The DevTeam Alpha News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published on WP Arena:
WordPress plugins are great. Not only that, they are basically a necessity for any website, offering tons of features and functionalities to your website you would not have otherwise.
What you may not be aware of, however, is that presently there are over 55,000 WordPress plugins for you to choose from. How’s that for overwhelming?!
Anyway, because there are so many WordPress plugins to choose from, you can imagine it makes it mighty difficult to find the right one. In addition, there are many misconceptions surrounding WordPress plugins. So, to get started, there are a few things we need to settle in this article.
I am going to discuss the massive and ever-growing expanse of WordPress plugins made available to you, and I am going to tell you exactly what you need to know in order to get the most out of integrating WordPress plugins into your website.
The big question: What is a WordPress Plugin After All?
Before we discuss how best to implement WordPress plugins for your website, you need to know a thing or two about what they are and how they work.
Basically, WordPress plugins are apps for your website, adding new features and modifying the website’s functionality. For instance, plugins can make add functionality that allows you to create an online store, they can let you add contact forms to your website, and plenty more.
But what is WordPress itself? One of the most widely used website creating tools around the globe, it allows anyone to create pages or posts on the Internet without having to learn an ounce of all that cumbersome HTML code. They even offer basic tools that you can use for free!
HTML code, standing for HyperText Markup Language, is the main coding language used in creating documents on the World Wide Web. Because it is a coding language, however, it is not necessarily easy or intuitive to learn. WordPress makes it significantly easier for inexperienced users to engage with the Internet community.
WordPress runs using the Personal Home Page (PHP) programming language. This allows it to create dynamic, interactive websites. They are more fun that way!
And plugins just add to that effect. WordPress gives you easy tools, allowing just about anybody to create a great and efficient website by the use of plugins.
Honestly, WordPress’s plugins are a blessing. And you should not take them for granted. If your website is like a playground, then plugins are like toys. And there is no fun with no toys.
What’s the use: why do WordPress plugins even matter?
As mentioned earlier, there are more than 55,000 WordPress plugins made available in its official plugins directory as of writing this article.
These plugins can be extremely beneficial when implemented and utilized correctly. They can help improve SEO (your website’s Search Engine Optimization) as well as increasing your website’s security, managing users, saving you time, offering flexibility, and much more.
WordPress plugins are generally very reliable and an essential component of using WordPress itself. They are the reason WordPress is as reputable as it is (if that offers you any context at all.)
How many WordPress plugins do you actually need?
Well, that is a matter of opinion, but let me tell you one thing … the real question should be: how many WordPress plugins are too many?
When it comes to the many misconceptions surrounding WordPress plugins, it is important to understand how WordPress plugins impact a website’s speed, performance, and overall security.
When it comes to having too many WordPress plugins, problems can arise.
For starters, too many plugins can slow your website down. When a website takes longer than three seconds to load, 40% of visitors will actually leave a website.
It has been found, too, that malicious scripts have been coded into some plugins, compromising any website that makes use of these. Additionally, websites can become comprised when plugins are outdated. Because of this, you must remember the risks when choosing plugins to install, and always, always, always read the reviews before you make the final decision.
Sometimes, too, websites can crash and thus lack reliability. Because WordPress is an open-source project (meaning everyone can use, change, and share all WordPress software for free), some low-quality plugin codes cause website crashes, hindering website performance and webpage speed.
Lastly, plugins can induce bad performance rates and slow page speeds. It has been said the more the merrier, but in the case of WordPress plugins, that is not always true. The more plugins you have installed, the slower your website will be.
Now to go back to the main question: how many WordPress plugins are too many?
Well, there is not a definitive number set in stone for all users, but generally, (as the co-founder of WP Curve, Dan Norris, recommended) never exceed 20 plugins.
Less is actually more. And you have to be picky—only use the plugins you need.
What are some good options for WordPress plugins?
The first step you need to take to start playing with WordPress plugins is to get yourself a domain for your website. Although WordPress is a great site builder, you will probably still want to register a domain through a traditional registrar like 101domain before getting started. Once you have your domain, you’re ready to begin.
As you can already tell, the world of WordPress plugins is huge and overwhelming. But fear not, there are lots of good options for WordPress plugins that will ensure your website is engaging and fun to use.
Always keep in mind: reduce, reduce, reduce. Never have too many plugins. The fewer the plugins, the less chance of running into issues, after all. So, decide what you really need and delete the rest.
Opt to install multifunctional plugins, thus reducing the total number of plugins you use when they have more than one feature that you need.
Make sure to install a security plugin, too! They not only help you catch and isolate issues before they break your website, but they also nip problems in the bud, preventing any further damage.
Other than that, there are a plethora of different categories WordPress plugins fall into.
Now, get ready, because if you were not already overwhelmed, just wait until you see what I have in store. Here are some plugins that cover a range of different aspects:
- Security (as we mentioned)
- SEO—boosting your website’s ranking in search engines
- Performance—tweaking and speeding up your website
- Webpage building—so you do not have to resort to complex coding and design; you will not feel restrained by the limits of the regular WordPress editor
- Social media—boosting your website’s visibility on social media, getting you more shares and likes, or even allowing you to display your own social media content on your website
- Photo gallery—the regular WordPress software only includes a basic gallery functionality, and it is pretty limited. This is a great option for those wanting to display a large number of images on their website.
- Contact form—disregarding whatever type of website you have created, you are probably going to want a contact form. Contact form plugins are great for allowing more than just basic functionality, helping you register users and accept payments (among other important functions.)
- eCommerce—depending on what you plan to sell, these are great for building your website’s online store. To note, WordPress is by far the most popular way to build an eCommerce store!
- Image compression—these speed up your website by reducing the file size of the images you display
- Customer relationship management (CRM)—helping you understand your customers; this is pretty important for pretty much any and every business, and outside of WordPress, CRM programs can be expensive.
- Learning Management System (LMS)—helping you create and monetize your own courses (the eCourse industry has exploded in recent years!)
- Directory—to keep everything organized and searchable, these are great for creating a directory of businesses in a particular geographic area or industry
- Forum—for a discussion board on your website
- Donation—great for any non-profit website, anyone looking to accept donations, or for running entire fundraising campaigns
- Real estate—for those selling houses, renting apartments, or any other real estate endeavors
- Membership—allows you to manage members and what content is available to different types of members
- Quiz—allows you to create different kinds of quizzes and surveys to get the answers you want and need
- PDF—for when you need to display embedded PDFs or documents on your website
- Age verification—if you need to comply with certain legal restrictions and regulations, these can help prevent underage users from viewing your website
- Project management—allows you to manage your business’s projects
- Download manager—allows certain users to download files at your website with restrictions against the general masses, giving you a bit more control
- Backup—keeps your website’s data safe and secure if your website hosting does not offer automatic backups
- Q&A—if you are looking to have a bit more fun, these are good options
- Lead generation—allows you to build an email list
- Advertising—allows you to insert and manage advertisements on your website, saving you time and giving your website greater functionality
- Code—allows you to better add code snippets to your website, making life all the more easier for you!
- Columns and table—allows you to display your content in a table or grid
- Transactional email—helping you to safely and effectively send your transactional emails when a user registers, requests a new password, etc., etc., etc.
- Affiliate marketing—allows you to monetize your website
- Comment—giving you extra functionality, allowing you to stay engaged with your comments section
- Spam—stops spammers in their tracks
- Slider—used to showcase and make your website’s content stand out, they are effective for things like product tours or photo galleries
And that is only some of it! Can you imagine that there are tens of thousands more?!
So, if this list gives you any idea, there really is a WordPress plugin for everything!
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