Expand2Web 014: WordPress Plugins – a Blessing or a Curse?

by on February 20, 2013 · 21 comments

WordPress Plugins

I get a ton of questions about WordPress Plugins, and with good reason. Plugins allow WordPress users to add exciting new functionality to their blogs and websites.

Plugins are also recognized as the primary “weakness” of the WordPress ecosystem, to the point that some experts argue that you should not use them at all.

Personally, I think they are OK as long as you limit your use of them, and use them correctly.

In this podcast, I’ll share some of my favorite plugins, and also five important tips on how to use plugins to extend the functionality of your site safely.

In This Podcast You’ll Learn About:

  • What are WordPress Plugins?
  • Why WordPress Plugins are Great?
  • Why WordPress Plugins are Not-So-Great sometimes
  • Some of my favorite WordPress Plugins
  • Problems with WordPress Plugins
  • The Solution: How to use plugins safely
  • How to choose your plugins wisely

Items Mentioned In This Podcast:

Listen to the Podcast about WordPress Plugins

You can listen to the interview by clicking the play button at the top of this post. Or you can download the MP3 audio file by clicking the download link if you’re like me and you listen to interviews on your iPod/iPhone in the car.

Complete Written Transcript of the Interview

“Right Click” here to download the PDF transcript.

Thank you all for listening!

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Article by »

Don is an entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He founded Expand2Web and is the publisher of the Expand2Web Blog, and the GetFiveStars Customer Feedback and Reviews service.

Don has written 313 articles on Expand2Web

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie Larson February 20, 2013 at 8:54 am

Excellent topic and post, Don! I’ve learned from Expand2Web, you and Thomas to choose your plugins carefully and use them sparingly.

With all the new features you guys have been adding to the SmallBiz Theme, you’ve actually eliminated the need for some of the plugins I used to use. Thank you for that!

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Don Campbell February 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Thanks Julie!

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Andrew Bamford February 20, 2013 at 9:25 am

Great Podcast Don.
Just going back to your comment about how some plugins interfere with each other. I purchased the Lizatom shortcodes plug in to add some cool formatting, buttons and boxes to my site. then I went and loaded up another shortcode plugin (called wordpress shortcodes from memory). Well, as soon as I did this, half of my Lizatom short codes crashed. So, yes I am learning that there are a few things to be careful of. Cheers
Andrew

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Don Campbell February 20, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Thanks Andrew – I know what you mean. I keep adding more plugins and then having to go back and remove some other ones. It’s a balance that’s for sure.

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GAry Smith February 20, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Great information Don expand2web rocks.

I found this very informative one thing that I found useful with plugins is to look at the last time they where updated by the developer

and look at the reviews of the plugin. (lots of reviews can be good) Keep in mind that the number of reviews is also helpful as the star rating system can be misleading to a 5 star if only a few people have rated it

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Don Campbell February 20, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Good point – some plugins might have 5 stars but only 2 people (the developer and his friend) have left a rating. That’s why I also look at the number of downloads and the number of reviews.

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Tim Tewalt February 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Great article, wish all my DIY clients and those who know just a bit will read or listen to this article. I often see plugins as the pandoras box…so tempting to add one, then two, then thirty!!!

One client I was working for doing WordPress debugging usually added 1-3 new plugins a day! Great content, great basic SEO is what they really needed, and the site was often down or having to be restored due to corruption. An extreme case, but still worth noting.

I am very thankful to the WordPress open community and they have done an amazing job. I watch for revision numbers, recent update or release dates. I’m not shy about donating to plugins or paying for premium ones to help reward those hard efforts.

Really like the podcast and transcript feature. For those experienced or new I fully recommend your theme, SmallBiz Theme it continues to grow and show the value of great design doesn’t need a new theme each month, it is by far the most easy to work with, logical layout and well supported theme I’ve found.

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Don Campbell February 22, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Thanks Tim. I am thankful to the WordPress community too. WordPress is such a wonderful platform, and many developers have created great plugins.

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Laura February 22, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Thanks for another great podcast! There are so many tempting plugins that it is easy to want to install them all. I just had a site that was slow and not running properly and Thomas said start with the plugins and it was a plugin issue. Favorite- gravity forms!

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Don Campbell February 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm

I know – when I’m having a problem with my site, plugins is the first place I look too 🙂

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eileen lonergan February 24, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I loved this podcast. Thank you for the tip on deleting dormant plugins, that is a good reminder. I have been using JetPack more and more recently; however have recently had trouble with the Subscribe to Blog options. Here is a list of plugins that a few of my colleagues use when building sites: http://bit.ly/VsjNah

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Don Campbell February 24, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Thanks for sharing that list of WordPress plugins Eileen – there are some really good ones in there.

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Penny Reeves February 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Don, thanks so much for this very useful information about plugins. It’s very easy to install plugins to try out and then not delete them if you aren’t going to use them. I went and had a clean out of mine after listening to this podcast. Don’t know what I would do without your fantastic advise.

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Don Campbell March 11, 2013 at 9:11 am

That’s great – thanks Penny.

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Jerry Young February 25, 2013 at 3:02 am

Very interesting post and podcast – wordpress is fantastic and so are many of the plugins, the problem with technology now is simply keeping up with it, it can be very bamboozling. In summary, it’s definitely good in my books but we need more hours in a day, can’t someone invent or adapt that for us !

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Don Campbell March 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I hear you Jerry.

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Siegfried February 28, 2013 at 7:27 am

excellent podcast – I am using WordPress with plugins for years now and I too see them as potential danger for the blog. The more plugins you use the dangerous they get! this is something that beginners usually don’t know
Best Regards!

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Don Campbell March 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Thanks Siegfried – it reminds me of that quote – “with great power comes great responsibility…”

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JP Powel March 11, 2013 at 8:37 am

Don, Just listened to your podcast on plugins. Very helpful to a small business person / artist who is building a WP site for our company. I am being coached by Eileen Lonergan who referred me to your blog – Website. she is a great coach.
Thanks again,
JP

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Don Campbell March 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm

That’s great – thanks for stopping by JP. Yes Eileen is fantastic to work with.

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zaman Dell March 12, 2013 at 10:35 pm

thanks dude, its very much helpful for us.

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