Let me take this opportunity to wish all the readers of WLTC a Happy and Prosperous New Year!
Have you made any New Year resolutions?
If so add one to the list. If not, make a resolution to give the plugins that power our blogs a little attention.
WordPress and Plugins
WordPress is a very popular and excellent blogging system.
While WordPress is self sufficient to run as a system for a novice blogger, the more advanced bloggers like to enhance its functionality using Plugins.
There are already a few hundred, if not thousand plugins available today that do various tasks from enhancing your Admin panel to protecting you from spam to integrating some third-party service on your blog and more.
This wide choice of plugins can be very “tempting” and we end up installing a lot of plugins without giving a second thought; many of these we rarely use.
I won’t use this post to tell you which plugins I use or which I recommend. Will save that for a later post.
This post will stress on the importance of regular and continuous plugin maintenance.
Install Basic Plugins first
This is something I follow on all my blogs. When I install a WordPress blog (the same applies to existing installations too), I install a basic set of plugins. These plugins include those that help me manage my sitemaps, protect against spam and feed scrapers and to embed contact forms (to prevent email spam).
These plugins are necessary to ensure the smooth operation of the blog.
Choose only the plugins you need
Don’t install that plugin just because your friend’s blog has it running.
Before you go ahead and install a plugin, research and see if your blog needs it. If it does go ahead and install it. If not, then just let it be. You can always install it in the future as the need arises.
Can you embed the code?
The more plugins you have installed, the more the number of functions are to be loaded, which increases the overhead of your blog and slows down its loading.
Many of us use ready made templates. These are further customized as per requirement. And normally you wouldn’t be switching your templates too often.
If this is the case, then instead of installing many plugins, you can put the code in the template files directly. This is especially useful in the the case of a plugin that simply embeds code of some third party service.
While the plugin does offer ease of use, the manual install of the code means WordPress has to do lesser work while displaying the blog.
Most plugins have an alternative from another author. While some plugins may be a bit heavier, another plugin might be lighter while providing the same functionality.
Either install and test them seperately or better still find out the performance difference from another user.
Use the one giving you a better performance.
Remove files of deactivated plugins
If you are not going to activate it, then why keep it?
Remove the files and folders of plugins that are deactivated. You can always instal them later when you need to. If for any reason the plugin file has any vulnerability then you risk getting your blog hacked.
Check for updates
Plugins are not meant to be installed and forgotten. Take the time (I do it once a month) to check if an update is available for the plugins you have installed.
Almost all plugins have a version number and most authors publish a changelog. Make sure that you upgrade any plugins which have security updates.
- Install basic and necessary plugins first
- Only install a plugin if you need it
- Find a better alternative
- Embed code in the template if possible instead of using a plugin
- Remove files of deactivated plugins
- Check regularly for updates. Security upgrades are mandatory
Do you have any other practices to follow w.r.t. plugins? Do comment and let us know.