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Guides & Advice

The dos and don’ts of WordPress plugins

By Scott Bradley / October 16th 2018

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Making a site more responsive, easier to use, and generally more useful overall is something that’s really important when looking to provide a great browsing experience for users. It might also be that you’re trying to make a site more streamlined from an internal point of view.

In any case, the implementation and use of WordPress plugins can be a great way to do exactly that. However, there are certain things businesses should keep in mind when looking into site plugins. Here are some dos and don’ts of WordPress plugins.

Do — Consider reputation and user reviews of the plugin

Knowing that you’re using products, services and suppliers that you can rely on for anything can be really helpful in a business. The same reliability and usefulness is something you should also look for in your WordPress plugins.

This is because you want to know things like how efficiently it uses resources, how well a plugin scales with business, and how feature-rich a plugin is, among many other considerations.

Look for plugins that have a long history of positive reviews from satisfied users. It might be that you know certain developers to be trustworthy and useful simply due to the reputation they’ve earned over a length of time. This better ensures that you’re using plugins that are as beneficial as possible for your website and business overall. It might even be that you replace default plugins with alternatives that better meet your needs.

Do – Look for plugins that update automatically and regularly

Using business resources efficiently is always important, and how this improves how your team are able to work will be a key part of that. That’s why it can be so helpful to look for plugins that require as little input from your team as possible.

If you use automatically updating plugins, it means that they will always be as useful to your business as possible while enabling staff to stay focused on responsibilities other than updating plugins.

Additional features or functionality can be added over time, bug fixes and security patches are installed right upon release, and the general efficiency and usefulness of the plugin improves with each successive release.

Do — Think whether a plugin is necessary – can the functionality be implemented manually by your developer?

While plugins are a fantastic resource to alter and improve the way a WordPress site operates, you should certainly be asking yourself to what extent a particular plugin is actually necessary.

It might be that you can do something far more simply through a developer adding a few lines of code to your website, rather than installing a plugin that does the same task. For example, it can be a lot more efficient to handle your site redirects manually instead of through a plugin.

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Don’t — Waste resources

As a business grows and expands, you might also change, amend or remove some of the services or products your business provides. As a result of this, your website might change and adapt over time.

Through this process, however, there’s a risk that you’ll start to use limited website server resources inefficiently. Plugins that you no longer need, or have since become outdated, might be hidden in the background, taking up and limiting available resources.

This is why it’s important that you stay on top of which plugins you have active, and which could be disabled or removed entirely. By freeing up server resources like this, it can also help to ensure a more responsive site, which provides a much better browsing experience to users and potential customers.

Don’t — Use plugins for adding in tracking codes or things you can track yourself

Sometimes, plugins simply aren’t necessary for what you need, and it’s often better to leave some tasks in the hands of a developer to install and manage themselves.

This could be things such as tracking codes, site visitor statistics, PPC campaign monitoring, or search engine analytics statistics. Using a plugin to handle these things might needlessly overcomplicate something that would be much more easily and effectively taken care of in the hands of one of your developers.

This could also help you gain a deeper understanding of the data and information being tracked, as your team will be more keenly involved in how information is tracked and handled.

Don’t — Use unfamiliar or unproven developers

Sometimes, you might find a plugin that looks to be exactly what your business needs — it’s offering the exact features and benefits that you’ve been looking for, so it’s sure to be perfect for you.

And sometimes, it might just deliver exactly what it promises. However, when looking for the perfect plugins, you should always take note of who has developed it, to better ensure that it’s the right fit for you.

For example, a plugin that looks fantastic on paper, but is from a first-time developer with no prior work to show, might not actually be that useful for your business. It could be inefficient, prone to breaking, or not as secure as it should be.

This is the kind of risk you open yourself to when using unfamiliar or unproven developers. Make sure to stick to developers with an extensive library of work, or who have otherwise been able to prove the extent of their development knowledge and skill.

How every1 can help you create an effective and efficient website

A well-developed and efficient site can often be the best asset of a business. An enticing design and positive user experience is a really helpful way to engage visitors and leave a great impression. Thorough functionality will ensure that using your site is a breeze for customers, whilst also meaning that it’s easy to upgrade, fix and amend from an internal perspective.

We’d love to explore how our web design and development team could deliver results for your business. To arrange a brief telephone conversation with one of our team, call 08447 550 350 or get in touch to find out more.