In this blog post I’m going to talk through some things to take into consideration when selecting a plugin for your website. Trust me when I say, you do not want to select the wrong plugin. If you do, you run the risk of destroying your website and even getting locked out. Can you tell I speak from experience?
There are literally thousands of plugins you can use in your content management system. From backend utility plugins to front end design plugins, there’s something out there for every situation. With all these choices, how do you know which plugins will work best with your website?
Let’s chat about how to select the right plugins for your website
The first thing you want to check when looking for the right plugins for your website is its reviews and ratings. Read through the reviews other people have left. Pay close attention to the star rating as well. Avoid plugins with less than 4 stars. You also want to check out the last time it was updated and how compatible it is with your version of WordPress. If it has not been marked as compatible with your version of WordPress, avoid it like the plague.
Many times you may find a plugin that looks great on paper, but after further inspection you find it hasn’t been updated since last year. This means the plugin developer has probably abandoned the plugin. If there have been no updates, there is probably no support as well. This is a huge red flag.
You’ll lastly want to look at the number of installations the plugins have had. If you see a plugin that has millions of active installations, this means the plugin is very popular and is probably well supported. Well supported plugins will make your life much easier when things don’t go as planned.
Speaking of support, the second thing you want to check for when looking for the right plugins for your website is support. Do they offer live chat, email, phone or message board support? What hours are they in the office? Will you have to wait a day or two in order to get support?
Look at the last time someone left a question on their message board. Did they respond quickly? Or did it take them a week to get back to the person? Read through the issues people have had with the plugin. Does it seem like more of a hassle than is necessary? All of this matters.
The third thing you want to look at when searching for the right plugins for your website is the plugin screenshots. Take a look at the screenshots; does the front-end look the way you expected? What about the backend? Does it seem overly complicated? Do they even offer screenshots. I usually don’t install plugins that don’t have any screenshots. I like to see what it looks like before I make any installs.
Lastly, you want to see if the plugin is compatible with your theme. This is the biggest “oops” I see business owners make. Installing a plugin that isn’t compatible with your theme can lead to disaster. Before installing a plugin check to see if it is compatible with “most themes” or even yours in particular. You can also email the plugin developer to inquire if there’s compatibility there.
You also want to ask about compatibility with some of your other important plugins. For example, if you use a page builder, you’ll want the plugins you install to work well with your page builder. To avoid a lot of heartache, use page builders that are widely used by other websites. This way you can be sure most plugins will be compatible with the most popular page builders.
Plugins are necessary for you to be able to extend the functionality of your website. It’s important that you do your due diligence prior to selecting and installing any plugins. Now that we’ve discussed how to select the right plugins for your website, why don’t you tell me some of your favorite plugins and what they do in the comments section below.