Businesses often incorporate WordPress plugins for a variety of reasons. These include:
- Expedited development time
- Pre-built features
While WordPress plugins can be effective, we recommend that you try to use as few of them as possible.
We talked with our in-house web developer, Luca Wistendahl, to get his insights on why you shouldn’t use a large number of plugins on your website.
What are some common issues you see regarding plugin usage?
- Plugin redundancy is a problem I’ve come across several times on client sites. Sometimes a site will have multiple plugins that do the same thing, all of which are activated but only one of which is actually being used. This is problematic because plugins that remain active but aren’t being used will just sit on the site doing nothing but asking the browser to process extra data.
- Plugin updates aren’t a problem per se, but they do require attention. Plugins, just like WordPress itself, often require regular updates, some of which contain patches to security vulnerabilities such as spam, malware, etc. The implications of this for a user are that if the user misses a plugin update that addresses security, the site is then vulnerable to a known security issue.
- Themes can be affected by plugin updates. It’s possible that a plugin update will conflict with the active theme, resulting in broken or malfunctioning parts of the site. Troubleshooting this issue often involves deactivating all active plugins one by one to find out which one is causing the issue.
What do you suggest for businesses looking to avoid having too many plugins?
- Try to find a developer who doesn’t use a lot of plugins.There are plenty of WordPress developers who rely heavily on plugins because it’s their preferred method of adding features to a site, but I encourage businesses to look for developers who can meet their goals without excessive plugin use.
- Use trusted third-party applications that will work with your site. Although plugins themselves are third-party, I’m referring to non-plugin applications in this case. It’s the difference between embedding a Wufoo form getting a plugin to create a form on your page. If you use a trusted third-party service, chances are that you’ll receive good support when the service’s features need to be fixed or changed.
- Only seek out the functionality that your site actually needs.There are literally thousands of WordPress plugins, so it can be easy to go overboard with functionality when there’s so much of it readily available. However, I encourage clients to take on a more minimalist mindset, and add functionality to their sites—from plugins or otherwise—only as it’s needed.
Do you have any other tips or insights you feel are important for businesses to know when they are modifying or redesigning their website?
In general, less is more when it comes to designing and developing sites. Too many plugins and your site’s performance can suffer; too many colors and your visitors won’t know where to look; too many options and your visitors won’t know where to start. I advocate for plugin-light, elegantly-designed sites that show the visitors what they need to see and encourage them toward where they need to go for the business, and the site, to be successful.
Does Your Business Need Help with WordPress?
Is your site performing slowly or are you just interested in switching from a premium theme to a custom design made specifically for your business? Sixth City Marketing is here to help. We have experience providing web design in Cleveland, Columbus, and many other cities throughout the Midwest!