WordPress plugins extend and enhance the functionality of the WordPress blogging platform.
Sounds great… right?
Who wouldn’t want an extended, enhanced blog?
Let’s just download every plugin we can get our hands on for the most extended, most enhanced blog on the Internet!
But there in lies the problem…
…that’s exactly what we do, especially as new bloggers. We download plugins like Buffalo Bills fans eat chicken wings at a tailgate… till failure.
We scour our favorite blogs for great features and then try to duplicate those features through plugins on our own blog.
But installing the wrong WordPress plugins can cause as much indigestion to your blog as a belly full of hot wings.
I’ve installed crappy plugins and I’ve eaten too many hot wings…
Bad plugins break blogs…
…and a night of uncomfortable flatulence beats a broken blog every day of the week.
I used to break this damn blog all the time and creating awesome content is tough when all you see is bright white screen with a single line of text error message staring you in the face.
A big part of the problem is there simply are so many plugins to choose from.
As of writing this article there are 22,993 plugins available for free in the WordPress Plugin Directory… and those are just the free plugins listed in the WordPress directory, there are countless other free plugins available on private sites as well as the legions of paid plugins or “premium plugins” as they are often referred to sold on sites like Clickbank and Code Canyon.
Another major problem is that any hack with a copy of Coding for Dummies can create a WordPress plugin and submit it to the plugin directory…
…and hack plugins break blogs.
Not to mention that packing your WordPress blog with tons of plugins can drastically reduce page speed. Especially crappy, hack plugins.
Condense Quality Plugins
Last year I wrote a post about the 32 Plugins That Drive a Successful WordPress Blog (and I’m supposed to know what I’m talking about?)
As of writing this I have 15 plugins installed.
The Scribe Content Marketing plugin helps a lot…
Another enormous help in reducing plugin count is the Jetpack Plugin from WordPress.com, a free WordPress plugin created for self-hosted WordPress blogs from the tools given to free WordPress.com hosted blogs.
The key to reducing plugin count is installing plugins from quality sources (some of which you may have to pay for cheapskates) that perform the functions of many.
That is exactly what the Jetpack plugin does…
…you get 24 functions in one plugin from THE quality source for plugins, WordPress.
I’m won’t go through every feature in detail, you can get more information in the WordPress directory, but here is the feature list:
- Email notifications
- Social media automatic publishing
- WordPress Stats
- Jetpack Comments
- Email subscriptions widget
- Create blog posts by email
- Carousel image gallery widget
- Social media sharing
- Spelling and grammer checker
- Realtime backup
- Gravatar enhancements
- Built in easy contact forms
- Tiled photo galleries
- Easy shortlinks
- Easy shortcode embeds
- Mobile theme
- Custom CSS
- Beautiful Math (for geek blogs)
- Cool utility widgets
- Infinite scroll
- Enhanced content distribution
- Mobile notifications
That’s 23 features… and they’re all pretty cool.
From that list, most bloggers can reduce 3-5 plugins they currently have installed from less reputable sources than WordPress itself.
But it was feature 24 of the Jetpack plugin that sold me.
The Photon content delivery network.
According to Wikipedia a content delivery network (CDN) is a large distributed system of servers deployed in multiple data centers in the Internet. The goal of a CDN is to serve content to end-users with high availability and high performance.
Basically, for those of you unfamiliar, a content delivery network stores your images in the cloud and delivers them to your blog readers with less load on your own server… so faster.
However, Photon through the Jetpack plugin, is as easy to set up as activating the plugin.
Adding Photon has shaved a half second off my page load time…
Fast blogs = Happy Readers
…and happy readers stick around you site, they read more posts, they subscribe to your newsletter and they buy your stuff.
So condense your plugins…
Increase your page speed…
and only allow quality plugins to be installed on your WordPress blog.
Get the Jetpack plugin free here.
SPEAK YOUR MIND: What plugins do you recommend to reduce page load time? What quality plugins can help others condense their total number of plugins?