I have been actively blogging for over 6 years now and I have seen it all. To be quite frank, Zac Johnson and his success were some of the reasons I got into the activity. During my blogging, I have installed and uninstalled hundreds of plugins.
As an active blogger who focuses on building one or few authority blogs (I don’t create and run many blogs personally), there is always the temptation to add another plugin.
The reason is that each time I come up with a new blogging business idea, there is a need to add a plugin to handle the idea. For a couple of times, I have avoided many plugins by tweaking my WordPress source code. We will discuss this a little further below.
Before you install your next WP Plugin
As a matter of fact, my main blog EnstineMuki.com has 49 plugins. This may make you yawn but for a business hub, that may not be a number to worry about. Besides, there is no magic number or is there any?
Definitely, these many plugins have had some bad impact on my load speed, pushing it upward from less than 1 second to somewhere near 2.
While plugins may help you do more with your blog, they are often not a good business partner to embrace for several reasons. Here are a couple of things you should do before installing and keeping your next WordPress plugin. As a matter of I fact, I do follow these same steps:
1. Make sure the plugin is in absolute necessity
Whether it’s a free or premium plugin, do not install until it you absolutely need it. I remember my early days. As a newbie, I had over 100 plugins, most of them having no place at all.
The more plugins you install on your blog, the more you expose your blog to some or all of the risks discussed below. So you’d better be good installing just the plugins you need.
2. Test the plugin first
This is one of the things top bloggers do each time they have a need to install the next plugin. They test for compatibility with existing plugins and Theme and load speed impact.
I personally use a free plugin called Wpreset to test and determine any changes each time I activate a new plugin or theme. You may want to download the plugin here from WordPress repository or check out this post on how to measure any changes on your blog after activating a new plugin.
Where do you test the plugin?
There are actually two options. First, you should avoid testing on your productive environment. Here are two options you may want to pick from:
- Have a staging version of your blog: This is actually a better option. Contact your host for more.
- Create a separate test copy of WordPress: The problem with this is that the test copy may have some meaningful differences with your productive site. These may disguise some issues due to differences in hosting environment, other plugins, themes, etc.
Read around for reviews
Don’t just rush into installing and activating the next plugin without trying to find out what other users have had to say about it.
Don’t just believe the words of the developers. The best way to gauge the effectiveness of a plugin is to find out what other users have had with it. Generally, users are going to share their experiences on review platforms and other sites.
On the WordPress plugin page, take a look at the rating section. This may help with a broad idea how satisfied users are:
How I do avoid installing some plugins
I’m not going to tell you this is easy to handle. You may need some PHP/CSS development skills to be able to handle this section.
First, measure the depth of the new plugin. Some don’t deserve the pains and stress that come with installation and activation. What I do often is tweak my Theme to get the changes or additions.
But doing changes to your Theme files may be short lived. The reason is that many Theme developers are constantly updating and bringing changes to their themes. Once your Theme is updated and you apply the new version, be sure to completely lose any changes you made.
My solution is to create a child theme for your theme. That way, any changes you want done are applied to the child theme and your parent (main) theme files are left untouched. Here is some information to help you on creating WordPress child themes.
3 major risks of installing plugins
Plugins are necessary because they extend the functionalities of WordPress. WordPress core is just the skeleton and some basics. Plugins allow you to get more from the most popular Content Management System. But here are the risks involved in installing and activating any additional plugin:
2. Hacking and security issues: Some plugins that are poorly coded may have leakages that may be exploited by hackers to break down your blog.
3. Incompatibility and design breakage: Sometimes you install a plugin and everything completely goes wrong. The solution is to uninstall and delete the plugin files from your server
I hope this is going to help you so you don’t run into any issues with your blog as a result of a new plugin.