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5 Things To Consider When Choosing Plugins For Your Blog

By Amy @BubbleJobs

Here at Bubble, as you’ve probably guessed, we love a good blog. Blogs are the perfect way to add new content to a site, create a brand voice and identity/raise an individual’s profile online and share company news and/or individual opinions – and the best bit is that practically anyone can have one.

Now, we’ve covered blogging before and we’ve written posts about everything from choosing your WordPress theme to starting your first blog, so today we thought we’d talk about another major element of blogging – plugins.

For those of you that are pretty new to blogging – plugins are a bit like apps – in that they’re they’re little add-ons that you can add onto your WordPress blog to help you customise your template and add new features to your blog.

From plugins which make it easy for people to share your posts to plugins which can make your blog load up super-fast, there are hundreds and hundreds of plugins available to any WordPress user – and the right ones for you will ultimately depend on what you’re trying to achieve.

That said; when it comes to choosing plugins for your blog, it can be easy to get carried away and start downloading every one that catches your eye (if they’re free of course!) – but before you start hitting the ‘Install Now’ and ‘Activate’ buttons, there are a few things you need to consider.

1. Do You Really Need It?

Before you start downloading plugins left, right and centre for your blog, you need to ask yourself which ones you really need. While there’s no recommended limit for the number of plugins you should have installed and active on your blog at any one time, it’s worth remembering that certain plugins can dramatically slow down the page speed of your blog – and some plugins can even clash with your theme and other installed plugins and cause you an even bigger headache.

That said; it might be worth making a list of ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ plugins you’d like on your blog – and start by downloading the ‘essential’ plugins only. Once you’ve got those activated, take another look at your ‘desirable’ list and ask yourself whether they’d actually fit on your blog – and, more importantly, if they’d actually bring anything!

2. Has It Got A Good Rating?

Just like your theme, it’s important to look at the ratings of a plugin before you download it. In addition to looking at what its star rating is, also look at how many ratings it has received and the type of reviews that users have left – needless to say the more positive reviews it has, the better!

3. How Recently Has It Been Updated?

When considering plugins, it’s important to also look at how many versions of the plugin have been released and how recently it has been updated. While a small number of versions doesn’t necessarily suggest a lack of quality, if the plugin’s last update was more than a couple of years ago, it could suggest it may no longer work with the most recent versions of WordPress and might no longer have any support associated with it… which brings me nicely onto my next point…

4. What’s The Support Available Like?

While you’ll tend to need less support with plugins than you will with your theme, it’s still nice to know that that support is available and there should you need it – so it’s definitely something to consider. Look at whether the developer has a separate forum and ticketing system set up for that particular plugin – and how many queries have been resolved in the last six or 12 months. If the plugin in question has loads of outstanding queries, it could be a sign that the developer isn’t too fussed about the plugin anymore – which isn’t ideal – particularly if you end up needing to modify the plugin to make it work with your blog/theme.

5. Will It Fit With The Rest Of Your Blog?

Last but not least, when choosing a plugin, you need to ask if it’s going to fit in with the rest of your blog. OK, so come December a plugin which makes picturesque snow fall across your blog can be tempting, but is it really going to help your politics blog to be taken seriously? Ask yourself what each plugin is going to bring to your blog and how it’s going to benefit your visitors. Great plugins should deliver a great experience for your visitors and should help them to engage more with you, your posts and your blog in general – so bear this in mind! 🙂

Like I said earlier; the right plugins for you will ultimately depend on your individual needs and the form and style of your blog – but hopefully this post should give you a good starting point.

Think I’ve missed anything out? Leave a comment or let us know on Twitter @BubbleJobs

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