WordPress is a very decent Content Management System (CMS) on its own but if you want to do a little more than simple blog posts you need to install a plugin to extend the functionality of the CMS without the need of messing with the codes. Plug-ins are a very easy way for non tech savvy people to do much more with their blogs and websites.
There are hundreds of thousands of plugins available in different directories or marketplaces. The wordpress plug-in directory alone has 38,672 plugins in circulation which have been downloaded nearly a million times.
With all that in mind, we must understand that with every plug-in we install we are putting away the security and performance of our websites in the hands of plugin developers. In this article I will highlight some things that must be kept under consideration while choosing a wordpress plugin.
Sometimes we really need a functionality because it will help us improve our business online while sometimes we want to install a plugin just because it is good, without considering the fact that they are not adding any value to the website. We must find out what are some must have wordpress plugins for our website and avoid installing any plugin just for fun.
Do you see the above image? I wonder who on earth gave this 5 start ratings.
Ratings And Reviews
Regardless of product type, ratings and reviews are the best indicators of quality. Before you decide to install a plugin make sure to check its ratings and read reviews. Every marketplace that I know of, displays these things and if any marketplace does not, I suggest you to not download any of their plugins. If a plugin is new and does not have any or enough ratings and reviews try to find an alternative that has been around for a while and has gathered some trust.
Do read both good and bad reviews. Good and bad reviews can occur next to each other which is OK. Just try to see if bad review is really a bad review because sometimes wordpress rolls out a new update and all the plugin developers have to make necessary changes to the plugins to make them compatible again. For that particular period even some good plug-ins might stop working. Sometimes users start throwing in reviews without patience.
Credibility Of Marketplace Or Directory
Choosing a digital product from an unknown and less talked about marketplace is not very wise. We must always do some digging in before getting something from such sources. There are already tons of reliable and trustworthy marketplaces and directories that can be used.
WordPress.org is the largest free directory that lists over thirty eight thousand wordpress plug-ins but it does not have a very good control over the quality. On the other hand some premium marketplaces like Codecanyon, WPMUDev, Elegent Themes etc have been providing quality plugins and unlike wordpress.org’s directory, have strong control over the product quality.
This is one of the most ignored fact. People don’t see and estimate the effect of a plugin on their CPU usage and keep installing plugins. Then they complain about their sites going down. Most of the websites and blogs out there are on shared hosts that allow only a limited resource usage every month. To see if a plugin uses high CPU resources, run your website through Pingdom to see how many requests are made and how much time is your website taking to load with and without activating the plugin. If it is slowing down your website and increasing the number of requests considerably, find an alternative plugin.
How Often Is It Updated?
WordPress rolls out an update of its core CMS every 6 months in which it adds new features and depreciates some old ones. Some plugins then need to be updated to make them compatible with new version of wordpress. Information about updates of a plugin is given in almost every marketplace or directory. To find it in wordpress.org see the right hand column on a plugin’s page. It tells whether or not it is compatible with latest wordpress version and the date it was last updated.
Same details are given in every reliable premium wordpress plugins marketplace. These details are given under the heading of change log or updates or something similar. Be sure to check it out and only download the ones that show consistent history of updates and are compatible with latest version of wordpress.