WordPress is the preferred content management system of many lawyers. It’s simple, intuitive and allows you to create a professional website with virtually no coding knowledge. WordPress also has a massive number of plugins — over 54,000 as of early 2019.
However, not all plugins are created equal, and it can be tricky selecting the right one for your legal site’s needs. Here are some considerations when choosing a WordPress plugin.
Number of Active Installations
You can tell a lot about a plugin by checking a few key things in the search database. One of the most important is the number of active installations, which can be seen in the lower left hand corner.
Generally speaking, the higher the number, the better. For instance, BuddyPress has over 200,000 active installations, which is a pretty solid number. This isn’t to say that there couldn’t be any issues, but you’re more likely to have a positive experience using a popular plugin that many people are already using.
On the other hand, a plugin with only 5,000 active installations would be a bit more questionable.
Next, there’s rating, which is the number of stars a WordPress plugin has. This is just above the number of active installations in the lower left hand corner.
As you might imagine, the higher the rating, the better. Ideally, a plugin will have 4 stars or higher. However, 3 1/2 stars is usually enough to justify installing a plugin.
You can learn more by clicking on “More Details.”
Then scroll down to “Average Rating” and “Reviews.”
If you want to see exactly what people are saying about a plugin, just click on “5 stars,” “4 stars,” “3 stars,” etc.
Note that you’ll also want to take the number of reviews and ratings into account. You would definitely put more stock into a plugin that has a 4 star rating with 300+ people rating it rather than just 20.
Consistency of Updates
This is a biggie. Some WordPress developers abandon their plugins and stop making updates. This is problematic because WordPress is constantly evolving, and failing to make consistent updates can lead to bugs and other glitches.
It can create headaches and just isn’t something you want to deal with. So always take a look at when the last update happened in the lower right hand corner.
The update for this particular plugin was just 22 hours ago — a great sign. But if it was a year ago or longer, this could be a sign of abandonment and should be avoided if possible.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure that a plugin is compatible with the version of WordPress you’re using. And this is super easy to find. Just look at the lower right hand corner, and it will tell you.
The WordPress plugin library is vast, which is a good thing. It means you have your choice of thousands of plugins to fully optimize your legal site. But it’s important to know what constitutes a trustworthy plugin versus one that’s questionable. This should minimize any friction and create a positive plugin experience.
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