Can’t Speak Geek decided to make a donations page and at first thought it would be best just to use a PayPal button and call it a day. Then Devin Walker from WordImpress said I should try Give. Since I will give almost any plugin at least one shot, I decided to give Give a try. [Read more…] about Plugin Review: Give
There are over 35,000 free plugins on the WordPress plugin repository right now with thousands of premium plugins that can be found across the web. With that many plugins, how does one know which plugin to choose.
11 SIMPLE QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A PLUGIN
- Does the plugin do what you want it to do? Make sure the plugin does exactly what you want it to do. You don’t need all of the bells and whistles, just what you need it to do.
- When was the plugin last updated? If the plugin has not been updated in over two years, there will be a notice at the top of the plugin page. If it has been two years, the plugin is probably no longer supported and might not work with the current version of WordPress.
- Is this plugin still supported? Check to see if any of the support questions have been answered. If they are not on the repository, check to see if their website has a support forum or a way to contact someone for support. If the plugin is no longer supported, it is best to find a more current and supported option.
- What has others said about the plugin? I always check the user feedback of every plugin before I download it. Make sure you read the feedback comments though. Many 1 stars are due to not reading the documentation or not understanding the plugin. However, if there are multiple 1 stars that states the author will not respond, or shuts down a site as soon as it is activated, it probably is not the plugin you want to use.
- Does the plugin have any known vulnerabilities at this time? All code is built by humans and humans do make mistakes. Vulnerabilities are being found in rapid speed in all things WordPress. Most times, when a vulnerability is found, the plugin author makes a patch and pushes out a new version. This is why it is preached to always run the updates as they come out. If a plugin (or theme) has a known vulnerability and has not made a patch, it is advisable to use a different, safer plugin.
- Will it work with my current version of core, theme, other plugins, and my server? In the bottom right of a plugin homepage on the repository will be a box that says if the plugin works with versions of core. Make sure the plugin will work with the version of WordPress you are running on your site. Also, there are times that certain plugins do not work with other plugins or certain themes. There are also some plugins that will not work on a Microsoft server. Check the documentation before you download.
- Do you already have a plugin that does something similar already on your site? There are many multi-function plugins like Jetpack and iThemes Security that have many features built into one plugin. Also if you use two plugins with similar features, they might conflict with each other.
- Is there paid support available? Some have a paid installation option or their one -on-one support comes with a fee. Understand the support terms before you decide if that plugin is for you. If it has no option of support, try to find a comparable plugin that does offer some type of support.
- Is it a free plugin or does it have a free option? Many plugins have a free and a paid version. Sometimes all that is needed is the free version.
- Is the price per year or one time only? Some freemium plugins have a yearly fee while others are one payment and you own it. Make sure you know before you buy.
- Does the price include support? There are some plugins that do not offer support within their fee. Check to make sure you can get answers to your questions if they arise.
Today I had the privilege to talk to all of the beginners at WordCamp Nashville today about taking their website concept to a real life WordPress website. I always enjoy working with the beginners and helping them to reach their goals of becoming confident on their WordPress skills. This type of talk has easily gotten to be my favorite type of talks (other than talking security). I always look forward to coming to Nashville and they put on a great WordCamp.
If you missed the talk, here are my slides from WordCamp Nashville. See you next year Nashville!
Sometimes the hardest thing can be picking a good theme for a website. One can go through many, many themes before picking the one that says home. There are millions of themes to pick from so where do you start?
1. Does the theme fill your need visually? Does the theme have all of the visual elements you want in a theme or can it be easily modified to what you want? Some themes can look really cool on the demo but not be the theme you need.
2. Was the theme written by a creditable developer? There are many great theme companies out there that every product purchased is known to be a great product. Studio Press, WebSavy, iThemes, Carrie Dils are some of the great theme houses.
With that in mind, the free themes that are found at the WordPress theme repository can be a good start for a site that iOS just starting out.
3. Does the theme or theme company have good support? If I look at s theme be it free or premium, I will not use it if the authors are not supporting it.
4. What comes with the theme? I know that there are many “all in one” themes that come built with a butch of plugins and shiney features that make the theme appear very cool. Most of the time, any given site will not use half of they shiney plugins and widgets that come with it. Plus, if you purchase a theme with 17 plugins attached, that means there are 18 vulnerabilities into the website even if you are not using all of the plugins. It is better to pick out a theme for that site to use for the appearance and let the plugins you choose handle the functionality.
5. What do the users say? While I do not hold 100% stock in the user ratings, one should still pay attention to them. If 239 people in the past 2 months has given them a 1 star because the theme does not work in 4.1, it is a safe bet that this is not the theme for you.
Bottom line is do your research before you pick a theme. Just because it has all of the bells and whistles does not mean you need them. A great person once said “Today’s features are tomorrow’s vulnerabilities”. The more shiny toys you have the more chances you have for vulnerabilities.
Recently, I got to speak at WordCamp San Diego. It was one of the best WordCamps I have ever attended. Great venue, awesome talks, and the best people. If you were not able to attend, you missed a heck of a WordCamp.
My talk was all about what to do when you get hacked. Most people do not worry about security until it is too late. Don’t be that person. Learn the tools before you have to clean your site or pay someone to clean your site for you.
Here are my slides from WordCamp San Diego