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Guidelines for Using WordPress Plugins Effectively

It is impossible to talk about WordPress without mentioning plugins. WordPress comes with more than 25,000 free and premium plugins, which explains why it is the most popular content management system in the world. These plugins make it easier for website owners to manage aspects such as security, backup, SEO, social media, advertising and commenting. However, if used unwisely, these plugins can end up having a negative effect on your site.

Here are some tips which will help you use WordPress plugins more effectively and avoid the potential dangers.

1. Keep the plugins updated

When it comes to the functionality and security of your WordPress site, updating your plugins frequently is very important. Plugins which are outdated make your site more vulnerable to attack. You should therefore take time to update your plugins whenever WordPress releases new versions. In addition, you need to carry out regular checks to find out the status of your plugins. Any plugin which has not been updated for one year or more should be deleted.

2. Deactivate backend plugins not in use

Whenever backend plugins are not in use, it would be advisable to keep them deactivated. This will help ease the strain on your site’s resources. For instance, the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) is an awesome plugin which can help you monitor the impact of plugins on your site. With the P3 plugin, you can identify which specific plugins are causing your site to load slowly and thus take appropriate action. After running a scan, this plugin can then be deactivated until the time you need to run another one.

3. Update deactivated plugins frequently

As long as a deactivated plugin remains on your site, it can still be exploited by hackers. Therefore, you need to ensure that all the deactivated plugins are updated frequently. This also applies to themes which are not active. However, if you don’t plan to use a specific plugin at all, it would be advisable to delete it altogether. This will not only enhance security, but will also keep your site looking tidy and clean.

4. Consider the quality and number of plugins

The number of plugins you have installed on your site is not very important. What really matters is how resource intensive and properly coded the plugins are. For instance, it would make more sense to have four well coded and light plugins on your site rather than having one which poorly coded, heavy and resource intensive. Before installing a plugin, here are some things you need to look out for:

  • Average rating
  • Number of downloads
  • Evidence of active support
  • The track record of the developer

However, having several plugins on your site can present a problem where one conflicts with another. It is therefore important to focus on not only the quality but also the number of plugins. In most situations, less is always more.

5. Remember premium is not necessarily the best

In many people’s perceptions, what costs them something is better than that which is free of charge. However, just because you are paying for something does necessarily make it good. The unfortunate truth is that there are many dishonest developers out there selling premium plugins. In some cases therefore, it would make more sense to opt for the free version. However, if the developer is established and has a good reputation, their premium plugins can offer you the best functionality as well as support.

  • Charles Mburugu,
  • October 28, 2013

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Charles Mburugu is a professional blogger who likes sharing tips for internet marketers and bloggers. Currently, he is writing for webdesign.org.

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