Installing a WordPress plugin on your website is like adopting a family puppy.
It’s not something you want to jump straight into just for ha-has. There are multiple factors that need to be taken into consideration to see if it’s a good fit.
In order to figure out if a plugin is “the one” you must ask these 5 questions before making a commitment.
Have I done my research?
By installing a bad plugin you could potentially bring down the functionality of your website. Check things like developer logs and forums for insight into how well it will work.
Even just doing a quick Google search on, “problems with X WordPress plugin” can greatly help your website with about 45 seconds of work. Be subjective with your research to find out if there is a legitimate problem or just user angst.
Do I need this plugin?
You don’t want to stuff every possible WordPress plugin you can think of onto your website. Doing so can significantly slow down your website on the backend.
Be sure to install them because they help to improve your visitor’s experience, and not because they’re super cool.
When was the last update?
By downloading a WordPress plugin that has gone over a year without being updated, you run the risk of downloading from someone who doesn’t care about being a helpful professional.
What’s the star rating?
A simple rule to follow, at least 3 is the way to be.
Okay, that wasn’t too clever but I think the point still stands. You want a minimum of a 3 star rating for any one installed on your website. There are plugins out there with a 2 star rating that might work, but it’s not worth the risk of bringing down your site.
How many times has it been downloaded?
If you’re considering one that has a 4 star rating but only has 7 downloads, you should probably be a little bit suspicious.
There is no magic threshold for it to be an acceptable plugin. But take into consideration there are nearly 3 million downloads on WordPress.org, so 100 downloads isn’t really all that impressive.
I hope this has helped to make your life easier with the wonderful world of WordPress. Even though these aren’t exact rules, hopefully now you can download and install plugins in confidence.