Plugins in WordPress give us the power to add more functionality and features to our site without having to write a single line of code but, there some 50000+ plugins and adding just 20 or more can make our site heavy and slow. In this post I’ll explain how I use fewer plugins on my site.
What is the purpose of our Website ?
It’s a simple answer, and makes a lot of sense. For example, this is my blog to share my code and experiments, with a primary purpose to read, write, refer, and deliver/publish. Or if it is another company website, we need a welcoming design on the homepage and impress the customers/visitors. If we are sure about the purpose of our site half of the optimizing is done.
4 very important plugins we can’t neglect
We can talk about plugins all day but, just four of these plugins are enough. Then Why do we bloat our site with so many, and what’s the advantage of carefully choosing to have fewer plugins? Let me explain
- More plugins* = More requests = Slow website
- Old plugins = Security threat
- Many = Expensive = Difficult to manage
*not all plugins increase the no.of requests.
I made this checklist/rules before I add a plugin,
1. Too much Visual Magic can be Distracting
When a user visits my site to read something, I just need to make sure they get what they need, simple, that’s it. I might design my UI to make things look nicer but, not to confuse the reader or distract them.
Lets make sure we are able to deliver what our users/visitors came looking for, Look at some of the most visited blogs/websites like Medium, Dev.to, and Google most of them have a minimalist interface and are easy to read.
If I were a web agency or any other company I really needs a beautiful and attractive website. For most of the visual tweaks CSS will be enough, we can also use the page-builders available in WordPress.
Design and User Experience determine the quality of your website, buying a high priced theme or a plugin will not make things better just like that.
2. One WordPress Plugin = Ten WordPress Plugins
Sounds confusing right?
WordPress not only has a large user base but now it has a tonne of new plugins and developers too, In the beginning, I was worried that I had to add a plugin for every small element/widget but later realized that there were some newer plugins that have many features/blocks/widgets, they can replace ten other plugins, and some even have the option to turn off the features which we don’t use. This might reduce some bloat, however removing old plugins is not recommended as it can break our site, is is possible but if so, we need to convert the old blocks carefully.
3. Does this plugin add real value ?
Now, it’s all about the user, isn’t it ?
-Always has been
I have summoned a meme, let’s get back to work now.
There are some minor features that users need like social sharing etc. Now, these plugins may come with a limited number of features however a single share of our article will add so much value. Hence, think twice about the value, before installing a plugin, some are more important than the others.
4. Sometimes it might be one line of code
There are some elements like a sticky sidebar/header or a subscription box, analytics code etc, that can be implemented without a plugin and sometimes with 1-2 lines of code. Nothing to worry, a simple google search might help, but we need to be very specific. There are many blogs/tutorials available.
I have seen some WordPress sites with a lot of plugins running smooth as new but, many argue and prefer to use less plugins. Even I prefer the same and the results are very good. What do you say?