WordPress Plugins – What’s Best For You?
WordPress powers almost 1/4 of the internet in one form or another – including a lot of sites you may not have recognised as being WordPress at all. Part of what makes WordPress so versatile are ‘plugins’ – little add-ons to the base package that can make it do all sorts of things that it wasn’t designed for.
- Taking payments
- Extra security
- Site backups
- Split-page ads
- Running a membership site
- Social media sharing
And there’s so much more. If you can think of a useful addition to a WordPress site, somebody somewhere will have made a WordPress plugin to make it possible.
Now the WordPress parent site, WordPress.com, lists thousands of plugins all available for free, mostly thanks to the generosity of programmers donating their time and efforts, although it’s not all through altruism. Many of them also offer upgraded or more featured versions of their plugins and the free ones are there to whet your appetite by showing a little of what is possible.
There is a huge market for paid upgrades to cut-down versions as people decide that they must have the full functionality that they have been tempted by the free version.
Can we just add plugin after plugin to our WordPress site?
Unfortunately, the answer there is ‘no’. Each plugin has to be loaded from the host server every time some accesses our site, which adds to the time between a page being requested and a page being displayed. The longer this time is, the less likely a visitor is going to stay. Patience is very short on the internet and the big search engines have recognised this and demote slow sites down the rankings.
What’s the ideal number of plugins?
The obvious answer is zero, but there are some plugins that can actually make a site faster than a bare-bones WordPress installation.
In practical terms, given how much functionality people want to add, 20 is a good maximum although as much depends on the speed of the hosting and its internet connection as the speed of your individual site. For example, this site currently has 14 plugins (some of which are options suggested by the theme creator) and is on a slow-ish shared hosting server. However, it is acceptably quick to load as none of the plugins places a heavy burden on the system.
There are big plugins with a lot of functions that can really slow down a site unless they are on a fast VPS (virtual private server) or a dedicated server. These plugins have their uses, but they can cripple a site that does not have the resources to adequately run them.
So what are the best plugins to run?
That depends on what you are going to use your WordPress for. If it is just going to have blog posts with occasional images and videos then something that will make regular backups, spam comment monitoring and maybe a contact form will be enough. Marketers will probably want to add more security, a page builder for making fancier pages, one or two forms of instant advertising and social sharing into the mix. Someone running a membership site will need to a way of controlling ongoing memberships and taking payments – some premium plugins can also integrate with the major affiliate networks so that the site owners do not have to keep direct track of who has paid their subscriptions.
What gets added depends on what sort of site you’re running.
As I said above, WordPress.com has a wide selection of free plugins that anyone can download and use, but just occasionally, more is required as is not freely available.
If you’re interested though, I have a large selection of premium plugins that you can use on your sites as you see fit. Some of them have resell rights as well, so that you can sell them on too.
If you’re interested – CLICK HERE and use the password plugin to access the page.