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Website Plugins

Website Plugins: When Enough is Enough

When it comes to website plugins, it can be tricky to understand their value, especially if you’re tackling WordPress from a point of view with a little less experience behind it. With over 50,000 website plugins available in the WordPress repository, getting a bit carried away with adding them to your web build is easily done. Although website plugins can offer site flexibility and optimisation, one thing to bear in mind is that the more website plugins you add, the more likely you are to come across a plethora of problems.

It’s reported that 40% of visitors leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load, so if you’re looking to lower your website’s bounce rate, it might be time to re-evaluate some of those pesky plugins looming in the dark depths of your build. Let’s take a look at exactly what website plugins can do to your site and how you can avoid their notorious pitfalls, slow speed and poor site security.

Navigating The Plugin Game

When used effectively, website plugins aren’t short of things to shout about. They offer a rich variety of features that can increase anything from flexibility to support for the SEO value of your website, it really depends on what you need your site to do. The use of website plugins is generally a case-by-case basis and it is almost always better to include the functionality bespoke for that particular website, but between budget and the time available to develop a site, plugins can be introduced to provide certain features. For a robust site making use of these features, you are going to want at least a few website plugins. However, there is a fine line between need and want. Common website plugins include things such as Yoast SEO, WooCommerce, Google XML Sitemaps, Contact Form 7 and Google Analytics Dashboard, all of which are designed to be effective and relevant. That being said, there is a pool of website plugins to be found in the WordPress repository that is just plain useless and offers no value to your site. Instead, these unproductive website plugins simply soak up data and slow your site down, so it’s best to stay away from options such as LogOut Roulette and Barrel Rolls.

Considering The Consequences

As something that is often brushed under the rug, having too many website plugins can have detrimental effects on the safety, speed and service that your website offers, opening it up to a world of vulnerabilities that can be exploited. First and foremost, you’ll more than likely see an increase in HTTP requests. Many website plugins offer functionally on the front end of your site whilst leaving the backend in complete dismay. Functionality-based website plugins tend to offer features like booking systems and product listing systems, however, these types of website plugins need a lot more CSS styling, images and JavaScript in order to run effectively. Taking all of this into account, it’s no surprise that these demanding website plugins increase the number of extra HTTP requests by quite a bit. If you hadn’t spotted where this is going by now, you should probably re-evaluate your use of website plugins, as the more requests your server gets, the more resources are used up and, you guessed it, your site crashes.

Similar to HTTP requests, too much data can also cause your site some serious problems. The more website plugins you install, the more data that needs to be stored in your WordPress site’s database. Seeing as your database and your server can only store so much data, overloading it with data from website plugins, whether they’re active or not, can make your site become sluggish and slow. Fending Off Plugin Mishaps

There are some incredibly straightforward steps that you can take to restore harmony back to your WordPress site after an overdose of plugins. Coming top of the list, an almost instant solution is to reduce the number of website plugins in your build. Simply by cutting down the plugins your site uses scales back the likelihood of running into issues. If you’re still finding it hard to part with your plugins, decide what your site really needs. Remove any inactive or unnecessary website plugins straight away and, if your heart is still set on keeping a hold of some, make sure that your remaining plugins are going to function how you need them to. Testing your website plugins before you install them will give you the opportunity to check they’re fit for purpose and catch any potential problems before they go live on your website. It’s also key to note that making sure that your website plugins are regularly updated and maintained will decrease the chance of coming across any unplanned problems that may impact the performance of your site.

Actioning The Right Amount

There are no set rules for the number of website plugins your site should have or what they should be, this will all depend on the characteristics of your individual build. If you have a fully functioning website that is being hosted on a dedicated server, you can afford to make use of more plugins. However, just because your site might be able to take the weight, you shouldn’t fall into the trap of using any old combination of website plugins on offer. On the other hand, if you have a small site with inadequate hosting, the chances are that anything more than 5 website plugins isn’t going to be good news for you or your site. Sticking to the suggestions above, you can have the best of both worlds; website plugins that support the functionality of your site without impacting its speed and security.

Sceptical about the state of your website or unsure where to start when it comes to improving its performance? At Mantra Media, our website hosting, design and development is carefully configured to your business whilst being steadfast on security. Get in touch for bespoke, future-focused functionality.