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WordPress is one of the most popular CMS platforms for building just about any website you can imagine and companies of all sizes have adopted this platform for their development needs.

So what makes WordPress so great?

For one thing, WordPress has made big strides since the early years of website development. The platform makes it easy to expand the size, look, and feel of your site (including adding and editing pages) with just a few clicks.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s one feature that makes this platform stand out above most others: the ability to upload and install what seems like an endless number of plugins.

You may be asking… what is a plugin?

Think of a plugin as a little piece of software or a web app that adds additional features to your site without the need for a programmer (not that we don’t love programmers). In other words, they streamline the process of adding those bells and whistles that can take your site development to the next level.

Want to add interactive maps? There’s a plugin for that.

Need a shopping cart feature? There’s a plugin for that.

How about a live social media feed? Yep, there’s a plugin for that too (and just about anything else you can think of).

When WordPress Plugins Go Wrong

As great as the world of WordPress Plugins is, there’s a downside as well.

One of the biggest issues we see is the overuse of plugins. This happens when a site owner wants to add features just for the sake of adding them because they’re so easy to implement.

Overuse of plugins can sacrifice your site speed. Many plugins tend to leave extra scripts on pages and when you take this and multiply it many times over, you can quickly create a site that becomes sluggish and bloated from render-blocking JS and CSS files and unnecessary scripts loading in the backend. These longer load times and excess files can add load to your site database by increasing your total website size.

The reliance on too many plugins can create many other issues. When new updates are released you could encounter compatibility issues with other plugins. The failure to update all these plugins can leave your site vulnerable to bot attacks. With every plugin, it’s critical to make sure to check reviews and dates associated with the last update to prevent unnecessary issues in the future.

So what’s the key lesson? Evaluate your site and only use plugins that your site absolutely needs to achieve your business goals. Aiming to keep your total number of plugins as low as possible will create the best experience for your users and, in turn, your business.

Here’s the bottom line: there are definitely WordPress plugins that are “must-haves” that provide key functionality; you shouldn’t be afraid of using them. But always remember that just because there’s a plugin for it, that doesn’t mean you should install it.