WordPress Tips & Tricks – Finding the Best Plugins for Your Website

A new visitor to your website makes a split-second decision about you and whether or not you provide beneficial products, services or information.

wordpress plugins tips and tricks

One way to make the right first impression with your website visitors is to have eye-catching visual elements and features throughout your site.

There WordPress tips and tricks will help your business move in the right direction.

WordPress plugins can help you accomplish this task.

Finding the right plugin to use on your website can be an overwhelming and difficult task to undertake.

Here are some tips and tricks that can help make that process a little easier for you.

WordPress tips on where to Start looking for plugins.

An excellent starting point for finding the best plugins for WordPress website is for you to take a few minutes to decide what function you want a plugin to serve on your website.

Write down a generic name for the plugin you have in mind and then add all of the features it needs to have as well.

Wordpress Plugin List

When listing the features you want for each plugin, do so in the order of importance to you.

You will not find a plugin that offers every feature on your list.

Therefore, having an order of importance list will help you select the one that matches the essential features that you must have for that particular plugin.

You may be unable to find one plugin that offers any of the features that you need. In that situation, look for two compatible plugins that work together to serve the singular function you want.

Now that you have an idea on the type of plugins you are looking for, it’s time to search for the options available to you.

Searching for Plugins

WordPress offers an impressive library of plugins that can handle just about any function you can imagine. For that reason, finding what you need will not be a problem. However searching for it may be a bit time consuming. You can start by browsing through the WordPress plugin directory to see if anything on the first few pages matches what you need.

Search for plugins

Try to avoid going past the first three pages or so of the search results. That can end up being time consuming and costing you time that you can spend finding the actual plugin that you need.

If you are unable to find the plugins by browsing through that directory, you can do a specific search in the directory that may help you find what you need.

Provide as much detail as possible in the search box and decide how you want to categorize the search results. Your search results display options appear by the following criteria.

  • Relevance
  • Newest Plugins
  • Highest User Ratings
  • Most Popular Plugins

The default display method is ‘relevance’ to the terms you enter in the search engine box. If you want to see other options, simply select the corresponding button underneath the search box to change the type of results that you see.

As you look over the search results, you will notice that there are numbers underneath each entry. Those numbers provide additional information on each plugin, such as the number of times users download it, what its current rating is and when the last update took place.

When reviewing the information, look for the plugins with recent updates, positive user ratings and a respectable number of downloads.

You may also find it helpful to read the plugin description, review the frequently asked questions section and look at the screenshots the plugin author provides. All of this information gives you a good idea as to whether or not this particular plugin will be beneficial to you.

After doing this research and deciding that the plugin is the right one for you, click on the download button that is usually to the right of the main plugin in name and description area. Within a few minutes, the plugin will appear in the main sidebar of your WordPress dashboard page. It is now ready for you to use as you see fit.

WordPress provides a vast number of plugins in each possible category, which means you are likely to find two or more that meet your ‘must have’ features criteria. When that happens, you will need to compare the plugins to help determine which one will work the best for you.

Tips for Comparing Plugins

Start by opening each individual plugin page in a separate tab window in your internet browser. Read through the description of each plugin, making notes about the components that are the most important to you. Analyze the information in the sidebar section of the plugin information page. It provides additional details on each plugin that can help you determine if it’s compatible with your computer system.

The process will require you to look at the following areas for each plugin you are considering using on your website.

  • Operational Details
  • Ratings
  • Assessments

Tips for Comparing Plugins

The first piece of information you will see gives specific WordPress system operation requirements. For example, it may say ‘version 3.2 or higher required’, which means you must currently have that version in place for the plugin to work correctly on your website. Additional information includes the date of the last update for the plugin and the number of downloads the plugin has since first appearing in the WordPress plugin directory.

Plugindirectory

All of this information is essential to your decision making process on whether or not to download a plugin of interest. It helps you see how popular the plugin is, which also indicates how well the plugin performs on individual websites.

Plugin Ratings

The next sidebar section you see will provide numerical feedback information on how other users view the performance of the plugin. WordPress utilizes a star rating system where five stars equals high quality and one star equals low quality. As you review this information, avoid letting a low star rating or the lack of any star ratings at all factor into your decision on whether or not to use a plugin that appeals to you. Many WordPress users fail to take the time to rate a plugin, even when it is their favorite one.

Plugin Assessments

When users provide a star rating to a plugin, they also provide written feedback further explaining their reasoning behind that rating. You can review this information by clicking on a rating bar on the graph. For example, clicking on ‘4 stars’ brings up feedback information for all of the users that feel the plugin deserves four stars.

Plugin Assessments

At the top of the review graph, you will see the total number of user reviews available for that particular plugin. The average star rating sits to the left of this information. Both pieces of information can help you gain a feel for the experience other users have with the tool, which can help in your decision making process. Do not dismiss ratings with one or two stars as there could be a specific reason why a user gave the plugin that rating.

Making the Decision

By now you most likely have a good idea of what plugin you are going to select for your website. If you aren’t quite there yet don’t panic as there are a few other pieces of information that can help with your decision process. Read through the ‘frequently asked questions’ and ‘other notes’ tabs that are at the top of the plugin information page. These sections provide additional information on how you can use the plugin while also addressing any issues you may face when downloading the plugin in your WordPress account.

With all of your comparison analysis complete, it is time to make a decision. Start by reviewing your notes of each plugin you are considering to see if you can easily eliminate one or two options. Continue working through the process of elimination until only one plugin remains. Download that plugin into your WordPress dashboard and start using it to enhance the features on your website.

What to Do If a Plugin Doesn’t Work

There may be times when a plugin that you download fails to work. The cause could be as simple as that plugin not working with other plugins that are currently on your website. To see if this issue is causing the new plugin to fail, you need to temporarily deactivate the other plugins. Give the new plugin another try and see what happens.

If it still doesn’t work, reactivate your other plugins and visit the support tab in the WordPress plugin directory. Start a support ticket detailing the exact issues you are having with the plugin and read through the support forum to see if a solution to your issue is already there.

A key point to remember is that WordPress plugins do not come with warranties, which means that the plugin creators may not respond to your support ticket. Many authors prefer to answer your questions and provide as much assistance as possible so you can enjoy the plugin features as much as they enjoy making the plugins.

Finding the best plugin for WordPress can be an overwhelming task to undertake. Take your time reviewing the information for each plugin that you are considering adding to your site. If a plugin doesn’t work out, you can always delete it and try the next plugin on your research list.

A new visitor to your website makes a split-second decision about you and whether or not you provide beneficial products, services or information.

At the top of the review graph, you will see the total number of user reviews available for that particular plugin. The average star rating sits to the left of this information. Both pieces of information can help you gain a feel for the experience other users have with the tool, which can help in your decision making process. Do not dismiss ratings with one or two stars as there could be a specific reason why a user gave the plugin that rating.  A key point to remember is that WordPress plugins do not come with warranties, which means that the plugin creators may not respond to your support ticket. Many authors prefer to answer your questions and provide as much assistance as possible so you can enjoy the plugin features as much as they enjoy making the plugins.

Finding the best plugin for WordPress can be an overwhelming task to undertake. Take your time reviewing the information for each plugin that you are considering adding to your site. If a plugin doesn’t work out, you can always delete it and try the next plugin on your research list.

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O'Neil Wilson

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