When you’re working with content managed web systems like WordPress, the expansion possibilities are huge. Whether you want to make the page and post creating easier to structure or if you want to display your images in visually striking format, third-party plugins are your friend.

There are some great benefits to using these on your website:

  • They give your website functionality and usability it wouldn’t have otherwise e.g. contact forms
  • They give you quick solutions to otherwise problematic requirements e.g. EU Cookie Disclaimer bars
  • They make your page and text editing easier e.g. visual editors for rich text editors
  • They add visual impact pieces to give your pages that “Wow!” factor e.g. sliders

Plugins are a powerful tool that can fundamentally change your website’s functionality. They’re made by developers unaffiliated with WordPress, from huge development teams to single-developer products. While it’s encouraged that you test the plugin before you place it fully on your website, there are steps you can take to make sure you have chosen a good one.

Check out the user reviews

When you are looking at anything, from a new stapler to a new flatscreen TV you will look at the star rating gauged by user reviews. Public opinion is very important. What to keep in mind when looking at these is the quantity of people who have reviewed. Which would you trust more; a plugin of five stars reviewed by two people or a plugin or four and a half stars reviewed by 200 people?

Check whether it does what you want it too

This may seem obvious but it’s important to check if the plugin’s got the functionality that you need it to do. The last thing you want to do is spend hours on trying to get it to do what you want when it just isn’t programmed to achieve that end. The best plugins have demo sites showing how it works in a natural environment. Check these out.

Check recent user reviews

If something goes wrong, the first thing people do is complain. You can sort the reviews for most recent. If they are all one or two star, check out what the problem is. You could save yourself the grief caused by a broken update and the dreaded WordPress “White Screen of Death”.

Check if it is actually free or whether it’s “free”

Imagine the scenario: You’ve found a plugin, it’s got great reviews and it does exactly what you want it to. You see no problems in installing and activating it. And then it reveals itself to you. The dreaded “Upgrade to Pro to unlock this feature!” box appears right on cue. It can be disappointing and leaves you with a quandary, pay up or look for a more affordable plugin.

Plugins can make or break (literally) your website. Use plugins responsibly and they’ll improve you’re website no end!

If you, like anyone, are wanting a website with form, function and finesse then contact The Soapy Group, but then I would say that.