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Plugins are incredible and powerful tools for any WordPress blogger. They can add amazing features without you needing to know anything more than how to install a plugin. You generally don’t have to worry about coding the features. Making them powerful, easy and accessible even to beginner bloggers.
But whilst understanding WordPress plugins, where to find and how to install them is easy. This doesn’t prevent the many big WordPress plugin mistakes that bloggers make with them.
So, how do you feel about WordPress plugins? Do you think you are making any mistakes with them?
Well, let’s find out!
1 | You Can Install Too Many Plugins
One of the first things many bloggers do. When they first find out about all the interesting features they can add to their blog. With little to no effort. Is to install many plugins to do all sorts of things, like add:-
- Social media buttons
- Instagram feeds
- Pinterest widgets
- Contact forms
- Comment features
- And more
The problem with this is, there can be such a thing as too many WordPress plugins. But often the question that follows with this realization. Is how many plugins is too many?
Well, there is really no set number. As with the variety of
Every plugin can vary in quality and depending on its features. Some might be more resource intensive. Some of the best ways to ensure you are not making this mistake are the following.
Only Install WordPress Plugins You Need
It is important for keeping down the number of WordPress plugins you are using. That you only install and use plugins that you have a strong need for. Or that add significant value to your blog.
Things like Social Media buttons are definitely non-negotiable. Or things like a contact form. Whilst adding an Instagram feed looks beautiful when done right. Is it something that is a focus for your blog for example? If you don’t have much of an Instagram focus. Then you should consider removing any plugin that has this feature.
Consider Alternative Methods That Don’t Require A WordPress Plugin
Is the plugin you are using something you could do without a plugin? This can vary a lot. But consider this, I have covered several different ways to install Google Analytics on any WordPress blog.
Some options were plugins, but there were options that didn’t require any kind of plugin either. So, if you felt you had too many plugins and were using one of the Google Analytics plugins. You could consider using one of the other methods I listed instead.
Thirdly, the best way to tell if you have too many plugins. Is to test your website speed using one of several popular tools. You can test before installing a plugin and run another test after installing the plugin. This can give you insights on whether the plugins you are using. Have a significant impact on your blog’s performance. Whilst it is up to you to decide how fast is good enough, aiming for under 2-3 seconds is always a reasonable target. After all, you don’t want your audience leaving your blog because it loads too slow, right?
2 | Installing Poor Quality WordPress Plugins
Next up, let’s talk about WordPress plugin quality. Many WordPress plugin mistakes can be due to a lack of understanding that not all WordPress plugins are created equally. Each plugin has its own author and there are tons of different people who create the different plugins you can get on WordPress.org.
Because of this, you may find that some plugins simply work better than others. Whilst others may be prone to breaking your blog. Ouch!
So, how can you tell which plugins are poor quality so you can avoid them?
Well, it isn’t always obvious but I would consider the following.
Check For Reviews on WordPress.org To Help Avoid WordPress Plugin Mistakes
Firstly, each plugin on WordPress.org has a section for reviews.
If you click on the See all. Then you can see and read all the individual reviews a WordPress plugin has.
The overall rating and the points made by each individual review. Can give you an indication as to whether a WordPress plugin works well. Or not in some cases. You can often get an idea on common complaints too.
Whilst having a lot of positive reviews might be a sign of a quality plugin. A lack of reviews, also might not be a sign of a bad WordPress plugin either. The plugin may be new or its users haven’t been motivated enough to write a review. After all, some plugins are more prone to nagging for a review than others!
Consider The Author, Active Installs & Other Information
Another thing to consider is the WordPress plugin author. Whilst it might take further research, finding out who the author of the plugin is. And whether they have other plugins. Might give you hints as to whether the quality of the plugin is great. So you can avoid making WordPress plugin mistakes related to install poor quality plugins.
You could also consider the number of active installs for a WordPress plugin. Again, like with the reviews. A plugin with hundreds of thousands of installs is likely an indication of a quality WordPress plugin. But a lack of active installs might just be the sign of a new WordPress plugin. Or one that doesn’t have highly in demand features instead.
Sometimes, if you are still not sure with the above results. Then a search for reviews on other sources can also give you hints. Likely if it is a popular plugin, someone out there will have written a blog post about it!
Finally, one of the final things you can do. Is to test the before and after effects of the plugin whilst using a website testing tool.
3 | Installing WordPress Plugins With Common Bugs Or Are No Longer Updated
Another common WordPress plugin mistake. Is that you might be tempted to use outdated or faulty WordPress plugins. This might be because only that particular plugin has this option. Or perhaps you just didn’t notice it when you installed the plugin.
Either way, you can check the install version. And make sure it is compatible with your version of WordPress. Often if a plugin hasn’t been updated in a long time. Or it is not compatible with the last few major versions of WordPress. Then WordPress.org will tell you. But for everything else, you’ll need to look at the ‘Tested up to’ number.
Not sure what version of WordPress you are currently using to compare against? You can easily see your WordPress version number from your dashboard. So if you go to the Dashboard and then look for At A Glance. You should see something like the below image, where for example WordPress 5.1.1 would be your version.
A plugin’s Tested up to version should either match your WordPress version or be higher than it.
