Plugins are one of the greatest strengths of a WordPress specialist. They could however be one of his greatest weaknesses too.
The key is that plugins be used from reliable sources and only when essentially required.
All WordPress website design and development should be undertaken with care in that plugins that are installed should deliver a functionality or solve a purpose. These should not be added for the sake of ‘bells and whistles’.
Taking Google Analytics plugin, a very common plugin type among WordPress custom plugin development, let us discuss if it is really required or not to be installed within the framework for WordPress theme development.
Do You Need a Plugin at all to Run Google Analytics?
This should logically be the first question you should address because technically none needs a plugin to install Google Analytics. You could simply take the code and paste it in either the header.php or footer.php files so it gets called on every page in your WordPress website.
Yes, you may face issue in this route in the sense that you might end up messing up these files and not know how to revert, in case you couldn’t edit PHP.
You would need to remember insert this code every time you design WordPress theme to replace the old.
You will need to alter the Analytics code should you wish to track non-standard, custom variables. This could be a problem for the ones not so technical.
Now, should any or all of the above be true then you have a genuine need to consider inviting a custom WordPress plugin developer to develop or install an exiting, relevant plugin.
Do You Still Really Need a Plugin?
There is still one more consideration before you have decided to use a plugin. Maybe ask your WordPress theme designer:
Does your theme come with a pre-built option to install Analytics code?
Many people are unaware that many a times their custom WordPress theme design has a section in settings to install header and footer scripts.
If yes then you may simply copy the Analytics code there.
This way you have managed to easily add your code without a plugin set up and without touching the PHP code.
The code will remain intact so long as you do not change WordPress theme development framework. In case you do, you will need to re-install the Analytics code.
So, as you may notice, you have found two ways of evading the use of plugin and achieving your purpose.
But what if you want to change your Google Analytics Code options for tracking, say page-views by author?
Okay, you will need a plugin now.
This is the point where you have truly identified the real need for installing a plugin. This is how you should weigh all your functional requirements before resorting to the online WordPress plugin repository.
It is now just the question of selecting the right plugin.
So the Idea Is –
Ask the following questions before considering the use of Plugins in your WordPress website design:
Is the functionality you need a plugin for necessary for your website?
Does your solution lie in a plugin-based help?
Could your custom WordPress theme have it built-in?
If you have checked the first two and crossed the last questions then you do need a plugin.
Search for one intelligently then go ahead and deploy.