Am I right?
Are you tired of this discussion too? I know, kind of ironic that I say it's "time to retire this discussion" through writing a post about it (kind of like needing to get the last word in, huh? This is pretty funny as I write this. Guess we know what direction this post is going in). To be quite frank, I really don't know why this continues to be a discussion. There are so many factors that go into someone's choice to use (or not use) a plugin that I really think it's best to try to stick with a 'best practices' for plugins and do what you feel is right for you, your site and your business (if in fact your WordPress site is for your business also).
Before we get into the 'For' or 'Against' plugins discussion (note I didn't say argument, because really... why argue, right?), here's a few things I cover in the first part of this episode:
My trip to Infusioncon (what I learned, what I thought of the conference and why I'm going back next year)
What I'm going to be focusing on in my business moving forward
Why I'm not going to do website development work anymore
First, because this is how I roll, I want to give a little disclaimer. I FIRMLY believe that the decision to use or not use plugins is a personal choice. One that's based on someone's individual skills, knowledge and desire (because let's be honest... no matter how much we love WordPress we don't all want to get into the code, right?). That being said, there are some best practices.
Most people install plugins because they're looking to add additional functionality to their site. Something they need done and don't know how to do without coding it (ie, learning to code it themselves or hiring someone to do it). Of course there are also those people who just love plugins and install and try anything they come across. :-)
And guess what? That's O.K. too, just know there may be consequences for doing that.
My rule of thumb for using plugins is to always stop and ask yourself if the plugin you're installing and the functionality it adds is an added value to your reader / visitor (and I'm not referring to plugins that are good for your site like WordPress SEO or a database backup plugin). If it's not something that adds value or makes it easier on your visitor (like a social sharing plugin - which makes it easier for your reader to share your content), then is it really something you need to install?
The podcast goes into more detail on this so we'll move onto the argument for NOT using plugins.
Not using Plugins
This argument is going to be less wordy because it really comes down to just a couple things:
Site load time
Having a clean & efficient running site
Both of which are extremely important and of course help in your SEO, stats, visitor engagement and bounce rate (how long someone stays on your site before they 'bounce'). But the idea that everyone who uses WordPress is capable of coding in the functionality that is created by plugins is pretty ridiculous. I'm going to bet that it's safe to say that the majority of my audience isn't interested in coding. Even those of you who have a WP Web dev business. Many of you are great at customizing WP and giving the client a great product but you also want some leverage in your business and the time for money thing gets old sometimes.
Links From this Episode
RODE Recorder App for iOS
Plugins I mentioned
And.. like I mentioned at the end of the episode, here's the link to support the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast! Rate the plugin or make a donation.