Hey there and welcome to WordPress Wednesday!

There are over 55,000 plugins in the official WordPress plugin directory. And the chances are pretty high that you’ll find yourself diving in there trying to find a plugin that’s going to work for your website.

And that number can be pretty intimidating if it’s not something that you’re used to doing. There are so many options, and so many ways that this can go right or wrong for you.

So today let’s talk about a few ways you can make your experience the next time you dive into the WordPress plugin directory a much more fun and successful adventure.

Look at who built it

So first off when you’re looking at a plugin, you really want to see who the author of the plugin is. This shouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker for any plugin that you’re looking at. Especially since random people can create really really good plugins.

But at the same time, who built and is maintaining the plugin can be a very important thing. If, for example, the plugin is made by Pantheon, Google, Yoast or someone like that, then you know that it’s well supported and that it will be supported for a long time. It will be up to high standards, and it will be compatible with all, you know, the latest versions of WordPress.

That confidence in knowing that it’s going to work with WordPress and with your website care really be the difference between plugins that you might be looking at.

Look at the last updated date

Next, you really should be looking at the last updated date for a plugin. Ideally the plugin should be updated within the last three months or so. That’s usually, though not always, the same timeline with WordPress’ development cycle.

The biggest risk you want to avoid here is, you know, getting a plugin that is not updated and becomes a very high security risk. If you install a plugin that hasn’t been updated in years or the “tested up to” WordPress version isn’t the current version, then that’s going to be a big liability on your website.

Select plugins that have been updated recently and will receive updates in the future. It will save you a lot of headaches.

Read the reviews last

Finally, you’ll want to read through the reviews of the plugins that you’re looking at. And I highly encourage you to look past the numerical number for the stars that it’s given.

Instead, read through a sampling of the reviews. You can disregard reviews that just say that someone just disliked it and gave no reason for it. You really want to find the reviews that talk about why. Why did the reviewer love this plugin? Why did they dislike it and feel compelled to write a review about it?

That’s where you’re really going to get a good feel about whether you should be using this plugin or not. Those types of reviews will give you legitimate concern or excitement for a plugin. And you can use this to guide your own decision.

Reviews can be helpful if you know what you’re looking for.

But that’s all I have today. I know it can be daunting to see that 55,000 plugin mark in the directory, but it’s kind of pretty simple to navigate once you know what you’re looking for and, you know, just take your time. You’ll find what you’re looking for, I promise.

So, do you have any horror or success stories with dealing with the WordPress plugin directory? Leave them in comments below. And also, if you have any questions about the plugin directory or plugins in general, be sure to also leave them down in comments or reach out on social media.

But until next time, happy WordPressing!