Plug-Ins aren’t always ‘Plug-and-Play’

Published on February 10th, 2016

Installing a plug-in without hiring a proper expert can often be a slippery slope. A number of businesses may end up wasting a lot of unnecessary time, and money on a very common and straight-forward case of ‘buyer-beware.’ If you are a small business who manage your own websites and plug-ins without expert knowledge – this will be something that is in your best interests to read.

Quite simply, a ‘plug-in’ can be defined as a software component that adds or extends the functionality to an existing computer program or website.

So if you’ve ever installed breadcrumbs to see where people are going on your site or if you’ve been collecting emails on your MailChimp account from your website. If you’ve added an Instagram feed to your website’s homepage, or even if you’ve needed a simple CAPTCHA on your site to protect it from spam, it is likely that these functionalities have been enabled by plug-ins.

Plug-ins are great in the business-speaking world when looking for solutions to missing website functionalities, but over the years the word has taken on a new meaning almost entirely.

“There’s a plug-in for that.”

There are countless times that we hear and use this phrase in the web industry, and many customers seem to understand it quite well. In today’s modern day and age, where everything is automated, and many functions are completed at the click of a finger, the word “plug-in” has almost become a buzz word that easily translates to most businesses as: “adds functionality with the flick of a switch.”

Unfortunately, this ‘switch’ required to turn make these plug-ins work within your website can require a whole lot of coding and customising prior to actually having some good use behind them. Many customers can end up breaking their websites trying to make these changes themselves, and it’s a problem that we see all too often. Which is where we come in.

wordpress-plug-ins

WordPress sites have access to thousands of free, and paid, plug-ins. In fact, if you have access to the back end of a website, you’ll see a menu area specifically dedicated to them.

Many customers seek out our help after buying plug-ins, which often won’t work on their site without an expert level of customisation. Without adequate training and proper expertise, many small business owners can get themselves into a rut when they click the “publish” or “update” button, and things just don’t work how they want to – or they don’t work at all. In some cases, it is best to get rid of the plug-in altogether and go with a custom-made approach. Plug-ins are often a “one-size-fits-most” solution, with many extra features, or “bloat”, that you will never use. In most cases, a tailored solution, like those we develop for our customers every day, is preferable.

So although a plug-in may offer super helpful functions for your site, hours of customisation and expert-level coding can be required before a plug-in is well and truly ready to make magic on your business’ website.

– The Team at Webtron.

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