Plugins. A thing that converts your WordPress website from a dud to stud.
WordPress is a blogging tool. We can add posts and pages quickly. But that's pretty much the end of it. You cannot do anything else with the basic installation of WordPress.
So, we have to use plugins to extend the functionality of the website. But, plugins are the reason why most of the people turn away from WordPress. And for the right reason too!
When I started with WordPress, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of plugins available. I was like a deer in headlights. I had no idea which plugins to use. I mean initially, I just wanted a contact form on my website. But words like Contact Form 7, Pirate Forms, Ninja Forms, Darth Vader Forms and many others started coming my way.
How can anyone with little to no knowledge of WordPress, select a plugin from a vast set available?
So, what happens is we start installing a bucketload of plugins. We keep on installing them. What we don't know as someone new to WordPress is with the installation of each plugin we are essentially slowing down the website.
A plugin comes with its CSS and JS files. If you don't know what they mean, that's fine. All you need to know is they add the burden on your website. Every time the website loads, the server has to serve that file, so that the plugin will work.
Imagine if you are using 30 plugins. Then roughly that will add 60 files. And assuming the plugin is required on all the pages, for each page server has to deliver those files.
That means, we have to make sure that we delete the plugins that we don't need. You can deactivate them, but then, the entries created by the plugin in the database remain.
Make sure your housekeeping department of WordPress is working.
Not all plugins are for frontend
What does that mean?
Well, it means, some plugins do not add functionality that is required by the visitor on your website. Some plugins like a backup plugin are needed by the administrator to take the backup of your website. They do not in any way improve or reduce the performance of the website that can be experienced by a visitor.
Use the plugins fearlessly
Yes, plugins slow down the site. Yes, there are bad plugins. But there are good plugins too. And we need them. Without the plugins, your WordPress site won't account for much.
So here is what you should do when
- Read the description of the plugin. See if it can satisfy your requirement.
- Check whether the plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress
- What was the last time the plugin was updated?
- If everything is fine, install it.
- Use it.
- If you find it is not satisfying your requirement, deactivate it, delete it.
That way we will make sure our website is not loaded with too many plugins.
What to look for in a plugin
I check for four things when installing a plugin.
- Easy to use
- Provides the functionality I need
- Updated regularly
And how do we find above information? Well, we can get the above information by reading the plugin description on wordpress.org.
Search for the plugin and then click on it on the search page.
You can check out the reviews too on this page. You will come to know whether other people are facing some issues.
So, this is the process that you should follow while installing the plugins on your website.
Keep your website lean, do not overload it with the unnecessary plugins.