There are hundreds and even thousands of WordPress plugins available online and in the WordPress marketplace. Even when you limit it by WooCommerce Checkout add-ons only, you’re still looking at thousands to choose between. How do you find out which WooCommerce checkout add-on is right for you?
A bad plugin can cause you headache, cost you money, or even potentially break your site due to incompatibility or malicious practices. This is why it’s important that you know what to look for when considering your plugin options for WooCommerce checkout – especially if you’re already an established business with lots to lose.
Below are 3 tips for choosing the best plugins for WordPress and WooCommerce. While there is no single definitive metric for evaluating a plugin other than trying it yourself, these recommendations will hopefully save you some stress.
1. Evaluate the Plugin Quality
Evaluating the plugin is basically what you’re doing when you choose one online or in the WordPress marketplace. However, there are a number of factors that are important for determining if something is artificially inflated or worthy of its position in the market. Since there is no single metric that will tell you definitely if a plugin is worth it, consider these metrics as a whole before you jump in.
Read the Description
Not every highly-effective plugin needs to be created by a professional writer, but a comprehensive, easily read description of the plugin is a good sign. It usually means the developer takes pride in the plugin, so it was worthwhile to put time or money into its main selling point.
It’s important that the description provides useful information rather than a keyword-stuffed sales pitch, so read with a critical eye. However, don’t completely penalize the plugin for a couple grammar or spelling problems – some of the best programmers don’t speak your language!
Check Update History
WordPress has frequent updates, which means compatibility can be a concern for some plugins. Fortunately, WordPress makes it easy to see the update history of plugins available on their marketplace. You can see when the update happened (as well as the last version of WordPress it was verified for) so that you can know if the plugin is still supported. If not, you’re out of luck with future updates or any problems it causes!
Consider Download Count
The wisdom of the crowd can be an unreliable metric to rely on, as downloads can be fabricated or inflated rather easily. Alternatively, less downloads could mean it doesn’t work well, or that it’s just newly added, so draw conclusions at your own risk. However, plugins with exceptionally high downloads that meet the criteria of the other metrics are often highly downloaded for a reason. If everything else checks out, give it a try.
Reviews that offer both a critical and positive perspective are often less biased and therefore trustworthy. In most cases, you can trust the reviews on WordPress.org, because it’s a healthy community board, where everybody wants to leave a fair review to let other members know, if plugin is worth checking out or not, and report some feedback to the plugin author as well. It is also moderated by real people thoroughly.
However, you’ll simply need to consider the reviews alongside other metrics for a more comprehensive analysis. Fake reviews are a major problem throughout the eCommerce market, and plugins sometimes face a similar problem. With approximately 84% of people trusting online reviews as much as they do a friend’s advice, paid or fake reviews can seriously distort a plugin’s value.
Analyze Visuals for Quality
In addition to the description, documentation in the form of screenshots or other visual aids can be a solid indicator of the overall product quality. If the plugin is great at what it does, the publisher will likely want to show everyone that it rocks – and there’s no better way to do that than a demonstration.
2. Check for Comprehensive Solutions First
Outside of vetting the plugin itself, choosing the best WooCommerce checkout add-on also requires some searching around. While specific plugins can be incredibly effective at their intended purpose, choosing a plugin for every individual feature you’re looking for can get complicated quickly.
As WordPress allows you to build from the ground up by adding new plugins, there is naturally going to be concern for compatibility between all the pieces. If they don’t fit together, the whole thing can fall apart.
Finding a plugin that offers a suite of features you’re looking for can be a great way to minimize potential headaches down the road as plugins and WordPress itself begin updating. Because it is a single plugin, all features are included and therefore inherently compatible – so less headache for you.
Handsome Checkout is an example of a comprehensive solution. It includes embeddable checkout forms as one of the main features, which some plugins may offer individually. However, Handsome Checkout also includes cart recovery, Order Bumps, replacing default WooCommerce checkout page, and templates that you would have to install manually otherwise (coding skills required). Everything you need is included in one place, making it easier on WordPress, WooCommerce, and yourself.
3. Take Advantage of Free Versions or Trials
While the WordPress marketplace is free, there are paid plugins available all over the web. Paying for a plugin may make you think it is naturally more trustworthy or higher quality, but sometimes you’ll find that another option does it just as well – or better – for less or even free.
Free trials and free versions of paid plugins are a great indicator of the quality of the plugin. These developers are not hiding anything about their product – they are allowing you to get firsthand experience with it. This is the ultimate way to identify if it is worth it or not, and these offers very often mean good things for the quality of the plugin.