virtually every plugin in the WordPress Repository. Don’t be that person.
I understand how exciting it is to add cool functionality to a website. You probably think to yourself: “maybe a social network would be a cool way to connect with my readers, maybe these social sharing buttons would help drive traffic between facebook and my website, maybe this shopping cart will help me push these products I’ve been working on.” All great reasons to look at plugins to enhance the user experience. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Things to Consider
- Do you REALLY need this plugin? – There are a lot of cool plugins out there, but the truth is, just because the plugin exists doesn’t mean that it should be on every site. If the plugin isn’t critical to your site’s functionality or marketing strategy, you don’t need it.
- Can your site handle the plugin? – It’s very important to know if a plugin is compatible with your installation of WordPress. There are many different environments that support WordPress websites, but that doesn’t mean they are all the same. Some plugins use a lot of bandwidth, sometimes they things like cURL or ZEND or other server configurations you may not understand. Always look at server requirements and make sure your version of WordPress (and your server environment) is compatible before installing new plugins.
- What do the reviews say about this plugin? – The best feature of the WordPress Repository is the rating system. Every plugin is rated by the people who use them, and a lot of people will leave great reviews about pros/cons of any given plugin. Use their knowledge to ensure you’re making the correct decision.
- Are there other plugins that do the same thing? – If there are several options, then choose only ONE of them. It fairly common for a new WordPress user to install several plugins that all do the same thing (without disabling other versions). This is a huge mistake and is the easiest way to break your website.
If you have any further questions about WordPress Plugins, leave a comment in the comment section below. We’ll help you in any way we can.