When and how to choose the right WordPress plugins for excellent website performance?
By CharlieBrown ; April 30th, 2018

WordPress plugins make the CMS what it is today because no WordPress website can acquire its complete functionality without using plugins. Please do not get it wrong and start thinking that it is mandatory to use plugins. No, there is no compulsion of using plugins, but with plugins, life becomes easier with WordPress as you can achieve much more. Obviously, you would hardly find a WordPress website that does not use some plugins. However, keep in mind that the plugins can do as much good as it can harm the SEO prospects of your website if you do not know its correct use. You will come across several similar plugins, but each has different implications for your application that you must understand. Being able to judge the finer aspects of functionalitieswould help you understand how much use the plugin will be for you.

When you face some problems with a WordPress website, it is a good idea to see if any plugin is at the root of the problem.  In most cases, it happens that some plugin that you had banked upon heavily to contribute favourably has backfired. Therefore, you must be very careful in selecting and using plugins. The most important consideration is whether to use plugins at all because it should not happen that you use plugins like decorative pieces. Unless you are sure of its compatibility with the WordPress theme and confident about how well it will facilitate the SEO initiatives, you should keep away from using it. In this article, we will discuss how you could utilise the benefits of plugins by selecting it with some good reasoning.

Do you need a plugin?

 Plugins are so attractive that any Freelance SeoMarketer might contemplate using a few on his or her WordPress website. Resist from being emotional about plugins and take a pragmatic view to judge whether you at all need one. Consider the present functionalities of the website and ask yourself whether you want to improve it further. Is the improvement possible by using the current resources or do you need some augmentation of resources? Only if the current resources and features of the website are insufficient to support the functionality that you want to achieve that you should explore the use of plugins. 

Assuming that you want to use Google Analytics on the website, you would not require any plugin for it. Copying the Analytics code and then pasting it into the footer.php file or header.php would be enough to run the tool.  In doing so, you should be confident about editing PHP correctly or else it can create problems.  If you change the WordPress theme, you have to re-install the code in the new theme. For trying out some settings that are different from the standard setting, you should know the tricks of altering the Analytic code. Only when you are comfortable to handle the issues that you can think about not using the plugins or else you have to go for it.

Check theme and codes compatibility

 To carry on with codes, you must ensure that the WordPress theme on which you have built the website is capable of facilitating the application of the Analytic code. If the theme is not compatible and does not support the code, then you have no choice but use a plugin. There are several plugins available, and you must know how to select one that would be reliable and effective.

Verify the sources of plugins

 You must procure plugins from reliable sources that have a good reputation. Since WordPress is an open source community anyone can build plugins and submit it on the platform.  This is the reason you find multiple plugins for the same functionality. Verify if it is an updated plugin so that it is compatible with the WordPress theme you are using. Go through reviews to judge the plugin performance and security features. Consider the freshness of the plugin author's website and the extent of support you would likely receive after installing it.Look at the ratings the plugin has received. If you are positive about the outcome regarding all these points that you can proceed to get the plugin.

Judge how essential the functionality is

Although you need the plugin for enhancing some functionality, you must evaluate to what extent it would improve the overall performance of the website. If the enhancement is too little, judge if you could do without it.  Unless the change is high impacting, you must not overload the site with fancy plugins.  Give importance to your ‘needs' and not ‘wants' when deciding to use plugins so that you do not fall into the trap of carrying the burden of too many plugins.

It is critical to take a long-term view when installing plugins so that you do not compromise on high performance and security issues.

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