You have optimised your WordPress website, but your site still seems laggy?
You know, even if you optimise your website as much as you can, just one poorly written plugin will be sufficient to reduce your page loading time.
We understand that if you need to extend the possibilities of your WordPress site, WordPress plugins are incredibly useful tools.
Yes, WordPress plugins are a blessing for everyone, but choosing low-quality WordPress plugins can lead to slower site loading time, websites could break easily, and can even leave you open to security risks.
There are many plugins for the same purposes, some of them may be free or freemium and paid. We don’t say that all free WordPress plugins are not robust or all paid WordPress plugins are excellent.
Okay, so how do you know what the best choice for your site is? You may don’t. You need to research and compare yourself.
We will share a checklist to choose reliable plugins that won’t affect your website performance.
1. Only Download From Reliable Sources
Most of the plugin developers will list their plugins on multiple trusted websites.
2. Check User Reviews and Ratings
User reviews and customer feedback don’t lie. If the plugin you are thinking about has a low star rating, then it’s probably for a good reason.
Also, consider the total number of reviews the plugin got.
By reading reviews, you will be able to learn things like how secure the plugin is, how often any technical issues occur to the plugin and anything else that you might worry about when installing a new plugin.
3. Plugin Maintenance as a Guide for Quality
From WordPress, you can look at the maintenance record of each plugin. If the plugin has not updated in years, you can assume that the developer has abandoned it.
Every plugin needs to be updated to stay compatible with the latest version of the WordPress core software. Otherwise, it will lead to potential security risks and could even lead to conflicts.
If the plugin received an update a few months ago, that means the developer is actively maintaining the plugin and working to improve it.
So check for the Last Updated date and see if the plugin is an actively maintained plugin.
4. Number of Active Installs
The Number of Active Installs tells you the number of websites, where the plugin is currently active. The larger people who have installed and are using the plugin, the famous it’s going to be.
You must realise that there will be some new plugins that are just as stable as older ones. Since the plugin is pretty new, the active installs may be low.
Especially, for a specific niche plugin, a lower number doesn’t necessarily indicate poor quality.
Always keep your WordPress software and plugins up to date.
5. Look for Mobile Responsiveness
Mobile responsiveness is a must have in today’s online world. If you are looking to use a plugin that will enable you to add a design element to your site, you should check to see if it is mobile responsive before using it.
Read the user reviews, FAQ and plugin Documentation to check if the plugin is mobile friendly. If the plugin not optimised for mobile access, then that’s a point you need to look further.
6. Support Options
Not every plugin has a dedicated support team as it is not needed. But, most high-quality plugins do have some form of support including community support and premium email support.
Check this out before, so you know how to get support from the plugin developer if any technical issues occur.
7. Documentation and FAQ
Writing documentation for a plugin expects a lot of effort and time from the developing team. Listing the guidelines makes the author look proficient and honest.
Some plugins have Frequently Asked Questions section. Some of them note it on their support page.
Look for their added screenshots as well.
8. Check the Developer of the Plugin
This test is like an extra mile test.
Click on the developer’s profile on WordPress. You can find out about them regarding their experience, how to reach them, their engagement in the WordPress community, and their activities within WordPress.org.
You can also get a list of their other plugins which you can use to evaluate what their overall track record is in creating high-quality and reliable plugins.
9. Install and Test Yourself
Even you have found a well-designed WordPress plugin; you have to make sure you are getting value from it. So, to check this, you can try by installing it on a test domain if you have any, and validate yourself.
Whenever you want a plugin for your WordPress website, remember that it’s not enough to easily find one and you are all done.
You need to do extensive research about the plugin. After all, you require a secure, stable plugin that won’t hurt your website.
Do you have any other strategy to validate the quality of a WordPress plugin? Please share that with us in the comments below.