WordPress plugins are a marvelous thing. You can almost always find a bunch of them for any function you want to be carried out. The choices are virtually unlimited, but it can be difficult to find what you need with so many options available. How do you separate plugins that are perfect for your website from the ones that are not?
You do not want to end up with a poorly designed or outdated plugin that will only slow down your website; instead, you need one that is perfect for the job. Given below are some tips to help you find a good WordPress plugin for your website.
Make a list of the Features You Want
When looking for a plugin for your website, you should have thought of some requirements that it needs to fulfill to be a good fit. Make a list of all the functions you need the plugin to perform. Put the most crucial tasks that it needs to perform at the top and the less important ones down below.
Ideally, the plugin you choose would be able to do most, if not all the tasks you listed. It is quite common that you won’t find everything you need in one plugin. The important function of this list is to help make your decision-making process easier.
Check the Plugin Ratings
Ratings can be a good indicator of whether a product is good or bad. A 5-star rating usually means that the plugin is popular and good. But it is important to note that bad or no ratings at all do not necessarily imply that the plugin is terrible.
The lack of any rating could be because there are not enough people rating/using the plugin. If you don’t know whether the plugin can function as you need it to, you can simply contact the developer and ask them.
Take into Account the Number of Downloads
The number of downloads of a plugin is another good way to determine if it is a good choice or not. Generally, a greater number of downloads means the plugin is being used widely. This, in turn, indicates that it is popular amongst the community.
Usually, a good plugin will have a greater number of downloads and will be more popular, but this is not always true. Even a good plugin may not have many downloads if it is used for a specific purpose only.
Read the Reviews of the Plugin
Going through the reviews of a plugin is also a good idea. Ratings are often accompanied by reviews where the users write about their experience of using the product. Look for any recurring problems experienced by other users with the plugin when going through this step.
Like ratings, the plugin’s quality might not be portrayed correctly if there aren’t enough reviews. If the reviews are generally good, then it usually means that the plugin is also great.
Take a Look at the Plugin’s Support Overview
You can find out if the plugin’s author is interested in it by looking at the support thread. It may not always be the case, but if there are too many unresolved threads opened in recent months, it could indicate that the author has lost interest.
If this is the case, it is a good idea to keep looking for another option. Although you could still use the plugin, it might not be supported in the coming years. Go for the one that is being supported by the developers.
Check for Compatibility and Updates
A plugin should be well maintained and regularly updated. It should be periodically updated, ideally alongside WordPress core updates, and not have compatibility issues.
It is worth noting that some plugins do not need to be updated very often. But if you find that a plugin has compatibility issues or hasn’t been updated in a long while, it might not be a good fit for you.
Another thing that you should ensure is that the plugin you are downloading is compatible with the version of WordPress you are using. Incompatible plugins can cause problems with the website, or they might not function at all.
Look For Plugin Demos or Screenshot
If the author has provided screenshots or demos, it is good to go through them. Ensure that everything works as you want it to work. Critically review the screenshots and demos if available. You will get a good idea of the capabilities of the plugin by doing this.
A screenshot or a demo can tell you much more than the descriptions or reviews can. They can easily let you see exactly what the plugin does and how it works.
Decide Between Free and Premium Options
You will come across many free as well as premium plugins while searching. It is upon you to decide which option you want to opt for. It would be best if you tried out free plugins before any paid ones.
You might find a free plugin that perfectly fulfills the criteria you set down, and you will not have to make any investments. But if you do not find the perfect fit, you can opt for a premium one that suits your needs. Premium plugins aren’t much expensive and also come with good support and more features.
Search for Detailed Reviews
Search for reviews of the plugin you are interested in on Google. You will likely find detailed reviews that are in-depth about the plugin’s functionality, pros, and cons. These articles can help you make a more educated decision.
Many professionals write blogs and articles reviewing different plugins. So, looking for detailed reviews will allow you to get their professional opinions.
Download a Plugin From a Trusted Source
Be very careful when downloading a plugin. You should not download anything from a non-trusted source as the security risks can be too high. It is advised only to use trusted sources.
This will help you keep your website secure, as malicious codes can find their way in if you download plugins from unsecured sources.
Ensure that the Plugin is Secure
A plugin that is not secure enough can put your whole website at risk. It can work as a passageway for a hacker to gain access to your website. Ensure that you only use plugins that are secure and have no known security issues.
Always keep an eye out for new security issues that could have arisen after recent updates. Avoid any cracked or free versions of premium plugins, as they can be harmful to your website.
Check if the Plugin Is Slowing Down the Website
An outdated or poorly written plugin can slow down your website. Check the speed of your website with and without the plugin to see if it is becoming slower. If it makes your site too slow, it is a good idea to look for another better option.
Installing too many plugins can also cause problems and make the website slower. They can conflict with each other and cause new issues.
It is not easy to choose a plugin for your website from the multitude of options available. You can make a good decision only by doing your research. If you consider the tips given above, you can easily find a good WordPress plugin for your website.