WordPress Plugins for Bloggers: The Ultimate Guide

WordPress is the most flexible CMS on the web. The reason for it’s flexibility is largely due to the wide variety of WordPress plugins available for WordPress.

We have WordPress plugins ranging from simple social sharing buttons, landing page builders, all the way to a complete e-commerce platform like WooCommerce.

WordPress plugins are much like Chrome extensions, which extends the core functionality of the WordPress CMS as per the user requirements.

Due to the plethora of WordPress plugins, it may be quite overwhelming for you to choose the best plugins you need to use on your WordPress site.

Bloggers Guide to WordPress Plugins

Free vs. Paid WordPress Plugins

As I told you there are tons of WordPress plugins that are both free and paid. The greatest misconception is that you need to always use all the premium plugins if you are serious about blogging. However, that’s not true at all.

If you find a free WordPress plugin in the official WP repo that provides the same features as that of their premium alternatives, there’s no reason for you to go for premium plugins.

You do also need to note that there are plenty of free plugins all over the place like on other sites, Github, etc. But, if you are going for a any free plugin, always go for plugins that are listed in the WP repo. The plugins in the official WordPress repo are officially tested for security aspects.

However, don’t ever become too dependant on a free plugin, that your site will be broken without it. Because, there are more chances of free plugins getting abandoned by the developer as months roll on as there’ll be no promise of support and updates by the developer.

If you want to get better support, frequent updates, and better compatibility with other plugins going for premium WordPress plugins is always the better option.

What number of plugins should I use?

WordPress does not really impose any restrictions on the number of plugins you can use an a single site.

However, as per my experience having the number anything below 35 plugins will be ideal.

I have seen many people using 100s plugins on their site, struggling with their page load speed, and facing compatibility issues among their plugins when every update rolls on.

When you update your WordPress plugins, you will be not sure what plugin breaks what on your site if you tons of plugins. Moreover, it’ll also be very troublesome to troubleshoot the exact plugin that is the culprit.

Everytime your page loads on the frontend for your website visitors, most of the plugins load a JS or a PHP script. When you have many unnecessary plugins, it’ll take a toll on your page-speed and server bandwidth.

If you are having tons of plugins, it’ll be hard for you to update them regularly, which in turn leaves your site more vulnerable to hackers.

Techniques to make plugin management easier

No matter how hard you try to limit the use of plugins, you’ll still end up with hundreds of plugins. Here are the techniques that you need to consider:

  • Make use of plugins and themes that replace the functionality of many plugins. Rather than using a separate plugin for social share bar, why not use a theme that comes with this inbuilt feature? Instead of using a separate plugin for theme customization, why not use a theme that already comes with powerful customization options? Always look for plugins or a theme that replace the functionality of many plugins.
  • Always go for plugins from a single developer whenever possible. For example, I use all the the WordPress plugin provided by Thrive Themes, and with this I make sure that these plugins communicate well with each other and does not break each other’s functionality as it is from a same developer.
  • Add functions in the form of hooks, instead of using multiple lightweight plugins to accomplish some simple tasks like disabling URL in comment field, changing the background color of the author’s comment, adding Analytics code, so on.

What are the best WordPress plugin marketplaces?

It’s not suggested for you to use the plugins available on some 3rd party site online as they may contain malicious codes that compromise your site.

If you are looking for free plugins, you need to make use of the official WordPress repo.

For purchasing premium plugins you can consider CodeCanyon, and other trusted WordPress product providers. If you are not sure whether a premium WordPress plugin is trusted or not, just check the official repo once whether they have free version of the plugin or else search for reviews online.

What are the things you need to look before installing a free plugin?

The reasons why I’m recommending for you to download free plugins from official repo is WordPress does a good job at displaying essential data like:

Plugin performance

  • Plugin last updated date (anything within an year is safe depending upon the complexity of the plugin)
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Active installs (anything above 20,000 is good to go)
  • Compatibility with WordPress versions
  • Downloads per day
  • Much more

With this transparency, you can easily decide whether it’s a safe decision for you to install a WordPress plugin.

How to install, delete, and deactivate WordPress Plugins?

In order to install, WordPress plugin, you need to first head over to the “Add new plugin” section of your WordPress site.

Add new plugin

Here in the resulting screen you need to either upload the plugin file or search for the plugin you are looking in the WordPress official repo.

Chances are there, if you bought the plugin from places like CodeCanyon, you need to manually upload the plugin file. Once you install the plugin, you need to hit the “activate” button.

Deactivate plugin

The activated plugins are all listed in the plugins page as you can see in the above screenshot. From there you can deactivate the plugins.

Delete plugin

Once you deactivate the plugin, you can delete or activate the plugin again.

My WordPress plugin reviews

Wrapping up

Hope you loved this post helpful. As bloggers, we need to make use of the some of the useful plugins in WordPress. There are tons of plugins for WordPress, you need to be sure that the plugins you choose will serve your needs well.

Again, I would like to mention that you should not make use of hundreds of plugins on your site. You need regularly deactivate or even delete the plugins you are not using. Because, when there are multiple plugins, the chances of security risks and incompatible issues will be more.

Always opt for plugins that are feature-rich and enables you to deactivate multiple plugins to implement those features.