Remember when you were a kid and your mom would send you off to the local carnival with five bucks and “spend it wisely because that’s all you’re getting”? I don’t know about you, but I would walk through the entire carnival, assessing every game and sweet treat, ranking them in my head and figuring out how I could get the most from that precious bit of cash.
WordPress plugins are kind of like that.You purchase a hosting package with just so much speed, bandwidth, space, etc. But you often don’t think about how you’re “spending” it when you build your website.
Every plugin you add to your WordPress site takes up a bit of those precious resources. Here are seven things that are so easy to implement on your WordPress site, that you should never (or at least rarely) use a plugin.
1. Google Analytics
Log into your Google Analytics account and copy the tracking code they give you. Most good WordPress themes will have a special box under Theme Options where you can paste this code. The really good ones will just need your UA number.
What about those plugins that put the analytics right on your website? If you want to use your precious plugin space for something you can easily bookmark in your browser, be my guest.
2. Mailing List Forms
I’m talking about including a simple mailing list opt-in in your sidebar or in a page on your website. Every mailing list service gives you the code that you can past into a text widget or a page to include your mailing list signup form. Now, if you want an evil pop-up box you will need a plugin for that.
3. Google Fonts
The least techie of us may want to go ahead and spend their plugin juice on pretty fonts, but if you have just a little bit of patience you can implement Google Fonts without too much trouble. You copy one small piece of code to put into the header of your website, and another small piece of code to add to your style sheet. Again, a well-made theme should have a box in Theme Options to handle both. At least give this one a shot first.
4. PayPal Buttons
If you are doing a simple one item sales page or even a subscription, it’s not very difficult to create your own PayPal buttons. Look under Tools in your PayPal account and you’ll find an easy way to create them. You can build and save as many as you want, and even use custom graphics instead of the ugly PayPal buttons we all know and love. If you need a full-featured ecommerce store, a plugin is a good idea. But the simple one-offs? Save yourself the set-up time and the bandwidth.
5. Blog Roll
Bloggers love to promote their fellow blogger’s blogs with a blogroll! And yes, it’s a nice little touch to always have the list move to put the most recent poster on top. But do you know how bulky that is in terms of your website? And do you really want to send your readers off to another blog? If the answer is still yes, I advise you to use a text widget and create a static blog roll list.
6. Social Media Icons
This one is really tempting! It seems like a lot of work to upload the little icon graphics and painstakingly link them to each of your social media sites. But trust me, it’s worth it. You can find the code on Google and just replace the links with your own if you want.
7. Google Authorship
Ironically, as I’m writing this post I read the announcement that Google Authorship is dead. So if you do have an Authorship plugin, it’s time to deactivate and delete it. If you manually implemented Authorship on your website, John Meuller from Google tells us that you don’t need to remove it, it won’t negatively impact anything on the Google side. I guess the next time I talk about this list, there will only be six things you should never do with WordPress plugins!
That’s my list of seven things that you can implement easily enough without using your precious plugin allotment. I’ve been using WordPress long enough to know that there is always a reason to break the rules. So if you really want to use a plugin for one of these things, go right ahead. I’ve even listed a couple of them on the All-Star Plugin Roster. Just make sure you’re not giving up space for a plugin that could really help you hit it out of the park with your website.
Do you have anything to add to the list? Share your tip in the comments below.