Additional features on your website are always a blessing and plugins help you get these amazing features on your website. However, there is a hoarding of WordPress plugins that are available and at times it gets difficult to select the best. Having the best free WordPress plugins are a blessing as you will have an upper hand over your competitors. Every website will vary and so will its requirements. The points below will help you decide which plugins you need to pick to better the working of your website.
Pen Down Your Requirement
Outline your plan. When using WordPress as your CMS what is its usage? Whether you are planning to create a virtual market or wish to create and share content. If you think your website would attract more of domestic traffic then having a plugin for multiple languages would be useless.
In short determining the purpose of the website is an important criterion in the selection of the plugins you are about to use.
Looking for a Plugin
The WordPress plugin directory is vast and locating the perfect plugin for your site could get difficult. The search feature of the directory does not offer good search results, Google Search would do a better job for you. Browsing through popular plugins is also not a bad idea. If you find none of them worthy for your website in the first two pages then running a search is advised.
The WordPress plugin directory has been set to display results based on relevancy. Stick to relevancy instead of sorting them by popular or newest, else the relevancy factor goes down and you get useless plugins. You can also see the number of downloads for every plugin, when it was last updated, rating and link to author profile. You don’t need to be advised on which one to select right!
Compare the Plugins
When you think you have located the best free WordPress plugins you can open each one and compare. The WordPress plugin page comprises of all the details of the plugin – its benefits, usage and installation. This detail comes in handy as it is from this information that you can decide on best plugin suitable for your website.
Besides on looking up in Google Search with the name of the plugin you have in mind to use for your website, you will be able to find the reviews of the plugin. There are several sites that specialize in reviewing plugins. If you run through them you would be able to lay your hands on the good and bad about the plugin you are interested in.
Check the Screenshot of the Plugin
A picture will tell you many things. All plugins have screenshots and they are the best way to see how a plugin would look when actually installed in your CMS. Words will describe many a things about the plugin but in order to select the best free WordPress plugins you also need to see how it actually works. Screenshots make your work easy and quick to decide.
Many users return back with complaints that the plugin doesn’t work. They try to use the plugin without reading the complete information. This is when FAQ’s come in. FAQ’s are important while looking up a plugin and so are Other Notes tabs. These pages contain information that could be of great help. They tell you how to use the plugin.
Reading these pages thoroughly will help you understand the usage of plugins you wish to install. They tell you how to configure them correctly on the desired website. Such pages also contain useful tips that come in handy when using the plugin. You could also find the author’s advice here and how you could add your choice of CSS styles.
Test the Plugin
Testing the plugin is the next step while selecting best free WordPress plugins. There are some plugins whose codes don’t follow the standards of WordPress. There codes are poorly written and can harm your website by slowing it down. In order to avoid this problem you can open one of the site speed checking service. Here you can enter the URL of your website and then check for the speed with the plugin being activated. Make a note of the results and then activate the plugin that you intend on testing. Go back to the same speed testing service site and run the test. Compare the results and check whether or not there is a notable change in the time of your websites speed. Dump the plugin if the changes are too significant and look for something that doesn’t hamper your website speed. People will check-in only those websites that have a good loading speed and also function fast on an average.
Plugin Not Working?
There are times you would find your plugin not working or showing an error. There is a possibility that the recently installed plugin is not agreeing with another plugin. Try deactivating all the plugins and then activating the default theme of WordPress and test the plugin now. In case the plugin is still showing error then a support thread needs to be opened.
All the plugins in WordPress are open source and they don’t come with warranty. The authors are not obligated to answer your questions. However, most of them want their code to work out so they usually get back.
You would want to select a different plugin if your questions go unanswered.
There is much exploration and attention required while selecting plugins for WordPress. Patience is a virtue here as there is much research that goes in. After all you want the best for your website. Things such as reviews, best rated, most downloaded etc. are your best resort. Experience always comes in handy and the people who have actually used the plugin will definitely help you in selecting the best free WordPress plugins for your website.