Another way to look for issues would be to check the WordPress plugin’s reviews. Similar to what I mentioned earlier. But in this case, you should be focusing on whether people are reporting a lot of errors.
If you still find yourself unsure. The last step you can take is by making a backup of your blog and testing the plugin for yourself. Just keep in mind that WordPress plugins that haven’t been updated for a while. Could possibly have exploits or issues you’re not aware of.
4 | Using WordPress Plugins With Vulnerabilities WordPress Plugin Mistakes
Okay, so plugin vulnerabilities are more common than you might think. Every single WordPress plugin you are using on your blog. Could have a security vulnerability or bug that you don’t know about. Which could be used by hackers to do terrible things to your blog.
In fact, one of the most recent ones I heard about is with Social Warfare. They had not 1, but 2 vulnerabilities in one of their updates. Which allowed hackers to insert spammy links into your sharing buttons. Or even let them take over your blog.
It honestly sounds terrifying to know your WordPress plugins could suddenly become exploitable. Because of some update. All without you even knowing.
But you know what you could do? Consider installing WordFence and getting signed up for their emails. Since signing up for WordFence. I’ve been regularly getting updated on WordPress plugins with vulnerabilities. As soon as they become known. It definitely gives me more peace of mind these days.
The only thing missing from using the free version of WordFence. Is that in cases like the Social Warfare vulnerability. WordFence adds special rules for their premium users and their firewalls. To automatically protect them from such threats. But as a free user, you won’t get these updates until a week+ after premium users. So you’ll need to be extra vigilant in checking your emails for any of your plugins that might be exploited.
5 | Not Being Aware That WordPress Plugins Or Nulled Plugins Can Be Malicious
Did you know? Another mistake you might not be aware of is that you can find plugins that contain malicious code. Downloading plugins from outside of the well-known sources. Such as WordPress.org. Or popular sellers could land you in hot water.
What especially might be tempting as a new blogger starting out. Are premium plugins offered as free or nulled. These types of plugins you should avoid at all costs. As they are only ever advertised as such to install spammy and malicious code on your blog.
Please note, however, it is possible to get premium plugins bundled in with some premium Themes. So long as the Theme vendor is reputable this is perfectly normal.
So, make sure you consider where you are getting your WordPress plugins from. WordPress.org is safe as plugins go through a review process just like Themes do. However, often premium only plugins can only be download from the author’s website. So make sure to verify that they are legit.
6 | Not Removing Plugins You No Longer Use
This WordPress plugin mistake is tricky and easy to forget. Leaving unused WordPress plugins installed on your blog is a common mistake that we all make. Plugins are super easy to install. And it isn’t unusual when looking for the perfect WordPress plugin to add certain features. For you to find more than one WordPress plugin that can do the job.
So, what do you do? Likely, you’ll install multiple plugins to test and disable any you don’t like. With the intention to review them again later. Problem is by the time you finish testing and experimenting to find the perfect WordPress plugin for your blog. You’ve likely forgotten about those you disabled earlier. Meaning they could be sitting and lurking in the backend of your blog.
This is why it is important for you to make sure you review any WordPress plugins you don’t use. On a regular basis. Just in case you do forget to uninstall. So you can disable and delete them. By doing this you will make your WordPress backups lighter. And can even add speed benefits to your blog. Both at the front end for your visitors and for yourself in the backend.
7 | Installing Multiple Plugins At Once
Finally, one last WordPress plugin mistake I want to cover. Is that many bloggers, especially when just starting out. Will install many WordPress plugins all in one go. Without spending any time to test that each plugin works correctly or the impact of the changes it makes on their blogs.
So, don’t install many WordPress plugins all at once. Because if one breaks your blog. You won’t have any clue as to which one it was. Meaning you will have to go through and test them all one by one anyways.
When you install one plugin at a time. Make sure to test it thoroughly. When you check your live blog think about:-
- Does it work?
- Does it do what you expected?
- Have you compared it to a website speed test done before to check it isn’t significantly slowing your blog?
- Have you checked in a freshly opened private tab? To ensure your results are accurate for first-time visitors to your blog?
Avoiding These Big WordPress Plugin Mistakes Are A Vital Part Of Learning To Blog
So, overall WordPress plugins are a powerful asset to any blog. But like with all things. You need to avoid these common WordPress plugin mistakes to ensure you are getting the most out of them. As well as ensure they are more of a help than a hindrance.
To quickly recap, the biggest mistakes with WordPress plugins you want to avoid are:
- Installing too many plugins
- Using WordPress plugins that are poor quality or bloated
- Relying on plugins that are outdated or buggy
- Installing a WordPress plugin with security vulnerabilities or malicious code
- Not removing unused WordPress plugins
- Not testing plugins individually
Hopefully, now that you know about these biggest mistakes. You could be making when using WordPress plugins on your blog. As well as tips and tricks to evaluate plugins for yourself. You can try to avoid them and the issues they bring with them. For a more enjoyable and less stressful blogging experience.
What’s your biggest mistake you’ve made when using WordPress plugins? My own biggest mistake is definitely forgetting to disable. And uninstall unused WordPress plugins!
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