If you’ve been already working on WordPress for some time or you have just started to learn WordPress to build your website, you must be aware of how important are the plugins to develop a website.
But do you know it is very crucial to ensure that you must choose each plugin very carefully?
Yes, while it’s true that a great plugin can help you to enhance your WordPress website with rich features, it also holds true that if chosen wrongly, a single plugin can downgrade the performance of your website, or even worse, it can spoil your website too.
In this blog post, I will be sharing 6 tips for you to choose a WordPress plugin.
Let’s get started.
#1 List Down Your Requirements
Before you consider choosing a plugin for your website, especially paid plugin, you must list down all of your needs.
If you are unsure of the plugins that you must install on your website, you can try to analyze your competitor’s website and see what plugins they have been using.
Using a tool like http://wppluginchecker.earthpeople.se/, you can see, for almost any WordPress-based website, the list of plugins that they have been using.
#2 Lookout For Last Update
Have you ever heard of WordPress websites being hacked? Almost 20% of WordPress-based websites get hacked.
What could be the reason?
Well, the major reason for WordPress website hacking is the security issue within a plugin. There are many developers who contribute to the WordPress community by building great plugins but they do not update them regularly because of this those plugins become vulnerable to malicious codes or virus attacks.
#3 Prefer Paid Plugins
There are majorly 2 reasons to use paid plugins for your WordPress website.
a. Paid plugin developers always update their codes regularly.
b. You get premium support from plugin developers when you pay for it.
Don’t worry, most of the paid plugins are available for less than $100. If you intend to learn website building on your own, I believe this would be a small amount to pay and enhance your website without hiring any professional web developer.
#4 Pay Attention to Changelog
Why you must check for the changelog of any plugin before you use it?
Well, first of all, the changelog will tell you what features have been added with each version update.
Tip: If you see a lot of progress in the changelog, it simply means that the plugin developers are proactive to accommodate their customer’s needs and they are doing their best to make the plugin better.
This will make getting the features you want out of a plugin easier than with those that have little progress in the changelog.
#5 Check Reviews
Before you buy or choose any free plugin, you must check out the reviews of its existing users.
Needless to mention, more happy users means a better plugin and a high number of dissatisfied users indicates that you must stay away from that plugin.
#6 Run Through Different Tests
There are few tools available free of cost which you can use to test each plugin that you intend to use for your WordPress website development.
Although you will need to install the plugins in order to test them with these tools but it’s fine. If you find the reports are not OK for any plugin, you must uninstall and remove it immediately.
a. P3 profiling plugin: You must install this plugin because it will help you to check if the plugin is using too much memory. Please note that this is a free plugin that can be installed on your WordPress website.
b. Query monitor plugin – Compare before and after installing the plugin to see if the number of database queries has increased dramatically.
You may also run your website on the tools like http://gtmetrix.com/ (before and after installing any plugin). It will show the ‘Performance Scores’ of your website. You will easily notice if the performance score has been affected after the plugin installation, or not.