How to choose the best WordPress plugins

The WordPress plugins extend a site’s functionality. As plugins affect a WordPress website, keeping the best WordPress plugins can make a site stand out in the crowd.

Once you create a WordPress website, you can choose and install plugins from the WordPress Plugins Directory.

While choosing plugins highly depends on your site’s purpose, you will also need to pick plugins that serve general functionality, such as website security.

Before you proceed, you need to look for certain benchmarks in the plugins – the standards that help you choose the trending WordPress plugins for your website.

Today’s write-up helps you pick the best plugins for your WordPress site. As a beginner, you can confidently crack this code, and install the plugins that play well for your site’s purpose and theme.

Choosing the best WordPress plugins

You don’t need to shoot things in the dark. Fortunately, you can examine any plugin and install the one that improves your site’s performance.

1. Examine the search ranking

When you search for a keyword in the WordPress Plugin Directory, you can see the results in a specific order.

The plugins shown at the top represent the best options for the keyword, followed by similar WordPress plugins for the query.

wordpress plugins directory

In most cases, you can pick the first plugin that appears in the search results. With all the metrics being considered, the system lists the best choices for your search term.

2. Active installs

As the WordPress Plugins Directory shows active installs for every plugin, you can safely pick the one with a higher number.

number of active installs of plugins on the wordpress plugins directory

The more a plugin has Active installs, the more it indicates trust signals for the users. Conversely, the bad plugins continuously drop the number down that shows active installs.

To find good plugins in the WordPress Plugins Directory, search for the main keyword first, and proceed to install the first plugins that appear. For example, to find plugins for showing recent posts, type in the “recent posts” in the search box.

3. Use Google

On Google, you can find sites specific to WordPress knowledge.

With that in mind, different sites keep lists of the best plugins in various categories.

search google for the best wordpress plugins

It helps you take the first step – if you search for a keyword on Google, you can easily find the trending plugins for your WordPress website.

Google helps you find plugin reviews, comparison, and premium features as well. With that amount of knowledge in hand, you can decide on the best choice for your website.

4. Analyze the plugin author

The WordPress Plugin Directory contains individual contributors, as well as companies that create business plugins for the premium community.

When comparing the authors, you can look into the development history of various plugin vendors.

wordpress plugin author profile

Click on the author’s profile to see more information about recent contributions, developments, and professional track record.

You’re most likely to choose plugins from authors with shiny portfolio, lots of contributions, and professional track record as a WordPress developer.

5. Update frequency

While searching for plugins, you’re not supposed to choose dummy candidates.

On the search results page, you can also find the plugins with rare update frequency.

To find a plugin’s update frequency, you can see the last updated section on the plugin’s page. Also, have a look at the plugin’s change-log before you proceed to install the plugin.

last updated section of the wordpress plugin

The plugins you find at the top have high update frequency, as the system automatically drops plugins down with low update frequency.

6. Plugin compatibility with WordPress

When you search for a plugin keyword, the results page also shows compatibility indication for the listed plugins.

plugin support with the latest wordpress version

Needless to say, you should keep updating your WordPress package on a regular basis. If a plugin is not compatible with the latest version of WordPress, you can pick another entry from the list.

You can find the latest version of WordPress on your site’s dashboard. Alternatively, the WordPress download page also shows the latest version for the package.

7. Dedicated homepage for the plugin

Check if the author has created a self-hosted page for the plugin.

self hosted homepage for wordpress plugin

Not only it helps you find authentic plugin vendors, but also helps you find the plugin’s knowledge base at its official source.

To get started, you can find the plugin homepage on Google or on its WordPress Plugins Directory’s page.

You can also download a plugin from its official homepage. However, if you need to install a plugin’s older versions, you’ll need to look into the (Advanced View) option on the WordPress Plugins Directory.

8. Plugin reviews, rating, support, and performance

The plugin’s page shows clear indications about a plugin’s performance, including reviews, ratings, and support.

You can estimate a plugin’s health by average ratings. Similarly, user reviews also help you choose the best WordPress plugins for your site.

wordpress plugin value

In the same manner, if you find a plugin affecting your site performance, you can remove and proceed to pick the one that plays well on your website.

To check your site health and speed after installing a plugin, head over to check your site with GT Metrix. If you find a speed decline after installing a plugin, you should proceed to uninstall the plugin that caused the effect.

Over to you

Finding the best WordPress plugins is not rocket science. As a WordPress newbie, you can check plugins against the facts we defined in this article.

Alternatively, you can find the best plugins used by your competitors. By using the plugin finders online, you can find the trending plugins in your niche.

If you want to go deep into the game, you can skip installing plugins for unnecessary tasks. Alternatively, you can configure things manually as well.

As a side note, the WordPress Plugins Directory sorts plugins by various aspects, such as new arrivals, beta tests, and featured plugins. With that clarified, you can safely pick the plugins listed under the featured section.

What are your favorite WordPress plugins? Did we miss something in the list? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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