Category Archives: Opinion

Opinion articles written by community members

WordPress General Meetup Notes – Essential Plugins

In December we talked about essential plugins and where to find them. should be your first stop to look for plugins. There you can find the Plugin Directory, which lists all freely available plugins. Aside; There’s a new version of the directory coming soon that is even better for discovering plugins! You can also browse the directory from within WordPress itself under the “Plugins>Add New” menu in the WordPress dashboard.

Plugins listed in the directory give a description of what the plugin does, installation notes, and even reviews from other plugin users. You can also see who the developers are and most plugins have an active support forum to discuss issues and feature requests with the developer. One way of determining if a plugin is good to use is to follow  a short checklist.

  • Has it been updated recently?
  • How many sites are actively using it?
  • What is the average rating?
    • What do the reviews say about the plugin?
  • Is the developer active in responding to questions?
  • Does the developer maintain other contributions to the community (plugins, themes, presenting at WordCamps, etc)?

One thing to keep in mind with plugins is performance. Too many plugins can slow down your site. Installing two plugins that do the same thing is also not a good idea as conflicts can happen that can impact performance or down right break your site! This is why having a good development site to tinker with is helpful when managing WordPress.

On to the list of plugins we talked about. I’d love to hear of alternatives or additional items in the comments!

The discussion also covered a few other related tools for managing and monitoring your site. These included:

Thanks to everyone who came out and we’ll see you in January!

Don’t Hide Your WordPress Love

I was reading this thread on reddit the other day which asked the question, “Why do people hide the fact that they use WordPress as their sites backend/framework?”

There’s some prettying interesting conversation there, but one comment stood out. It was from a design firm in Kingston, NY called Catskill Design. They put together a blog post answering the age old question, “If WordPress is so easy, why don’t I just buy a theme and do it myself?”.

I’ll let you read it yourself, but the conversation around hiring someone vs. doing it yourself seems to pop up in the community from time to time. A a business owner or writer just starting out WordPress can seem quite daunting.

I think hiring vs. doing-it-yourself depends on how much time you want to spend learning the ecosystem around WordPress and web technology in general. If you’d rather focus on your business, then hire someone. If you have the time and attention, then dig in. The important thing is to use what you learn to better yourself and your business.

Like my dad use to say, “If it costs $100 for someone to fix your car, you’re paying $1 to turn the bolt and $99 to know which is the right bolt to turn.” Of course my dad also said, “It’s important to know how to take care of your own car.”

Parents are confusing.

Photo by Adriano Gasparri – licensed under Creative Commons