Ah yes, WordPress plugins. Aren’t they great? There are literally thousands of developers creating new ones everyday. Plugins that enhance the features and functionality of any WordPress website, whether that means adding sliders, galleries, or animation, the only limit is the imagination (oh, and the ability to code, but more on that later). And as developers and website designers, we love this about the WordPress community. Because plugins allow for so many possibilities, for us, and ultimately, for our clients. Now, you’re probably wondering why we’re not starting this article with our recommendations on which ones to use. Well, here are the reasons why we’ll never share a blog post about the most popular WordPress plugins…
Not All WordPress Plugins Can Be Trusted
Did you know that some plugins are developed by hackers to create loopholes on websites where they’re installed? Yikes! And even though a plugin is safe today, it doesn’t mean it will be in a week, a month, or even a year from now. That’s why we won’t ever make a blanket recommendation, because there’s a good chance a plugin will work today, but not necessarily tomorrow. However, as webmasters, we’ve got a much better chance than you do at identifying plugins that may present possible security risks, and we can advise you on which ones are safe and which ones come from reputable, reliable sources.
Not Every Plugin is Created Equal
Plugins are only as good as the developer who created them. Some developers are awesome and code like NASA Gurusengineers. Others, not so much. There can be security risks, functional errors, horrible visuals, and some can even be cumbersome to customize. Or it could be terrible coding with errors that lower your website ranking. We’ve also seen many great plugins go bad. Plugins that were once reliable change ownership and transform into monsters we would no longer recommend. That’s why we don’t make plugin recommendations in the first place. Unless we’re building the website and can do some thorough analysis.
Some Plugins Just Don’t Get Along
Not every plugin will play nicely with every other plugin on your website. Due to a conflict, you might find some website elements are now broken. Or worse, the plugin may cause your entire website to crash! Uh oh, I hope you’ve taken a backup… Since we have no idea who is reading our article and what other plugins you may be using on an existing website, it’s difficult to recommend a plugin without looking under the hood first.
WordPress Plugins Can Break Just Like Everything Else
This happens even with the most popular plugins. One minute it’s working like a well-oiled machine, the next it’s broken, and you can no longer reach a support team. So now what do you do? You’ve got to spend time finding a replacement, and all while, your website is still live, and your customers are wondering what happened. We don’t want to mislead you by recommending a certain plugin, because once our word is out there, we can’t take it back.
Fancy May Not Mean Functional
Some WordPress plugins are built with all kinds of bells and whistles. While this may impress, it isn’t always good news. What you may not know is that every plugin takes up server space and runs differently on the front end. If the plugin is super fancy, it may be heavy and bloated, and it could slow down your site’s loading time. Remember, most customers will veer away if it takes too long to load your website. And eventually, you may be forced to upgrade to a more expensive hosting package, just to keep up with all your fancy add-ons. Nobody wants that. Even simple plugins we’ve once loved, have often morphed into huge, inefficient monsters that we’ve been forced to abandon for something more efficient. Because we know bigger isn’t always better.
What Words of Wisdom Can We Leave You With?
Choosing wisely can be a tricky task. There might be a wide range of plugins that could serve your needs. It could depend on a lot of things, such as:
- What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish with a plugin?
- What other feature functionality do you require on your website? Perhaps there is a single plugin that will accomplish multiple goals and reduce the number of plugins required?
- What is your budget? Sometimes a paid and supported plugin is better than a free one – not always, but sometimes.
- How much customization will be required if you use a certain plugin? Does the plugin author make it easy to customize, or does it require coding skills you don’t have?
- Which plugin will accomplish your goals without compromising site loading or server space?
- Remember, for fast and easy website loading, efficiency is key.
- Don’t just add something in because a plugin is popular. Just because it’s the latest thing, doesn’t mean you should use it on your website.
The truth is, if you’re not a professional website developer, you’re not likely to know how to choose secure, well-coded, and recommended plugins for your website. And if you don’t know how to backup your website, you shouldn’t be taking care of plugin updates or installs by yourself. Your website could crash, or it could stop working properly, and you might not notice right away, because it could be something little and seemingly unrelated. But, it could expose you and your website visitors to malware and security risks. That’s right. That seemingly innocent plugin update, install or activation could be a potential wrecking ball! More on that in our article, WordPress Updates, New Releases and Security Updates, Oh My!
So, the next time you ask what WordPress plugins we recommend……. think of this article. It’s a loaded question.
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