Being a WordPress web site owner you can’t ignore plugins. In fact, there are thousands of them developed for any purpose: Contact form plugins, image editing plugins, social media plugins, security plugins etc.
A good plugin, as many of you know, can improve your web site usability or just add some really useful functions. On the flip-side, of course, a wrong one can make lots of trouble like security issues or problems with functioning of your site. Your plugins should help you, not cause problems.
Here are a few helpful tips that might give you an idea of how to choose the best and proper plugin:
1. Don’t look for a plugin if you are sure you don’t need it.
Don’t look for unnecessary plugins! There are bloggers who are installing some plugins just for fun. Just think twice before finding and installing any plugin – there is no need to cram hundreds of silly plugins in your WordPress
2. Figure out the type of plugin you need.
Of course, there are lots of ‘best plugins’ articles and you can look for some plugins in one of them. Though the best thing is to find out what function your web site lacks or what function can make your life easier and then look through the list of plugins with that function.
3. Use sort buttons.
Now you know what you need and you are ready to visit some plugin directory. The number of plugins may be really confusing! There are thousands of them! Some are new, some are old, some have high ratings and some do not …so how can you choose the one you need among them? Sort buttons will help you a lot!
4. Read reviews, descriptions and pay attention to ratings, number of downloads and dates.
If the description of some plugin looks attractive, it’s worth searching online for additional reviews to double-check that it works as it is described. As for the number of downloads, usually the most-downloaded plugin is a good one. Mind the dates of updates.
If the author of some plugin has not updated it, then the plugin will become (or may be) incompatible with the most recent version of WordPress and cause problems. Average rating is the final factor to take into consideration. Some five-star rating plugins have been downloaded only a couple of times, so the high rating can be quite deceptive.
The best option is to choose plugins with 3-4 star ratings. Higher the better.
5. Discussions may help.
If you still feel unsure, just look through the comments and see if you can connect with someone who have already used the plugin and left a positive feedback or if there is some contact information of the developer. Ask specific questions to find out about any possible troubles associated with the plugin before purchasing or installing it.
6. To pay or not to pay?
There are lots of amazing free plugins. But we can’t deny that the paid ones often do more, and more easily and elegantly, than their free cousins. Still, before paying for any plugin, check forums and reviews. You may also try reading the support forums for the plugin itself and see whether people complain frequently of problems or issues.
And the last thing – don’t be in a hurry as making the right choice may require some time. Just follow our tips and you will find the best plugin!