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WordPress Plugins: Friends or Foes?

By in Blog, Blog Maintenance, Blog Tips, WordPress, WordPress plugins | 0 comments

WordPressOne of the greatest things about WordPress is the ability to add functionality to it via plugins. There are some awesome free and premium plugins out there that will enhance your WordPress blog or website, and personally, I find it difficult to keep my number of active plugins to a minimum, but there are a few reasons to not install every single plugin you find that you like!

Why would you want to keep the number of plugins you use to a minimum?

  • One of the reasons for keeping the number of plugins you use down is because, logically speaking, the more plugins you use, the slower your WordPress blog or website will be. Living in this “age of speed” that we’re in, even Google has placed importance on the amount of time it takes for a site to load – this factor now affects the Google Ranking system, so it’s definitely something to take seriously!

  • For example, I used to have a neat little “bar” at the bottom of my site that made it easy for people to interact more with my site and with my blog. Initially, I tried the Wibiya bar, and then I tried the Skysa bar for a short period of time, but again, both of these “cool” bars made my site load just a little slower. I even find myself waiting only a few seconds on a site to load before giving up and moving on, so I knew that I needed to ensure my own site loads within a reasonable amount of time, so I disabled both of these plugins and no longer use the bars.

  • Another reason for keeping the number of plugins you use down to a minimum is because plugins can cause issues. I’ve experienced this first hand, and have had to take extra time to fix the “issues” they caused, and they definitely were not fun experiences.

  • I have a post that shows how cool the Topaz Labs Photoshop plugins are, and this post makes use of a couple of java scripts to enhance a user’s interactions with the images on the post itself.

    Remember that WordPress is very dynamic – it’s always being updated, and likewise, plugins are always being updated, and I do my best to always make sure I’m running the latest version of both my WordPress installation as well as my plugins. Ensuring you’ve got the most up-to-date WordPress version is also very important for security reasons, but that’s a subject for another day.

    One day, I noticed that my Topaz Labs post was no longer showing my images, and that confused me, so I went to check on the post itself, and sure enough, it had all the proper code and there was nothing wrong with the post itself, so I had to dig deeper… I spent hours trying to figure out what the root of the problem was, and in the end, it was a plugin that was conflicting with the scripts I was using on that particular page. As soon as I disabled the culprit, the post showed up perfectly!

    Unfortunately, this was not the only experience I’ve had with a plugin causing problems – I’ve even had my RSS feed affected by a plugin!

    I use Feedburner to syndicate my RSS feed, but when trying to set up the Socialize option, I noticed that my feed hadn’t been updated with my last few posts, so this prompted me to investigate further. After hours of research, I finally found the problem: the “Yet Another Related Posts” plugin I’m using has an option to display related posts in feeds, and it was conflicting with my feed and causing it to timeout – Feedburner wasn’t able to access my feed because of this option. As soon as I disabled this option, the feed was accessible and Feedburner was happy again!

    This also illustrates the importance of checking on your site or blog every time you update to make sure everything is still running without any hitches!

    Conclusion: plugins have added some great functionality to my WordPress installation, however they’ve also caused a few headaches, and quite a bit of wasted time.

    My opinion: plugins are friends, but potential foes, so you have to keep an eye on them, especially when updating!

    Have you had issues with plugins? How many plugins do you use? What’s your opinion on plugins: friends, or foes?

    Tell us what you think!

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