Using WordPress plugins is much like using an app on your smartphone. It seems as if any task you want to perform in WordPress has a plugin that makes it easier. When you start searching for these plugins, you need to know how to find the right one for your specific needs. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you find the WordPress plugin that will fit best with your task.
Define Your Needs/Wants
Before you start searching for plugins, you want to define the needs/wants you’re hoping to get out of the plugin. For example, maybe you want to be able to create better on page search engine optimization for your WordPress plugin. Before you start your plugin search, you will want to define which specific parts of the on page SEO you want the plugin to help you with.
Keep in mind, it may not be just one plugin you’re looking for. You may need a few plugins to complete all of the tasks you hope to integrate into your WordPress website.
Three Easy Ways to Search for Plugins
There are three basic ways we recommend you search for WordPress plugins and they include:
- Within your WordPress Dashboard
- On WordPress.org
- With Google
The first way can be accomplished by logging into your WordPress website and going to Plugins >> Add New. Here, you will see a search box and you can enter your query for your specific WordPress Plugin
This method is recommended if you know the name of the plugin or you have a very good idea of what the name might be. When you search inside the WordPress Dashboard, you will get a list of results and you can install the right plugin simply by clicking the “Install Now” link.
The second method for searching is to use WordPress.org for your plugin search. Once you arrive on this website, you will want to click on the “Plugins” page.
You can use the search box from here and time in the name of the plugin you’re looking for or the task, such as “SEO.” Even though this is one of our three recommended ways to find your WordPress plugin, it’s not the best way.
The final search method is by far the best and easiest way to find your WordPress plugins. By using Google for your search, you can often find the right plugin to download and install, along with recommendations from other users.
Simply open Google in your browser and search for the task you want the plugin to perform, such as “Best WordPress Plugin for SEO.” Usually, a search of this nature will return lists of top plugin recommendations, which can be very helpful when it comes to finding the right plugin for your needs.
Making a Plugin Comparison Before Installing
Now that you know how to search and find the right plugins for your needs, it’s important to make sure you’re using the best choice for your website. Most tasks can be performed by multiple plugins, but not all plugins are equal.
The best way to compare similar plugins is to look at the stats and the description given by the author. You will need to start by looking at the version of WordPress required and which version the plugin is compatible with. It’s best to choose a plugin that is compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
You should also look at the last time the plugin was updated and the star rating. None of the best plugins have a perfect star rating, but you do want to see more four and five star reviews than one and two star reviews. If the plugin was updated recently, that’s usually a good sign, too.
Along with looking at the stats for the plugin, you may want to read the description of each choice. One of the plugins you’re comparing may do more for you than another, which can be helpful. However, if they do basically the same thing, it’s best to go with the one that has been updated most recently and has a higher star rating.
Any WordPress plugin with a star rating below 3.5 should probably be avoided. However, if the plugin is a bit new or hasn’t had very many reviews, you may want to ignore the star rating altogether.
Other Aspects of the Plugin to Check Out
Along with comparing different plugins, you should be aware of a few other aspects of each WordPress plugin. It’s always good to look at how well the author supports the plugin. If you were to have an issue and you needed help, you may decide to post your issue in the forum for the plugin.
If you do this, it’s nice to know you’re going to receive an answer, whether from the plugin author or from someone else in the community. Some plugins already have a built up support community, which is always an added bonus. Make sure to look at how quickly responses are given on the support forum of the plugin. You can do this by going to the “support” tab of the plugin and looking at the “Freshness” column.
The support will tell you quite a bit about how well the author takes care of those using his/her plugin. You may also want to look at the changelog to see what each update has fixed and the FAQ section may help answer some of your questions, as well.
If you use our search recommendations and you thoroughly compare the different WordPress plugin choices, you shouldn’t have any issue finding the right plugin for your specific needs.