WordPress is a favorite publishing platform among creators of all types, including bloggers and marketers. With it, you can share content regularly and set up your brand to draw attention and boost engagement.
In the WordPress community, people have created thousands of themes and plugins you can use to customize your site to meet your exact needs. Choosing which tools to use can be challenging, especially if you’re not sure what functionalities you might require.
In this article, we’ve singled out a few of the most important considerations to help you pick the right plugins and create the marketing blog you’ve always wanted. Let’s dive right in!
Why it’s important to choose the right plugins
WordPress plugins are small pieces of software that you can add to your website. They introduce or extend various functionalities. You can use plugins to make just about anything possible on your site, from adding a contact form to creating image galleries to optimizing your blog posts for search engines.
However, not all plugins are created equal. If they’re not well designed and frequently updated, they can slow down your site or create security risks. For this reason, it is important to carefully pick the right plugins.
How to pick the right plugins for your marketing blog (in 6 steps)
So how do you choose effective and safe plugins for your marketing blog? Here are six key steps to take.
Step 1: Consider what features you’ll need
When it comes to building a marketing blog, there are certain features that are crucial to your website’s growth. Fortunately, you can install plugins to add many key elements to your site. So the first step is to make a list of the features and functionalities you think you’ll need.
Some plugins that are essential for just about any blog include:
- An SEO plugin like Yoast SEO
- A caching plugin to speed up your site, such as WP Rocket
- A form-building plugin to create contact forms (for example, WPForms)
- A spam-protection plugin like Akismet to filter out unwanted comments
If you plan to use your marketing blog to find new work, you might also consider using a CRM plugin like HubSpot to manage your clients with ease.
Step 2: Make sure the plugins are regularly updated
When choosing plugins for your website, you should consider how often the developer updates them. Regular updates are crucial for making sure a plugin stays compatible with newer versions of WordPress and other tools you use. It also improves your site’s security against hacks and other threats, and provides a boost to performance.
You can see how often a free plugin is updated by looking viewing its page in the WordPress Plugin Directory:
As a general rule, try not to download plugins that haven’t been updated in over six months. These may be poorly optimized or could pose a security risk. You’ll also want to check out the WordPress Version section to make sure the plugin will work well with your blog’s version of the platform.
3. Read customer reviews
Another way to evaluate the right plugins for your marketing blog is by reading reviews from existing users. This can tell you about real users’ experiences with the plugin, and warn you about any issues it might present.
If the plugin is free, you should be able to find user reviews and ratings in the WordPress Plugin Directory. If it’s premium, a simple Google search should turn up plenty of reviews and tutorials you can check out to learn more:
Keep in mind that some plugins have affiliate programs, so article reviews can be biased. A good rule of thumb is to evaluate a plugin by exploring multiple credible review sources, such as Themeisle.
4. Check the number of active installations
Just because a plugin is popular doesn’t mean it’s good. Conversely, a lesser-known plugin can still be a great tool. However, the most commonly-used plugins do tend to be the most reliable and feature-rich options. So if you’re trying to narrow down the field, it’s not a bad idea to focus on the most popular tools.
For free plugins, you can gauge how popular they are by checking out how how many active installations they have. This is another piece of information you can easily see in the WordPress Plugin Directory. A good rule of thumb is to stick with plugins that have at least 1,000 active installs, although the more the better.
For premium plugins, you’ll need to estimate their popularity based on how much information you’re able to find about them online. If you can easily locate plenty of reviews and tutorials, it’s probably a widely-used tool.
5. Evaluate the support and documentation
The best plugins are usually easy to learn and use. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t have questions or need some help getting started. This means you’ll want to make sure the plugins you choose are backed up by helpful support and documentation.
Reliable plugins should have lots of support resources and documents to walk you through every step. Free plugins often don’t offer dedicated support, but a premium plugin should be backed by knowledgeable experts.
6. Consider your budget
WordPress plugins are either free, premium, or ‘freemium’ (they have both a free and premium version). Most are the latter, offering limited free features with advanced features for a fee. If you plan on adding an assortment of plugins to your website, it’s important to budget accordingly.
Keep in mind that you can find many excellent free tools to cover the basics. You may want to only pay for premium features in a few essential plugins. If you’re unsure, you can start with the free tier, and then pay for more functionality if you decide you need it.
Although every site has different needs, many marketing bloggers have some key requirements in common. A few powerful plugins can help you build your marketing presence and assist with lead generation, security, and more.
To pick the right plugins for your marketing blog, you’ll need to:
- Decide what features you want.
- Ensure that the plugins are regularly updated.
- Read the customer reviews.
- Check the amount of active installations.
- Look up the support and documentation options.
- Consider your budget for plugins.
What’s your favorite WordPress plugin? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!