Are too many WordPress plugins bad for SEO? How many plugins are too many? Will they slow down the speed of my site?

WordPress Plugins: How Many is Too Many?

Written by in WordPress SEO |

There is no such thing as too many plugins, there are only poorly coded plugins.

WordPress PluginsOne of the greatest parts of WordPress is the ability to add damn-near any functionality to your website that is needed through the use of plugins.

This is why they exist.

Let’s simplify the breakdown of a WordPress website for the sake of tackling some common concerns like:

But, isn’t too many plugins bad for SEO?
Too many plugins slow my site down, right?
Can’t you just hard-code the changes to my CSS or functions.php file?

Generally, WordPress consists of 3 parts:

  1. Core CMS: this is everything included in a default WordPress install. Basically everything you see in the Admin area and all the default functionality and options available to you.
  2. Design: this is your particular theme. Sometimes themes come with added options that you have access to in your admin panel but generally, themes should be the look of your site, not the functionality.
  3. Further Functionality: these are plugins. Things like adding shortcodes, social media buttons, opt-in forms, new widgets, etc.

Again, this is a very simplified explanation and there are exceptions and things like Frameworks but for our purposes we won’t go down that rabbit hole.

Armed with this bit of knowledge, let’s tackle the common concerns listed above.

Plugins Are Just Fine For SEO

First of all, adding new functionality to a WordPress site entails adding some sort of code to the site. Because we’re adding more to what is already there, depending on the amount of code (and what it does) there is going to be some (generally unnoticeable) decrease in speed.

This is the nature of the game. If we have two different websites hosted on the same servers and one has membership abilities, a forum, and products for sale, and the other is just a simple blog, the simple blog is going to perform faster because there is less code being called. Simple logic.

This is true no mater where we implement the code: functions.php or as a plugin.

However, if we implemented the code in our functions.php file of our particular theme, that functionality will disappear if we change themes. If we implement it as a plugin, the functionality will remain no matter what theme we have installed. And this is why it is considered best practice to designate functionality changes to plugins.

Secondly, this is also why plugins do not affect SEO in terms of slow speed any more than any other code changes do.

What affects SEO is having your site slow down or become unresponsive due to a plugin (or any code addition for that matter) being coded incorrectly or not using WordPress best practices.

Everything you’ve read about multiple plugins causing issues for SEO, speed, etc. are do to the fact that there are many poorly coded plugins available in numerous places around the web and a general rule of thumb for uneducated website owners is to limit the amount of plugins you have to minimize the chance that you’ll download and activate a bad egg.

But now, you’re no longer uneducated. You know the truth and when you approach a good designer/developer to make changes to your site, you will appreciate it when they suggest making you a custom plugin to address your changes rather than adding code directly to your functions.php file (this is still fine for certain things…everything has its place).

Of course, the trouble is finding a good developer…que the contact us linkage.

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