I been running WordPress blogs for several years. I have also good experience with Joomla and a bit lesser in Drupal. But I stick to WordPress because it´s very straightforward and stable combined with all the free plugins.
They give your website more capabilities and interaction with social media and even can change the design. WordPress is extremely popular and its the most used CMS platform in the world. Check out the stats here.
The plugins at WordPress.org’s lists incredibly 25,977 plugins, 485,636,679 downloads, and counting. That is good news and bad news. Well maybe not bad news, more that it can be frustrating to have to deal with so many choices. How should you pick them and what should you consider.
It´s important that the plugins gets updated on a regular basis and they give you a clear documentation about the plugin. I also prefer to be able to see screen-shots of the plugin before I install it. Is there a support tab and is there any threads? To sum up: The more info you get, the better it is.
There are free plugins and commercial plugins. The commercial costs from just a few dollar and upwards. I believe you can stick to the free ones. With so many around, you bound to find what you looking for and they usually do what they promise. .
But there are plugins for speeding up your website via a CDN (Content Delivery Network ). That is a network of servers that deliver cached static content from websites to users based on the geographic location of the user. These are all commercial plugins that cost money, but the great benefits are:
1 Improvement in SEO
2 Improved User Experience
3 Crash Resistance
4 Speeds up your page
There are several CDN options, but one of the most popular is MAX CDN and they have a starter from $39.95/year.
New plugins comes out every day and it´s easy to see the ratings. But it´s a lot of plugins that have a 5 star rating with only one rating. Probably the developer. Just hover over the stars and you see how many have rated it.
How many times have a plugin been downloaded? That can serve as a good indicator. Is there a demo of it? I believe that if you created a good plugin, you want to showcase it and put it on your site for a test-drive. If not, I ask myself, how come? Lazy or is it just not up to standards.
When I write this article the most popular with stats looks like this.
Downloaded 15,645,010 times
- WordPress SEO by Yoast
Downloaded 5,434,795 times
- Contact Form 7
Downloaded 11,765,125 times
- Jetpack by WordPress.com
Downloaded 5,907,464 times
- WordPress Importer
Downloaded 5,130,253 times
So is the popular ones the best ones? The short answer is almost, You can rely on that fact that they fully do their job and are stable. You can´t get on the popular list with scrappy plugins.
Search the internet for comments or other info about the plugin, just type in the name of the plugin and you will get loads of info and maybe some nice working demos.
But most important is to have a good plan with what you wish the plugins to do for you and don´t install to many. For every plugin you install, it will increase the loading time of your webpage.