Friedrich Nietzsche once commented, “ ..At times, our strengths propel us so far forward we can no longer endure our weaknesses and perish from them…”. Rough translation of that quote says that sometimes our greatest strengths can turn into our greatest weaknesses.
Philosophy of life aside, this often repeated quote gains a new angle in the context of wordpress and a 2011 survey conducted by WordCamp. The survey sheds light on the following observation- the simultaneously most loved and hated component of WordPress is its plugins.
In fact, it is a known truth in the blogosphere and is often reiterated at ZK’s web marketing blog, that WordPress core functionality is certainly augmented by its plugins; and if properly used, can bring success to your website. On the other hand, if you re not careful in their use, plugins can also cause your website to crash and burn in metaphorical flames. Were Nietzsche still alive today, he would have shaken his head in a sagacious gesture of ‘I told you so’.
This article discusses some tips that can help you maximize your benefits from using WordPress plugins, while arming you against the possibility of turning this great asset into a dead-weight.
Don’t Be Afraid To Use Plugins
Don’t let the risks associated with using plugins stop you from using them altogether. There is a very good reason why plugins are considered to be one of the most significant strengths of WordPress. There is a ‘must use’ section in the plugin menu of WordPress, which is installed on almost every reputable blog and website that is hosted by WordPress to enhance communication, performance and security. They have been extensively tested and are featured on most major WordPress website, which ensures their continuity.
Vetting Plugin Sources
Since WordPress is an open source community, almost anybody can write a plugin and submit it to the plugin repository of WordPress. That means, the plugin repository consists of both great and not-so-great plugins. Before installing any plugin on to your website, you should always vet the source of that plugin. You need to see whether the plugin chosen by you has a good star rating from the WordPress community. Read reviews of the plugins to see if there are any mentions of reduced performance issues or holes in security. Visit the plugin author’s website and find out if the author offers support. You need to conduct proper research before choosing from the vast repository of plugins to ensure that your choice will work for you.
You may have some functionality in your website that can’t be considered as common, and consequently, might find it hard to locate a plugin that you would be able to trust. In cases like that, you need to take a moment to consider whether the functionality that you are considering is truly integral to the functioning of your website. The most common and one of the biggest mistakes made by users of WordPress, is to let the desire for adding ‘fun’ and ‘intriguing’ functionalities get the better of their practical approach. Installation of plugins should be on the basis of what you need rather than what you want.
Keeping the above considerations in mind, WordPress plugins will serve as the greatest strength of your website and never turn into a fatal burden.