One of the nice things about WordPress is that it’s easily extensible though plugins. In fact, it’s so easy to add plugins that many people do so willy-nilly, and suffer the consequences. (Not all plugins are good plugins, and even the good ones don’t always play nice with one another, with your theme, or with your version of WordPress.) After trying out more than my share of plugins, I’ve developed a few criteria since there aren’t many out there on the web. These are questions you should ask yourself before installing a new plugin.

And no, you don’t have to go all of these questions with every single plugin. This isn’t a pre-flight checklist, but a set of considerations to keep in mind.

What Does this Plugin Do for Me?

  1. Does it allow me to easily do something I couldn’t do before?
  2. Does it simplify or streamline something I do on a regular basis?
  3. Does it enable me to post on a more regular basis?
  4. Does it help me to better connect with my readers?

What Does this Plugin Do for my Readers?

  1. Does it make my blog easier to find?
  2. Does it make my blog easier to navigate?
  3. Does it make my blog easier to interact with?
  4. Does it make it easier for my readers to interact with each other? (Assuming this is something I want to encourage.)

What Does this Plugin Do to and for my Website?

  1. Is it legitimate? Does it come from the official WP Plugin repository?
  2. How old is it? Has it been around for a while without being updated?
  3. Does it add a lot of code that might slow down loading time?
  4. How many ratings has it had? What is the average rating?
  5. Is it in regular development? When was the last time it was updated? Is it compatible with the latest version of WordPress and your theme?
  6. Is it supported by the author? Is there a dedicated page by the author explaining how to use all its features? Is there a support forum you can go to if you have questions?
  7. Google it. What comes up? Does it seem that a lot of people love it or that a lot of people have trouble with it?
  8. Do you have to install a second plugin to make it work?