We like to think that we are all in agreement: the internet is a vast and wonderful place, filled with an impressive array of unique and innovative websites!
For platforms like WordPress and Prestashop who facilitate such creativity, having every possible feature ready to go out of the box would simply be impossible. So, how is such diversity facilitated? Simply put, purpose-built customisations are available to help each website vision take shape. Each can be added to your website, in order to create the desired modifications. Within the world of WordPress, we call these resources “Plugins”, and within the realm of Prestashop, they fall under the term “Modules”.
What Kinds Of Things Can Plugins And Modules Do?
For each platform, thousands of modifications are available, and are ready to be harnessed with a deft click of “Install” and then “Activate”! The potential features that Plugins and Modules can deliver are vast in scope. Some might make structural tweaks to the backend of the website (the parts you don’t see), while others might make dramatic changes on the front end, allowing new elements to enhance the visitor experience. Finding the most popular of these resources, and installing and activating them on your website, provides an instant functionality upgrade – without needing the technical knowledge of an experienced developer.
In the case of WordPress, we are dealing with a platform that facilitates lots of different types of website. Among the most popular Plugins are those that enhance SEO (search engine optimisation) or offer revved up security features. Ultimately, the range of possibilities is only limited by that which has already been imagined, and created. Some Plugins and Modules are free to use, while others come at a cost. We can thank the many developers out there who work hard to conceptualise such a dazzling menu of modifications!
However, in the case of eCommerce platform Prestashop, you may install Modules that are designed to alter the structure of your checkout, or perhaps one that delivers live chat with customers, for a better service experience.
How To Use Plugins And Modules Effectively
While these kinds of website modifications do take much of the technical mastery out of the equation for you, there are still some fundamental dos and don’ts. For example, running too many Plugins or Modules, particularly in clashing combinations, can leave your site vulnerable to issues such as bad performance, slow load speeds, site crashes, and even security breaches. Thankfully, there are precautions that you can take to avoid any mishaps.
A good rule of thumb is to not exceed 20 Plugins or Modules for a larger site, or 10-15 for a smaller site. There may be exceptions to this guideline, but it’s certainly wise to only ramp up the number of modifications you’re running if you intend to harness at least 80% of the functionality of each. Steer clear of those that are total overkill in relation to your needs.
If something does go wrong – especially when you’re installing a Plugin or Module for the first time – remember that Teapot Creative take back-ups of your site 4 times each and every day. If we are your host, we can always roll things back a few hours should you realise that you’ve broken something by mistake!
Making Plugin and Module Maintenance Part Of Your Overall Upkeep
For a happy, healthy, and smoothly running website, regular maintenance is always a must. For this reason, we recommend checking on your Plugins and Modules as part of a regular whole-site MOT. Scheduling frequent upkeep can help you ensure not only that your website is functioning correctly, but that it reflects your present business goals 100%. So, set time aside to work through the following checklist, including that all-important Modules or Plugins overhaul:
- Does the written content of your website still reflect your current goals and marketing strategies, or could it do with a lift?
- Are your Plugins and Modules all up to date? Deactivate or delete any that are not being used.
- Are there dead links or out of date advice tucked away in your blog?
- Are your contact details and About Us pages an accurate reflection of your current information?
- Does your contact form work?
As ever, the Teapot Creative team are on hand should you need backup in keeping your website at its best and brightest. Contact our ever-ready crew of tea-drinkers for information on the support we can provide, or to explore website hosting options!