Jun 3, 2011
Having discussed what’s good about WordPress plugins I wanted to square the argument with some tips to make sure they don’t turn out to be ugly!
How do you know which ones are good to use and which WordPress plugins to avoid?
I always check the wordpress.org plugins page in order to qualify whether a plugin is going to add value or not. This is what you need to look for:
1. How many downloads has it had?
2. Is it compatible with your version of WordPress?
3. What feedback has it had? (Is it broken, how many stars, how many have left feedback etc.)
4. What people are saying about the plugin – social proof?
5. When was it last updated?
Look at the statistics for Contact Form 7 to get an idea about a plugin with social proof in bucket loads.
The more popular a plugin is, the more likely it is going to be supported by the author, discussed by the WordPress community in forums, kept up to date with new WP versions and upgraded in order to add to or improve the way it works. I also do a Google search on the WordPress plugins name to see what the top bloggers are saying or not saying about it.
There are obviously some ‘bleeding edge’ WordPress plugins that could give you a competitive advantage (or maybe a very big headache and wasted time attempting to solve a problem). It depends on how brave you are about trying new things out. At least with a blog you can test things out with only a relatively small risk. However be aware of how things can turn ugly.
Ugly WordPress plugins – what’s that?
‘Ugly’ WordPress plugins are those that do one or all of the following things:
1. Breaks your site – you lose your presence on the web or your look and feel goes out of the window making things unreadable and messy.
2. It is in conflict with another plugin – making the new plugin fail or preventing the one it is in conflict with working.
3. You need a degree in astrophysics to work out what to do with the settings or understand how to use it.
4. It doesn’t really add anything to your site other than slowing it down thus affecting the visitor experience.
5. It prevents you from accessing your administration panel – If you ever experience this there is a simple fix for broken WordPress plugins here.
To be sure you get a clean plugin you might want to invest in a premium one. That depends on how big your pockets are and if the plugin is right for your blog, your audience and your technical expertise.
So just take a little time to research WordPress plugins before you install and activate it and you should be fine.
Broken plugin support can be found on the WP forum plugin thread.
Which WordPress plugins have you found problems with?