I think for me the biggest reason I always encourage my clients to use the self-hosted version of WordPress over the hosted version of WordPress at WordPress.com is for the flexibility and the ability to customize your site using plugins. I’ve been working with clients since 2008 and in that time I’ve come across and test numerous plugins, some I absolutely love and install on every site I do for clients and others I stay away from at all opportunities. Now I was thinking of writing about my favourite plugins, do a Top Plugin in list and then thought well there’s lots of those our there and the WPMU community wrote one recently that has some great suggestions.
So instead I’m going to share some tips for how to source out a plugin that you might need for your site:
Use the WordPress.org repository:
If you are looking for a free plugin to use then this is THE resource and I strongly caution downloading a free plugin from anywhere else other than through the WordPress Community Repository. It’s not a guarantee, but you’ll least know you’ll be getting a plugin that’s free from any malware or other malicious code. You can access the plugins from the WordPress Repository 2 different ways. Search through there website at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ or through your WordPress Install Dashboard.Two of my favourites: Digg Digg by BufferApp and JetPack by WordPress.com
Check out Reviews:
When you are searching through the WordPress repository be sure to check a few things first:
When it was last updated. If the plugin hasn’t been updated for a few months or even years then it’s possible that the plugin is no longer being supported by the developer when means it might stop working on a new version of WordPress
What version is it compatible to. This can help you if you are running an older version of WordPress (Please! Keep your WordPress version updated!)
The Ratings. Does it have good ratings are people actually using the plugin and like it.
Check out more than just the Description. You can get lots of information on the other tabs of the plugin’s page. Take the time to review that information.
I always suggest to try out the free version of a plugin if there’s one available. The great thing about the WordPress Community is there are so many amazing free plugins that often you really don’t need to purchase a premium plugin to do the job, but certain jobs just call for premium plugin and make the price completely worth it. If you decide you want to purchase a premium plugin then I recommend that you do your research or get advice from someone who has a strong knowledge of plugins and what they can do for your particular set up of WordPress.I have a few premium plugins that I often recommend to clients and I recommend them because I use them everyday in my own business. If you are looking for an easy way to backup your WordPress site then I personally recommend Backup Buddy by iThemes and WP eStore for setting up your eCommerce solution in WordPress you can also bundle an affiliate program and membership program with WP eStore.
Trying to decide which plugins you should use on your WordPress site can be a daunting task and a quite overwhelming. If you are struggling with which plugin to use for which job you can book a plugin consultationand I can help you determine what will work best for your current set up.