When Plugins go nuts… #blogging

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If you use wordpress as your blogging software (and why wouldn’t you ;)) you’ll know all about the extended functionality you can add to you blog as via Plugins.

Plugin Mania


One of the first things I get asked when I hand over the key to a new WordPress blog is “what plugins do I need?”, which always leads to the conversation about what you want to use the plugins for.

Sometimes you don’t need a plugin at all as the functionality is in the theme. An example of this is “breadcrumb navigation”, if you use the Genesis framework this is a standard feature. If you use another theme (Thesis) it may not be a standard feature and you may have to code it in or use a plugin.

It can be a heady thing seeing the variety of plugins and knowing that there are free as well as premium plugins that will take your WordPress site beyond just blogging.

Coding or Plugins?

Coding every single time…. if you can’t add some code to your theme then talk to someone who can.  Talk to me, Babs or Lisa and if you have no budget you can attempt it yourself, but be prepared to have to get an expert in if you wreck your blog :). One of the ways you can tell a WordPress blogging expert from an amateur is how soon in the conversation they say “there’s a plugin for that” when you are talking about blogging functionality. If it’s too soon, ie when you say “can my blog do this…” and the reply is “there’s a plugin that does that”…you know you are being led up the garden path.

Talking of blog wrecking… what do you do when plugins go nuts?

Plugin conflicts.

Too much of anything can be dangerous, moderation is best, except for when it comes to chocolate ;) There are two things to keep in mind when installing plugins:

  • Too many plugins can slow down your site and eat up bandwidth.
  • Too many of the same plugin type can cause conflicts and clashes.

Even the best plugin can also let unexpected security risks slip through your “doors” — if they are not regularly updated.

Plugin developers provide new versions frequently. They provide updates to address glitches and bugs, but often the reason there’s an upgrade is because someone has discovered a security leak, or leak potential etc in the plugin’s coding. So to help prevent plugin conflict you need to update your plugins often.

How to De-bug Faulty Manual Plugin Installations

One of the most frequent causes of plugin conflict can be through manually installing a plugin via your FTP.  Occasionally this manual upload process via FTP won’t work. There are two things you can do to fix it…

Make sure your plugin is there – Open your FTP program again to make sure it’s actually in the right folder (wp-content/plugins). If it’s not there (it does happen!) upload it again.

If it is there breathe a sigh of relief and delete right from the server, then upload again

If it still doesn’t work, check out your unzipped plugin folder very thoroughly: Is there a second folder within the folder (“double wrapping”)? If so, delete the unsuccessful upload and start again, this time using the folder within the folder only.

Plugins: To Zip or Unzip?

Remember, if you’re manually uploading via WordPress, keep your plugin folder zipped.

If you’re uploading via FTP, unzip first (unless the plugin developer states otherwise). Remember to click “Activate”, once your plugin appears in your installed plugins page.

Read the instructions first when it comes to installing the plugins you want, it’s the difference between a perfect blog and a mess that you have to sort out over a day or so whilst you are trying to do other things.

Dealing with a plugin conflict

If you have a plugin conflict, deactivate the last plugin you installed and chill out for a moment. Is the plugin essential? Is it vital, will your whole world fall apart without it? If so then the next step is deactivate all of the plugins and then reactivate them one by one to see which one is causing the grief. Can you live with out that plugin? If so, un-install it and delete it. As I recently found out even un-installing and deleting some plugins isn’t enough to get rid of them and the hassle they have caused! In which case you need to pick up the phone and call someone in as quite clearly it’s a plugin gone rogue.

Of course there can be other reasons why plugins go nuts

Too many of the same types of plugin  can cause problems. Do you really need 6 different versions of stats on your blog? Or 4 different SEO plugins? Chose one type and stick with it. When you change plugins for one thing often, you undo the work that you have already done. Some SEO related plugins take a little while to kick in and if you are not using them correctly then they may never deliver the results that you think they will. Installing another SEO plugin on top of that is not the cure icon smile When Plugins go nuts... #blogging

Incorrectly configured plugins may be a pain, again read the instructions, and dare I say it… do as you are advised.

