If you have been using WordPress for a while you know that there are many plugins you can install to enhance your website. But there are a few questions as a developer or even a manager of a website that you need to ask before installing any WordPress plugin. Here are 6 questions you should ask before installing a WordPress plugin and why you should ask them.
Question 1: Can this function be achieved without a plugin?
Most of the client website problems we come across are caused by a plugin that is poorly coded and conflicts with WordPress. But if you can solve it without a plugin do it. For example, a portfolio section can be built with a custom post type and a page template. If the answer to this question is no then move on to the next 5 questions.
Question 2: Can this plugin achieve everything you need it to do?
After figuring out that you cannot achieve the functionality you need without a plugin you need to ask, can this plugin achieve everything. You want to avoid using more than one plugin to achieve a certain functionality if you can help it. The reason is that it causes more scripts and CSS to load and that becomes a performance issue.
Question 3: How often is the plugin updated?
The reason this question is important is because WordPress core is updated to a new full release about every 4-6 months. This means the core goes from version 4.5.0 to 4.6.0. But there are also many sub releases as well in between the full releases. This is important because before you install a plugin you need to make sure that it has been updated within the last 6-8 months or you will be taking a chance on the code being outdated. If the code is outdated you take a chance on the plugin getting hacked.
Question 4: Who are the developers and are they credible?
At the time this article was written there are over 50,000 plugins on WordPress.org. So what that tells me is you need to do your homework when installing plugins. Some other questions I would ask about the developer or development team are: Do they have a great reputation? How many plugins or themes have they developed?
Question 5: What is the WordPress community saying (plugin reviews)?
Reviews are big. You see them everywhere you go in life. For example, many people would not go to a new restaurant unless they looked it up on Yelp, Google, Amazon or through a personal reference. The same holds true for a WordPress plugin. The WordPress community is unlike any other community and they are very willing to help out in any way they can. If the plugin you are considering is popular among the community then you probably made a great choice.
Question 6: How easy is it to set up and use?
Last but not least you need to ask yourself, how easy is this plugin to use? There are tons of plugins on WordPress.org but not all of them are “Plug N Play.” Then there is the learning curve that comes with adding anything to your website. So be prepared to get your hands dirty and learn a little bit.