Did you know you could kill your interior design website with one click? No gun needed. Just that very dangerous mouse. When I created my very first Wordpress website I was filled with excitement. I could make my website look any way I wanted and I could add all sorts of plugins!
I could have 342 plugins if I wanted to. And you know sometimes you want to. How could you not? Look at all the choices of Wordpress Plugins! However, plugins are like little programs you add on to your website like and app for your smartphone. Too many plugins will bring your website down. Less is more.
Before you start going crazy downloading plugins, you need to think about this.
1. What do I need my website to do for my business? As an interior designer, you should have your goals laid out for your interior design website. Some goals should include spam protection from your blog comments, contacting you, a portfolio and some social media sharing buttons. Once you know what you need this plugin to do for you, then you can begin the search.
2. Updates. Before you download a plugin you need to see when it was last updated. If the developer hasn't updated in awhile it could mean they have abandon the project. Which in turn could mean as Wordpress continues to change, this plugin may no longer function and mess up your website. So see how long it has been since they updated it.
3. Read the reviews.If the plugin has messed up more sites than it has helped, don't think you will have better luck with it. Most likely you won't. If everyone loves it, then you may have a plugin winner on your hands.
4. Plugin Support.Maybe the plugin hasn't been updated in a while because the developer doesn't need to. But to see if the developer is still actively supporting the plugin, click the "Support" link. There you can see when the last support tickets were filed and if the developer has responded. If they have you will see a '[resolved]' in front of the support post. This tells you that they didn't abandon the project.
5. Screenshots. Check them out so you can see what your plugin will do and how it will look on your website.
If you don't heed the obvious warning signs that a plugin has been abandoned, you may just be sabotaging your efforts. You don't want to do that.
Once upon a time, I found a plugin that did what I wanted it. It was free, it purported to do what I wanted and I was sold. I read the bad reviews and all the trouble others had with it. I ignored the warning signs and downloaded it anyway.
I mean, why pay for it when I could get it for free?
Then right after I clicked "activate" my site died.
I killed my interior design website with one click.
You could of heard me screaming across the country. I was so upset. My entire interior design website disappeared and didn't work anymore.
I had to enlist my husband to fix my website, but not everyone is lucky enough to have a hubby like mine on call. If you don't have someone you can call on, you may be in deep doo-doo if this happens.
Follow my advice, be careful and tread carefully with plugins. If there are warning signs, you may need to buy a plugin that does what you want or keep searching.
*Since I wrote this post I have switched my website over to Squarespace. I don't have to worry about Plugins anymore.
Alycia Wicker is a business coach for creative entrepreneurs. Her clients land more of their own dream clients and make more cash, period. Celebrity gossip whore. Elvis-obsessed.