Remember less is more when it comes to plugins icon smile When Plugins go nuts... #blogging

Share with us your tips for dealing with plugins that have gone nuts.

Sarah

 

 

pixel When Plugins go nuts... #blogging
 When Plugins go nuts... #blogging
Blogging an issue for you? Social media not quite working how it should be?That's okay I understand. I started blogging back in 2006 and grew into a kick-ass blog coach as well as creator of Birds on the Blog (listed 3 times by Forbes as a top 100 website for women), I'm frequently listed as both a top content marketing expert and as an influential marketer. You want your blog to make a difference, so subscribe here and stay in touch, my updates will help you achieve content marketing success.
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Comments

  1. says

    Informative and right on topic for the WordPress plugin nut. :-) One major problem for some is installing too many plugins at once before the site is backed up & tested to make sure everything is working the way it should, before installing another. It seem to be an afterthought for most until the plugin causes a major conflict with their WordPress blog.

    • Sarah Arrow says

      Thanks LaVenus, I think i should add that in – your first plugin should be a back up plugina dn you should back up the site before adding anything else :)

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

  2. says

    Moreover some plugin creaters just don’t care about security and robustness, and even for those who do, their ability to test on a variety of systems in a variety of situations is often quite limited. But there are a few things about plugins that are useful to understand. So I would like to hear your comments on how you feel about the benefits of some plugins that could improve the blog performance?

    • Sarah Arrow says

      Hi Paul, thanks for dropping by and commenting. I have had a bucket load of grief with plugins that improve performance so I have a very biased view of them :)

      • says

        hey Sarah thanks for reply and accepting my words on your blog. Your post is very useful for those who massively use plugins without any investigation. I have seen a lot incidents where blogs get hacked due to the unsecured plugins. Anyway, plugins like commentluv AND keywordluv doing very good job to make a good discussion alike forums.

  3. says

    Hi Sarah
    Great look at plugins and a super example of how to turn a dry subject into a good read.

    Love your humour…
    “…moderation is best, except for when it comes to chocolate”
    Like that.

    I try and keep plugins down but I do use some.
    I use the usual ones plus a few security plugins.

    Just checking, what platform are we on here? Genesis.
    They are slowly taking over the world.
    Keith Davis recently posted..The Tyranny of the Or…My Profile

    • Sarah Arrow says

      Hey Keith, still on Genesis but am very tempted to move to Headway. I see Danny B has done fab stuff with it and I love Judy Dunn’s look on Cat’s Eye Writer… I am tempted to take the plunge but I am holding back for now, and am not really sure why. Thanks for dropping by :)

  4. says

    Great article, Leslie Morrisey and I were only talking yesterday about how easy to read and relevant your blogging tips are.

    I run workshops on creating and managing websites with WordPress and the plugin debate is as strong as ever, nice to see someone else agrees – spending time in researching to find the right plugins for what you need is a better use of time than installing everything that might be useful.

    • Sarah Arrow says

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting Scott. I know when I had my first WordPress blog I had about 70 plugins… now I have 10 and my mantra is if I can code it, I’ll do that instead of a plugin :)

    • Sarah Arrow says

      Thanks Andrea, I struggle with some of my plugins they are vital for speed but I also want the pretty, distracting things as well…

  5. Corinne Rodrigues says

    I’m certainly a novice – so it’s plugins for me, Sarah. But they can be quite addictive and you keep adding more each time you read another ‘must-have-plugin’ post! Thanks for the warning though – I must be careful not to crash my site!
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..Christmas Joys Or Christmas Woes?My Profile
    Twitter:

  6. says

    I’ve been having some ‘fun’ with plugins recently – nearly brought my site to a complete standstill. I’m like a kid in a candy store with plugins – always buying new shiny stuff that looks good and not thinking about how it will impact other plugins that are already there.
    The solution for me was to do a complete clear out of plugins (including all the stupid stuff I have bought) and start again – its amazing how few plugins you really need to have a great blog
    Debbie recently posted..BMW MacLaren Buggy ReviewMy Profile
    Twitter:

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