Are you looking to streamline your website with the best resources available online?
If so, is your website hosted on WordPress.org?
Chances are that it is.
WordPress.org is the most popular website-hosting platform in the world today.
It has an impressive plugin architecture and template system, boasting more than 55,000 plugins on its interface.
- These plugins make WordPress content management systems and your website easy to use.
- They help smooth out the rougher aspects of your website.
- They help prepare your website so that it makes the best impression on users.
But with so many plugins to choose from, how do you know you’re making the right choice?
You could consult a WordPress Plugin development service. Or you could learn a few basic steps that guide you. We, here, provide you with effective methods to go about choosing these plugins.
1. Match Your Type Of Website To The Plugins Needed
Ask yourself what type of website you need.
Is it going to be an eCommerce website, with payment gateways, abandoned shopping cart reminders, inventory management, and tight security layers? Is it going to be an informative, educational blog that drips content to users?
Both these types of websites will need unique plugins to streamline them. And, of course, both these types of websites will also need common plugins that are important regardless of your website’s social or economic function.
- Plugins for all websites: A plugin like WPForms is one of these common-purpose plugins. It is useful to most types of websites, as it provides the website owner with the ability to create forms for user interaction, such as contact or subscription forms. SEO plugins like Yoast are other examples of such plugins.
- Plugins for eCommerce websites: A plugin like Smash Balloon Instagram Feed Pro will be useful to eCommerce website owners who want to sell products on Instagram. If you’re an eCommerce website owner, look for this one.
- Plugins for content websites: MemberPress is a type of plugin that will be useful to website owners who sell digital content like videos, eBooks, articles, and posts. It allows you to drip content to hook users into finding your website useful. High-quality content then can be paid for using the plugin, through memberships.
Know what your website needs. Once you learn that, choosing a plugin should be easy. They are all accessible at the WordPress plugin directory. It is a treasure trove of useful nuggets of plugin code. The WordPress developer community has invested its best efforts there for a considerable amount of time.
So how do you find what plugin you want on that website?
2. Know What To Look For
If you know where to find the plugins, you can filter your results from there. The popular trusted plugins will be displayed on the top of the results on the WordPress plugin page.
It is important to choose plugins that are highly rated and highly trusted. These will have a higher number of star ratings, active installations, and will be compatible with the latest versions of WordPress.
In this example, you can see the most popular plugins for the keyword “payment gateway.” The top 2 results may not be rated highly, but have the most active installations, at 700,000 and 800,000 respectively.
Often, plugins can be rated lower than they actually deserve. This is due to the fact that many users don’t review or rate the plugin after installation. Thus, the active installations are a better sign of a plugin’s utilitarian value.
Remember why you should choose plugins near the top of the results.
- Untested, low-quality plugins can always slow down your website.
- Even high-quality plugins which are not updated to the recent versions of WordPress can have problems. Developers for some free plugins tend to abandon developing the plugin if the pay-off isn’t rewarding.
If you need to look deeper into each plugin, you just have to go to the plugin’s page. On the page, you can access each of the tabs available there. The tabs are Details, Reviews, Installation, Support, and Development.
On this page for the Antispam Bee plugin, you can see its Details tab, where it displays vital data that can help you make a choice. The data is in the sidebar on the right.
The Details tab also includes a Plugin Screenshots section where a user can see how the plugin will look on the front-end and back-end of the website. This aids in the process of choosing. You’d want to know how your plugin treats the website, correct?
3. Look To The Support Tab For Possible Issues
The Support tab is vital to knowing what problems users frequently face, and if they have been solved by the plugin’s author or not. If there are many unsolved threads on the Support section, then it’s quite likely that the author has abandoned their plugin. An abandoned plugin will not have developers updating the plugin to run with updated WordPress versions.
In Antispam Bee’s Support tab, you can see the resolved threads here, which have a green tick mark. This tab gives you information on common problems, how regularly the author is resolving these problems, and useful advice.
Despite many unsolved threads, a plugin might still be functional if it is updated regularly. It’s important, therefore, to look at many influencing factors of a plugin (ratings, active installations, date of the last update, last support resolution, etc.), and not just one.
A plugin can affect your website in a myriad of ways. You need to consider that each of these ways can cause a problem.
So how do you make a choice on a plugin, despite their multifarious, unwieldy nature?
4. Always Test Plugins
Testing a plugin is PARAMOUNT. how do you find out if a plugin is performing optimally? How do you find out if it is slowing down your website?
The answer is quite simple.
- Pre-Plugin Speed Check: Check your website’s speed before you activate the plugin. You can do this by visiting an online website speed-checker tool like PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom. Note the readings down.
- Post-Plugin Speed Check: Now activate the plugin on your website and check the speed again. If the readings now are significantly slower than the previous ones, then your plugin is causing a disturbance. It then is advisable to disable it. If not, you can use the plugin.
5. Take Your Time & Enjoy Perusing The WordPress Plugin Directory
Last but not least, you have to be able to enjoy the process of testing and experimenting with different plugins. It will get your creative juices going. Watching your website solidify into something more than it is, is one of the greatest pleasures of the digital world.
Widgets, drag-and-drop builders, you name it, they are all crafted for your personal satisfaction. Find your passion for these little things. Tinker with the cogs and axles that make up your website machine. Find a balance, prioritize efficiency.
If you’re an eCommerce website owner, look to use abandoned cart plugins for users who hesitate over purchases. Convert those leads. Don’t allow them to waste all those clicks. Make your business thrive.
Plugins will help you gradually construct the best window from which the world watches – watches your digital content come to life. Patience will reward you in this complicated search. If not, you can always employ a WordPress Plugin development service.