WordPress plugin development has been increasing at a rapid pace as web users find the value and power of WordPress. It seem there is a plugin for just about any need a user or developer can dream up.
Currently, there are 15,524 plugins available in the WordPress Plugin Directory. Finding the right plugin is not always an easy task. Through my working with WordPress often through the past fifteen years, and on a daily basis for the last two years, I have acquired substantial knowledge of plugins in general. It is this experience that guides my hand at selecting plugins.
If I Google “Best WordPress Plugins” there are 12,300,000 result pages! Here are a few of the results;
I occasionally review lists like found in the above links. Many of the plugins have been around for a long time and have a good reputation. Others are new to the game and need to be regarded cautiously. A poorly programed plugin can bring down a website with one click of the mouse.
When I find myself needing a plugin for a new task and have to choose from several unknown resources, I look at how many times the plugin has been downloaded and what, if any ratings, the plugin has received.
Consider this graphic from the WordPress Plugin Directory for the WP Touch plugin:
Most plugins are created by coders who don’t want to waste the work they have done for a client, or from their personal interest and explorations in particular functions. Often, they are not well thought out and incomplete on one way or another. The best plugins are known as Premium Plugins. They are generally well thought out and coded. The plugin authors request you pay to use some of their versions and insist you pay for others of their versions.
A good resource for Premium Plugins is Code Canyon: http://codecanyon.net/category/plugins/wordpress
I often use Code Canyon for a variety of things, not the least of which are WordPress plugins.
Finally, when I find a useful plugin that is well coded, I keep in in a folder on my local machine. When building a new WordPress website I’ll go through this personal stash of plugin perfection to select those which might be of some use. Consider OZH’s Admin Drop Down Menu plugin; I insist on it for virtually every website I develop: http://planetozh.com/blog/my-projects/wordpress-admin-menu-drop-down-css/
For those who take this approach, I caution them to be very picky. Installing a bunch of unnecessary plugins leads to poor website performance and back end clutter, doing more harm than good.