How to choose the best premium WordPress plugins
One of the major reasons for the popularity of WordPress as a content management system is the ability to add and/or extend features using plugins. However there are so many plugins available for WordPress now, that choosing the right plugin can be difficult. It isn’t impossible and even somebody relatively new to WordPress can select good plugins, if they are willing to take the time and do some research. Here are some of the things you should be doing to find the best plugin for your purposes:
- Examine your needs: The first thing you should do is determine exactly what features you want to include on your website. It’s impossible to choose the right plugins if you don’t know what you a need but a surprising amount of people do just that. Taking the time in the beginning will save you grief in the long run.
- Security: A large number of security issues in WordPress are a result of plugins. Check and see when a plugin you are looking at was last updated. By itself it isn’t a reason to select a plugin but in general a plugin that is updated regularly is a good sign.
- Check the Changelog: The changelog tells you what features are added with each plugin update as well as problems and bugs that were taken care. In general an active changelog indicates the developer is responsive to client needs.
- Support: How well is the plugin supported? How quickly can you get help if you need it. Poor support is pretty much a sign of a poor plugin.
- Read reviews: One bad review doesn’t equal a bad plugin any more than a good review is a guarantee of a great plugin. Look at many reviews in different places. Many of the premium WordPress plugins out there are reviewed by affiliates, who get a commission. There are definitely some biased reviews floating around, but if enough people have reviewed a plugin you will see a trend.
- Follow WordPress blogs and communities: There are many WordPress experts out there and this is where you will find them.
- Check which plugins are most popular: A hugely popular plugin may not be the very best in its area but will still be good. They are popular for a reason, and it is easy to find information about them.
There are some tools for testing plugins, but in general if you have the technical savvy to use the tools, you most likely can find the best plugin for your needs anyway. The following are 10 of the best premium WordPress plugins available:
WooCommerce is a popular ecommerce plugin and has been downloaded over 2 million times. It is available as a free download and additional features can be added with paid add-ons
Sucuri Security features include file integrity monitoring, security activity auditing, blacklist monitoring, malware scanning and website firewall. The Sucuri plugin tracks all activity on your site including any changes made and when users login.
Although it is among the best SEO plugins available, WordPress SEO by Yoast is easy to use, even for those without a lot of experience.
NextGEN Gallery plugin features two frontend display styles with various options for controlling the size, style, timing, transitions and lightbox effects for each style. There is a premium and a free version.
This plugin allows you to add floating social sharing buttons to your site. Floating Social Share Bar WordPress Plugin is very light weight, very fast and easy to set up.
Customize content faster and easier using Shortcodes. Choose from 100 built in Shortcodes including jQuery Accordion, Tooltips, Column Shortcodes, Gallery and Image Shortcodes, Button Styles, Alert Box Styles, Twitter buttons, Facebook Like, LinkedIn and many more.
There is another WordPress Twitter plugin that we can recommend.
Disqus is a popular comment plugin for WordPress sites and can be found on sites like CNN and IGN. Disqus uses software that learns how to better detect spam through moderating actions you take
Slider PRO offers 100+ customizable properties, 100+ possible transition effects, 10+ skins and more. The slider’s administration area is powerful and uses the default WordPress design.
A plugin that allows you to merge and bulk edit categories, tags, and custom taxonomies.
This is a jQuery based AJAX powered HTML / PHP contact form with Twitter Direct Messaging that can be integrated into WordPress using shortcodes and functions.
Despite all the free and premium WordPress plugins out there, sometimes you still find one that exactly meets your needs. If that happens, then you can have a custom WordPress plugin developed for you specifically designed to meet your requirements.