At some point we all need to install plugins to extend the functionality of our marvellous wordpress websites. With the market flooded with plugins for this and plugins for that, no wonder you want to crawl into a hole and not come out. Not to mention literally any Joe Blow from down the street can create one, how do you know which are the good ones, and which ones will cause more stress than they are worth? I’ve got some stella tips to help you on this mission.

Recommendations

One of the best ways to know what plugin to go with is ask what other people you know are using. If they have been using it for a while you will be able to find out how easy it is to use and setup and if it has caused any problems in the past, such as not working when another specific plugin is installed.

Last Updated Date

last_updated

With anything tech these days, if it’s not updated regularly then be weary. At the very least a plugin should be updated coinciding with wordpress version updates. A great plugin will also have its own development and release schedule to implement new features and popular requests from users. Any plugin that hasn’t been updated in the last 12 months steer clear of.

Active Installs

active_installs

Next take a look at the active install number. The higher this is the better. This is the number of users currently using that plugin. Based on the assumption if you didn’t like a plugin you would remove it, this is a pretty good indication as to how many people are happy with the plugin and find it useful. Bear in mind that plugins new to market may not have a large user base as yet, and can be a little harder to gauge. A new plugin that is good, should grow pretty quickly though.

Reputable Developer / Company

The final consideration is the developer or company releasing the plugin. This is particularly useful if you already use plugins by that company and are considering a new one from them. They will most often work in a similar logic so you find you learn to setup and use a new plugin much faster. In most cases I would opt for a company I knew over one I didn’t if comparing two like plugins.

Premium vs Free?
Note that just because a plugin is a Pro, Paid or Premium version, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is in fact better than a free plugin from another developer that does the same thing. As always please be sure to backup your site before installing, upgrading and trying out new plugins.

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I’d love to hear from you, what are your favourite plugins? Let me know in the comments. If you liked this post please share the love.

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