I’ll be the first to admin, I get plugin happy sometimes. You know the feeling when you find an article about WordPress plugins and you start downloading one after the other. It’s fun and one of my favorite things about WordPress, but what I didn’t think about is that every single plugin could also be a door into your blog for hackers. Plugins can also slow-down your site and since load time is officially part of Google’s ranking algorithm you’ll want to avoid the one’s that do.
Let’s talk security first. You have to trust that the person who wrote the plugin you are using had security in mind when they created the plugin. You also want to know they are constantly testing and updating it ensuring that it is always compatible with the latest WordPress updates. I used to install any “cool” plugin I found, now I take the time to look at who made the plugin, when the last time in was updated, as well as a quick Google search to see what others are saying about it.
Okay, now for load time. This one is easy, it matters to Google how long it takes your site to load.This means you’d never want to do anything that increases your site load time dramatically unless it provided some absolutely incredibly benefit. The best thing to do is run a website load time tester on your site before and after the plugin and compare. Most plugins won’t impact load time but some do and the last thing you want to do is add a plugin and watch your rank drop.
I love plugins just as much as the next guy (or gal) but I’ve learned the hard way that you do need to take the time to research every plugin you run on your site. Now stop reading this and start researching the plugins you are current running, do a Google search for things like “plugin_name problems” or “hacking plugin_name” and see if anything comes-up. Last, but not least, look at the star rating and read reviews from other people that use the plugin.
Now for the moral of the story. Don’t run more plugins than you have to.