WordPress as a content management system, at its core, makes it easy to query the database for the data and display the retrieved information in a number of different ways using WordPress themes.
WordPress has built around a huge ecosystem over the years. A part of that ecosystem is WordPress plugins. Presently, many of WordPress products are centered around plugins offering numerous functionality for the WordPress websites. That is to say, WordPress plugins are what makes WordPress websites robust and jam-packed with all sort of functionality we see today.
In our experience working in web development for over 8 years. We have observed that every website requirements are unique. Hence, needing dedicated evaluation time beforehand.
Now if you have spent any time with WordPress, you are already aware that there are a huge number of plugins available online offering almost identical features under different brand names.
Now all this abundance of plugin resources is a very good sign showing a thriving WordPress community. However, tracking down and matching your website needs with the plugins offered, often gets challenging for new users. It is for that exact reason that we have come up with this guide for you, to help you choose and install most suitable WordPress plugins for your website.
WordPress Plugins Resources
Plugins are distributed in three major ways. WordPress plugin developers choose their mode of distribution based on convenience, profit margin and cost.
The first mode of distribution and the widely popular option is the official WordPress Plugins Directory. Currently, there are more than 50 thousand plugins freely hosted on the Plugins Directory. Moreover, the Plugin directory is also a great platform to get free support from the plugin authors.
The second option for the plugin distribution is the premium WordPress plugin stores like CodeCanyan. These plugin stores offer a wide range of QC tested quality plugins on premium prices.
One key difference between the WordPress Plugins Directory hosted plugins and Premium Plugins Stores is that the former platform offers basic features freely. Also, additional features and premium support can be brought through subscription while Premium Stores offer only paid plugins.
The third option for plugin distribution, developers choose, is to sell their plugins on their own platform. Hence, giving them more control over their product and cutting down on the distribution fees.
How to Choose Most Suitable WordPress Plugin
Since the criteria for plugins, we will use in this guide are the same across all other plugins distribution platforms. We have decided to use the official WordPress Plugins Directory platform as an example to elaborate criteria in this guide. Moreover, the WordPress Plugins Directory platform is the top plugin distribution platform.
Read the Manual! aka Plugin Description
One good thing about WordPress Plugins is that they are self-explanatory about the functionality they offer. In case, you want to look for the exact features of the plugin to match your requirements. Look no further than reading or scanning through the plugin description, which is briefly written and to the point introduction to all of the plugin features.
Plugin Ratings and Active Installation
Once plugins are displayed on the plugins search result page in response to your query, you will notice important information about the plugins.
The first important stat you should consider is the rating submitted by plugin users. You should only consider a plugin with most 5 stars rating. The second stat you should consider is the most number of active installation for that plugin. These two very important statistics tell you the satisfaction of the end users with the plugin. The following screenshot highlights the ratings and active installation statistics you should take into account while searching through plugins in the search result pages.
One another important criterion for choosing a plugin is to look for the Plugin Reviews, users have left for the plugin. Plugin reviews are important considering that the users share their experience with the plugin in their own words.
Plugin Support Forum and Updates
So this next bit is kind of tricky to explain. Ok, maybe not that much, but in case you are using premium plugins. You should understand that developers of free plugins do not usually have time to remain active on support forum or push frequent updates considering their tight schedule.
That is to say, be prepared for slow response time on the support forum or update cycle for free plugins. However, in case you are premium plugins user. You should take these factors into account seriously especially if the plugin has not been updated in a year or so no matter the platform.
How to Install a WordPress Plugin
Installing a WordPress Plugin is one of the easiest tasks you can perform in your website. Considering that, we have published a short guide to give you an idea about the number of ways you can install a WordPress plugin. That is to say, go ahead and check that out while you are at it.
That’s all there is to it for now. We hope you will find this post a useful resource for yourself. If you like this guide, don’t forget to share your feedback, subscribe and spread the word. In fact, we will greatly appreciate it by saying… Thank you!