WordPress Plugins – It’s like a lottery

WordPress plugins are an amazing. Every site uses them to add some special functionality. Often it’s a simple contact forms, social, security, backups, analytics add-ons. These are easy, free and there are countless top ten lists everywhere. But beyond the basics, it gets tricky.

Specialty plugins much more difficult

The sheer numbers is what most find difficult to comprehend when they look at calendars, events, carts, membership features etc. There’s over 35,000 free plugins on wordpress.org and over 5,000 premium varieties from hundreds of other sites.

One site used by freelance coders to sell their premium coding creations is codecanyon.net. It boasts 3,200 WordPress-specific plugins ranging in cost from $4 to $75 each. Over the last 5 years I’ve purchased almost 200 items off this and other specialty developer sites. But of all these premium-level, paid-for plugins, I’ve only retained and used around 20 of them. The rest I trashed or seldom use. N.B. Some have a money-back guarantee if it doesn’t work as you expect, but most do not.

That’s a modest 10% success rate, meaning overall, it’s cost me well over US$100 per working, useful plugin. But those 20 specialty premium plugins are amazing and I couldn’t live without them. Some were one-off purchases for specific projects that required further customisation. But the time, effort and cost to find the good ones from the bad has been very high. (This isn’t just a WordPress issue. Those who develop site using the Joomla and other CMS systems have similar stories).  But, it does mean I end up with a handy, powerful collection that lets me do amazing online features for clients to get them more traffic and business. Special features that you can’t get from the free collections.

This reminds us that selecting the right plugin to do a special job in WordPress is never easy, even for us experts, be it with a free or premium plugins. (My success/utilisation rate with the free plugins is a similar 10%). It’s not just the plugin features, it’s the developer who codes them. Some are good some bad. Some provide good support, some very little. However you normally get, what you pay for.

p.s. Exactly the same applies to selecting a WordPress theme, but that’s another story.

If you have issues or questions on specialty plugins, just fill in the form below.

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