It’s always great to read articles about great plugins, but there comes a time when it gets to be too much. Choosing the right WordPress plugins is overwhelming at times, and you don’t want to constantly be installing and uninstalling plugins; especially if you have an already established site with already established writers.
Things need to move smoothly and plugins should help that, not make it worse. Therefore, it is important to ask yourself –
What can I do to make sure I am choosing the right plugin for me without having to spend tons of time sifting through the thousands of choices and hundreds of articles?
Things to Consider When Choosing a WordPress Plugin
Choosing the plugin that is right for you is going to involve some trial and error, but there are tips you can use to help cut down on this trial and error. A few of these tips include:
Read reviews, but then talk with someone directly
People oftentimes get to the point where they type, “top WordPress plugins” into Google, but this is also where most stop. It’s important to go a step further and talk directly with people who have used the plugin. Read reviews and decide which plugins sound good to you, and then seek out those who have used them.
Look through comments and see if you can connect with someone through email (you can also try to contact the developer of the plugin if that seems helpful; although I typically recommend talking to users like you). Ask specific questions and hear about the troubles associated with the plugin before purchasing or installing.
Don’t look for a plugin if you don’t think you need a plugin
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is that they go searching for a plugin that they don’t even know exists. They’re looking for the fun of it, and this really isn’t necessary. You want to know exactly what you want a particular plugin for in order to make choosing one easier. If you don’t, you will likely find yourself overwhelmed and choosing something too quickly. Don’t worry, what you need will come to you soon enough!
Get involved in discussions and forums
This is not only a great place to find great WordPress plugins, but it’s a great place to interact with others who have used the same plugins you have used in the past. It’s not quite as good as seeking out someone associated with the plugin to talk with (point number one), but it’s definitely second best.
Figure out the type of plugin you want and then go out and find its competitors
A lot of times the “best plugin” type articles give you plugins that have different functions from one another. It’s important that once you realize the type of plugin you want, you go out and find other plugins just like it. Look for the pros and the cons of each, and you might very well find yourself changing your mind.
Choose a plugin you can download from WordPress.org
There are quit a few sites out there that allow you to download a plugin; however WordPress.org is one of the sites you can really trust. If it’s possible for you to find a plugin available on WordPress.org, lean toward that plugin. Not only will you be able to filter results and find something that suits you, but you can be completely sure that if you install a plugin, you can uninstall it easily.
Have you ever found this process to be overwhelming? What tactics do you use when it comes time to choose a plugin for your WordPress site? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.
16 comments How to Choose a WordPress Plugin
Amanda, thanks for this great post. People often install plugins they don’t really need, but like the functionality and think – “Wow, that’s a cool feature!”
Features are like decisions – have too many at same time and you’re bound to end up with some bad ones.
Definitely agree. I’ve installed far too many plugins that just weren’t what I needed–all I needed to do was calm down and do a little bit of research!
Practical tips you have here.
When it comes to reviews, comments and shuffling through forums, I’d advise people to trust direct communication – like you said – more than reviews.
Reviews can often be biased, but people who already own the product rarely lie about it.
You are exactly right. These points are important to look for before purchasing any plugins on wordpress. And especially in forums you will find all positive and negative features about the plugin. So anyone who are about to purchase any plugin should go for this deep research mentioned in this blog.
Deep research doesn’t even have to take that long when you’re working with plugins, so why not go for it, right? Thank you for reading Kristen!
Nice research…but i think all people in WP community have their own opinion about advantages and disadvantages of any plugin and listening to all of them is awful…maybe it will be better not to get involved into discussions but use the plugin itself?
I definitely agree that it could get very confusing listening to ALL of the advantages and disadvantages! There comes a time when you have to just make your decision and deal with the consequences, so I’m glad you brought it up. Thanks for reading!
Once you have your short list of potential plugins then you really need to install and use them to find out if they really are any good. Doing so will also reveal whether they create content and tables that gets left behind when you uninstall. Therefore, to avoid this clutter you should always test drive on a throw-away WordPress installation.
You’re absolutely right,
I hate it when a plugin doesn’t clean after itself upon deletion. Having a development environment is crucial for test driving WordPress.
Thanks for stopping by.
Very practical tips. I have been using the trial and error technique and that takes so much time to find the right plugin. Sometime I might get it on the first try but typically not.
Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll definitely try it.