Plugins, Plugins and More Plugins

Services: Law Firm Website Design . SEO . Internet Marketing . Law Firm Marketing Guide . Content Marketing . PPC

WordPress is a great platform for building law firm websites. With a vast 60,000 to 70,000 plugins to choose from, WP is highly customizable.  

However, with too much choice, you can get yourself in trouble. Plugins should be kept to a bare minimum to make your site fast, secure and easy to maintain.

Issues with Installing Too Many Plugins

Every plugin you install can potentially:

  • Slow down your website (every plugin is a database call and loads extra code)
  • Increase the maintenance of your website with plugin updates and bugs
  • Create conflicts with other plugins (ugh, a pain to find and debug)
  • Add on extra JS code libraries that are not needed (again slowing down your website)
  • Make your website less secure, as plugins go stale, are not updated or maintained

We recommend installing as few plugins as possible. 

Default Plugins We Use

We recommend and use the following plugins on our default themes:

  • ACF – Advanced Custom Fields  (core plugin for building websites)
  • Yoast SEO (core plugin for SEO)

Other Good Plugins to Make Life Easier

  • WP-PageNavi  (a better way to paginate posts)
  • Simple Page Ordering  (allows us to order pages easier)
  • Autoptimize (assists on some sites to help optimize code for speed)

At PaperStreet, we use an internally coded Contact form. When clients want another email delivery method, we use an email SMTP plugin to connect email accounts. We use WP Mail SMTP and the Gravity Forms/CF7 plugin concurrently.

We use the FakerPress plugin during builds. It generates fake content that allows layout and fill on pages during the pre-build stage of development. 

We use the Better Search Replace Pro plugin to help us find code/text during the builds and launch process.

Most of our sites use only those default plugins. We do, from time to time, install a few more.  But if your site is running slow or has more than 10 plugins, you might consider giving us a call.  We can help speed optimize your website and make recommendations.

Code vs. Plugins

Where possible we believe in using code in the actual functions and templates of WP. It loads faster, requires no updates and is more secure. Yes, plugins make life easy. It’s simple to install a Google Analytics plugin to allow you access to the header file and insert the code. But now, there is another call to your database, another call to load extra code and another plugin to update. Why not simply open up the header.php file and drop in the analytics code there (or into the footer.php file). In our view, there is no sense in using a plugin to install analytics. It really does not save time. It adds on extra code and creates more work long-term.

Now there are times when plugins are great. When you need a plugin to do the heavy lifting for the site, SEO plugins, contact form plugins, newsletter plugins, e-commerce, and other major plugins are a major bonus that save time/effort/money to code. But for simple stuff, load it directly into the templates. 

Banned Plugins

Further, WPEngine keeps a nice list of disallowed plugins. They have made that list due to performance and security issues. Now some are very particular to their platform (i.e. the caching plugins), so you may be fine to use it on your own platform. But, if your plugin is on the list, you might want to check it out and reconsider its use.

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