Using WordPress as your CMS, or content management system is a way to share products, services and even fresh content to your visitors with ease. Whenever you are thinking of sprucing up your WordPress site and its current look or if you are simply seeking additional features it is essential to compare plugins while learning more about the search and testing process involved. Choosing the best WordPress plugins for your website ultimately gives you an advantage over competitors who are unable to offer the same results. The more you know about the best plugins for WordPress available on the market the easier it is to appeal to any target market or demographic you have in mind for your current business model.
Consider Your Plugin Needs
Create wire frames and plans for the vision you have when using WordPress as your main choice of CMS for any type of site, whether you are producing content or planning to sell products and even digital goods. Having a clear idea of the type of blog or site you want to launch is a way to determine your needs when seeking out the best and most useful plugins that are right for your online presence.
Update Your WordPress
Update your current version of WordPress if possible. If you are just installing WordPress for the very first time it is likely to be the most updated version. However, if you have been using WordPress for years or even months there is a chance it is outdated and requires a complete update. An updated version of WordPress provides additional features and easier usability while also adding a layer of security and protection for any of your visitors, whether they are browsing for content, leaving comments or even entering personal information and data when making a purchase directly from the site itself.
Using WordPress to Search for Plugins
Once you are logged into the administration panel of WordPress only a few clicks are required to begin searching for plugins. Hovering the “Plugins” section to the left once you are logged in gives you the ability to view installed plugins, delete plugins and even search for WordPress-approved plugins without having to leave your site altogether. Using the built-in search engine for WordPress is ideal to find plugins that are popular, well-known and compatible with the current version of WordPress you are utilizing. The WordPress plugin directory also provides the most popular keywords that are searched to save time if you are unsure of how to go about seeking out a plugin that suits your needs.
Top WordPress plugins available are often ideal for improving SEO, or search engine optimization in addition to implementing social media modules to broaden the audience you are capable of reaching any time you update and share a post to hundreds and thousands of users simultaneously online.
Compare Similar Plugins for WordPress
Even if you believe you have discovered the plugin that is right for your WordPress site it is best to compare similar plugins even if they are not listed and available within the actual WordPress plugin directory itself. Take time to search using well-known search engines to seek out similar plugins that provide the same features with various tools and functionality. Comparing different plugins that complete the job you are looking for is a way to gain insight into how plugins work and which solutions are ideal for the site or blog you want to launch live.
Follow Popular WordPress Blogs and Communities
Another way to choose the very best WordPress plugins for your own website or community is to follow popular blogs and websites that are dedicated to sharing WordPress tips, tricks and plugins that are highly recommended. Getting involved with larger WordPress communities gives you the chance to learn more about the usability and reliability of various plugins available on the marketplace before taking a chance and installing one on your own. Read in-depth reviews of WordPress plugins that are ideal for your site to ensure you are making the right decision before utilizing them on your own blog to avoid errors and the inability to put the plugin to use once the site is live and up and running.
Read Reviews and Testimonials
Reading testimonials and reviews of WordPress plugins is also a must, even if you have experience with CMS and working with WordPress directly. Take time to read testimonials and reviews of plugins that you deem fit for your own website to get a better understanding of how to properly work, manage and fix any issues or errors you may encounter while updating the plugin or putting it to work once it is in place on your WordPress site. Reviews and testimonials of plugins provide the insight necessary to select a plugin that is likely to come in handy without risking turning users away if the plugin itself is incompatible with the type of system and the version of WordPress you currently have installed and running.
Check Plugin Screenshots
Plugins often come with different documentation and instructions on implementing and putting the plugin itself to use. Be sure to check for plugin screenshots to seek out a plugin that is not only documented properly but that also provides you with a visual of the complete look of the plugin once it has been installed and put tot use properly. Reviewing screenshots of plugins is also a way to determine whether or not the plugin is versatile enough to fit in well with the current layout or theme you have integrated into your own WordPress site.
Support for Plugins
Any time you are looking to install new plugins finding a plugin that offers support and assistance is key. If you run into any issue or error when utilizing a plugin that is ideal for the version of WordPress you are running it is helpful to reach out to a support team who helped to develop the original plugin themselves. Having support available for the plugins you are most interested in is vital to keep your website running smoothly without issues and interruption during a user’s visit to the site while attempting to use it.
Testing Your WordPress Plugin Before Going Live
There are many ways to test a WordPress plugin before launching it live to your own site. Creating a “dummy” WordPress site that is not affiliated with your original WordPress blog is advisable when you want to utilize the site as a playground to test a variety of plugins and how easily they can be implemented into a current theme or template you have selected. There are also different plugins on the market that give administrators the ability to turn off visibility of specific plugins and pages, providing additional space to test plugins and how well they work once you integrate them into your own site. Be sure to read reviews and testimonials of plugins that offer a test site to ensure you are not introducing plugins that have not yet been tweaked or finalized properly whenever you have a new feature you want to introduce to your visitors, fans and online followers to the site.
Once you have a clear understanding of how to work WordPress while properly implementing the right plugins it is possible to bring any vision you have for your site to fruition. Comparing plugins, testing them and ensuring usability is imperative whether you are launching a personal blog or if you intend to build an international eCommerce store for future visitors and potential customers.
Author: Kaumil Patel
Kaumil Patel is the Chief Operating Officer of GreenGeeks and has over 13 years of experience in the web hosting industry working for and owning web hosting companies. Kaumil’s expertise is in marketing, business development, operations, acquisitions and mergers.