Swivel Studio

Plugins, Not Created Equal

Plugins are a big selling point for WordPress sites – but very few follow through on the promise of making development better or easier. Just finding a decent plugin can take hours of searching and testing, and then it might not work right. You install it, then it breaks or breaks when you update. I’ve become weary of the lure of plugins as a solution most of the time. (Simple additions to the functions.php file are much preferred, with lots of less baggage.)

But wait – not all hope is lost. Plugins can save tons of development time in certain instances. There are a handful of plugins that truly do a great job and should be standard. Here’s a list that I will revisit.

1) JetPack for WordPress – Use this one for the integrated site stats alone. A new update has made a sweet carousel plugin straight from your native gallery thumbnails. This is created and maintained by Automattic, so this is a quality plugin.

2) WP-DB-Backup – Let’s hope I never need to resort to this, but it’s a comfort to know everything can be backed up with a click. This back up plugin is simple. Done.

3) Contact Form 7 – Easiest implementation of a contact form, ever. It just works.

4) Google XML Sitemap Generator – Got to make the sites friendly with SEO, this one creates and auto updates. Nice.

5) Google Analytics for WordPress – It can track all your outbound links, forget all that hand coding. So necessary.

6) Facebook Open Graph Meta in WordPress – I tried out a few, and I did have to edit the php of this to make it work properly with my WordPress meta in the header – but it does deliver. You can select a featured image for any page to display on Facebook as the thumbnail.

I’ll get back to this later – and spare you from the list of plugins that have failed me.

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