How to Decide Whether a WordPress Plugin is Worth the Effort

Posted on Apr 24 2014 by Rob C. in Blog 

One of the benefits of using WordPress for the creation of websites is the fact that there are thousands of plugins available. These plugins can provide a better user experience, streamline your search engine optimization, and handle a large variety of other tasks. Despite all of the great features that WordPress plugins can bring to your website they also have the potential to increase load times, compatibility issues, and the time you spend updating and maintaining your plugins. This means that whenever you plan on installing a WordPress plugin, you should decide whether the plugin is worth the effort.

Ask Yourself Questions

When you plan on installing a WordPress plugin, you should always ask yourself a series of questions to determine whether or not you actually need the plugin. Determine the purpose of the plugin, consider alternatives, and check to see if your theme provides the same function.

First, ask yourself if the WordPress plugin you plan on installing serves a specific purpose, such as solving an issue that you been facing or providing an essential function. Avoid installing WordPress plugins for the sole reason of adding a fancy new feature to your website that serves no real purpose.

If the WordPress plugin that you are considering installing does serve a helpful purpose, ask yourself whether or not there is another alternative that does not involve the installation of a plugin. Basically, if you can provide the same feature or solve your problem in any other way that does not involve installing a WordPress plugin, always go that route. A WordPress plugin should only be used when there is no other option.

Finally, check to see if your theme has a built-in method of solving your problem or adding the feature you are looking for. Again, whenever you can get away with not installing a WordPress plugin, the better off your website will be. Some themes already provide a number of functions and features that are easy to overlook. Go through your theme settings and ensure it does not provide the same function as the WordPress plugin you wish to install. After considering these three questions, you will have a better idea of whether or not to install the WordPress plugin.

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Investigate the WordPress Plugin

If you still plan on installing the WordPress plugin, it is a good idea to read any available reviews and ratings. Also, find out when the plugin was last updated. As WordPress goes through updates, your plugin may become incompatible. A regularly updated WordPress plugin should not have any compatibility issues. WordPress plugins come from a variety of sources. Some are created by individuals, while others are created by a team of developers. It is not uncommon for an individual to create a WordPress plugin and move on to other projects. Ensure that the plugin is compatible with the latest release of WordPress before installing it. It may also be wise to find out if the developer of the plugin provides any documentation, installation instructions, or method of contacting them in case of support problems. Finally, backup your WordPress website before adding a new plugin.