21 Days to a WordPress Blog: Day 17: Plugin Best Practices

Whether you need a simple site for your business, want to start a blog or just want to try building a WordPress website, you’ll learn all the basics in these daily lessons. In three weeks—and about 30 minutes a day—you’ll build your first WordPress blog.

Plugins are very important in any WordPress website, so you should know a few rules before you jump in: 

  1. Maintain a list of trusted plugins, ones that are supported and developed by well-known developers. For example, Joost de Valk is an amazing WordPress developer who has created many useful plugins.
  2. Read the details of every plugin you consider. The better documented it is, the more likely the plugin was written by a developer who knows what he or she is doing.
  3. Pay attention to the plugin requirements—this will tell you how recently it’s been updated.
  4. Check out the reviews and star rating of the plugin.
  5. Be aware that even good plugins can sometimes conflict with or break something in your site. Automattic and WordPress do some due diligence before allowing a plugin into the directory, but they can’t test for everything.
  6. After you install and activate a plugin, immediately check the front end of your website to make sure things are still functioning correctly. Do this after every activation so if there’s a problem you’ll know exactly which plugin caused it. Don’t install and activate several plugins before checking! 
  7. In addition to free ones, there are many great plugins that cost money in the directory. Before you pay for anything online, you should make sure you’re dealing with a trusted company or individual by reviewing the documentation.
  8. You can deactivate plugins that are not functioning to your liking at any time. If a plugin takes down your site, log into the server via FTP and rename the plugin’s folder in the wp-content folder. This will automatically deactivate all plugins and allow you to access the site again.

Tomorrow: WordPress settings

Learn more about making a WordPress website with our great design resources. Can’t wait for the rest of the posts in this series? Download the whole guide to build a WordPress site now.