Recently I wrote a wordpress plugin Twitter Facebook Google +1 Social Share and I am glad that it has been an instant hit with the wordpress users. More than 10,000 downloads in less than two weeks. I have been so busy with the queries from the users that I could not update my site for three whole weeks. So finally here I am sharing my experience after seeing all the websites who asked for help to get the social share bar working on their site. All with the same common mistake; site stuffed with every possible plugin available.
Plugins do enhance your site with extra features and functionality but if not wisely used it can be more of a drawback than any help to your site.
What too many plugins can do to your site?
The most significant drawback of using more plugins is that it slows down you site. Every plugin when enabled will send one request to server when site is loaded. So if you have 10 pages and 10 plugins on your site, you are increasing the request to 100 by default. And I am sure we dont have our sites with just 10 pages. So just imagine the damage done for bigger sites.
The wordpress plugins are written and published for free and hence the project tends to close down after some time. This is when you get stuck if the plugin you installed is not compatible with future releases. The developer wont respond and you will have to start all over again to implement that feature. So this factor is definitely to be considered when you install a plugin.
Not all plugins are secure. Some plugins leave a security hole which are then exploited by hackers to access your site and can cause havoc with your valuable contents and customers. Recently it was confirmed that very popular wordpress plugins like WPTouch, WP Total Cache were susceptible to security breach and all the wordpress users using those plugins were requested to update the password.
Conflicts among the plugins is another well known issue for wordpress users. I have seen people whose entire site contents were washed out when they tried to install a new plugin or upgrade an existing one. There was nothing wrong with the plugin but it was not just compatible with the other plugin installed on the server.
This can happen to you so make sure that you back up your site contents on regular basis. Even better if you set up a duplicate site on your local machine. That is always handy to test different experiments on your site before going live.
What to look for before installing a new plugin
Dont be in a hurry and just randomly install any plugin on your site. Just try to analyse the pros and cons of installing the plugin. See if the developer seems to be genuine and check out for the reviews of the plugin. Try to keep number of plugins to minimum.
To get around this issue, I purchased Thesis Theme for WordPress. They have a separate custom_function.php where in you can insert your custom code and with out of the box hooks available, it becomes really easy to add new feature. So no need to install a plugin all the time to implement a new feature.
Ready to paste code is available on the forums and all you need to do is copy and paste and every thing works like a magic. This theme has the fastest loading time for a page I have ever seen. That is benificial for your search engine ranking as well. Within two months of the launch of this site, it got a PR 3.
So if you are really serious about your site and want to use it for commercial purpose then Thesis Theme is your answer. I am not just promoting it because I get a commission out of it but that’s my personal experience of using it and I want you to benefit from it.