Simple WordPress Plugins – Just the simplicity you need

Approaching WordPress With Simplicity - Optimizing WordPress

 What are the problems that WordPress users face most these days? Well, I know there is no simple answer. After working with different web technologies (a considerable part of it with WordPress), I feel like to describe it with one word, “Simplicity!”. Let me explain why I think this way, and perhaps you can share your views as well. 🙂

Warning! Before you go further, I need you to pause for a while and think. I will address the issues we are facing currently with WordPress development. It is crucial to understand the problem first to solve the problem. So, We will try to address the issues here, and it will get complicated. As the title says, I am trying to approach simplicity, but to get there, I need to go through the complicated part. So, if you want to solve the problem with me, let’s carry on. Otherwise, Let’s stop here and pretend the problem doesn’t exist 🙂

As you are still reading, I think you want to solve problems just like myself, the issues we are currently facing in WordPress sites. So let’s move on.

Let’s Define a Use Case First

Let’s consider an example, a travel blog. So, given that the user doesn’t have much technical expertise, he/she most likely look for an attractive theme that is available in different marketplaces. At this point, the user might not have enough data, pictures, information to post. However, over time, the blog/site will have enough content, and database size will increase very fast. This is depending on the user, of course, but let’s assume that it is a very active blog. 

Over Engineered Themes

The first thing WordPress users have to choose is the “right theme.” 

Now, as we have defined our use case, the question comes naturally, how the site will perform with a big database. Or, some other thoughts may arise, How easy and user-friendly to publish articles or reviews. Well, unfortunately, most of the themes come with some kind of page builder, mostly based on Visual Composer. I am not saying Visual Composer is not good. It has its pros and cons in different use cases. But, important things we should consider how simply we can publish content. How the blog/site will perform when it has a considerable amount of content. And most importantly, what will happen if you decide someday just get rid of visual composer and use something else. 

I suppose you can assume already where I am going with it. Yes, I am writing about the dependency chain we are creating to achieve our objective, which is not the proper way end of the day, in my opinion.

So, what’s the solution? There are a lot of different opinions. I just want to share my view here.

The first thing I had learned when I was a student of software engineering was the “K.I.S.S” principle. If I quote directly from Wikipedia, “KISS, an acronym for “keep it simple, stupid” or “keep it stupid simple.” and I think this should be the answer. WordPress themes are not so simple anymore. While providing more and more features, they become more complicated in the end. Then, there is another question about “general purpose” themes. These themes might be a quick option to develop a prototype. But in reality, each website is different, and you don’t need the extra features that come with a general-purpose theme. These additional features (which you don’t need) create extra load to your site and make things complicated. Let’s keep this point in our minds and move forward.

Small Need, Big execution 

Yes, I am writing about plugins now. There are a lot of plugins currently at WordPress repository, 55,079, to be exact when I am writing this post.

I wrote another post, WordPress – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly about 2.5 years ago. The number of plugins at the WordPress repository was 49,627. So, In 2.5 years, we have 5,452 new plugins. That’s 6 plugins per day! I wonder how many of those are well maintained, minimalistic, and deliver just the right set of features for you. I am sure there are a lot. But it can be better, in my opinion. For a typical blog/site, you need a lot of small but essential features that are frequently used. Those features don’t always come with the theme. Say, for example, having a different menu for logged-in users, and for logged-out users. Or, redirecting users to a particular page after they log in. You just install a plugin to get those features in such cases. And it is totally okay. Except when the plugin you are using doesn’t ensure those meaningful standards – 

  • Plugins should be written in WordPress coding standards.
  • Plugins should not load assets where the feature is not used.
  • Simple task, minimal resource usage. Plugins should not load and execute any extra scripts that you don’t really need.
  • Understanding your need mostly instead of asking you too many questions (configuration)
  • Have enough space inside to expand/adapt to your custom requirement
  • Well maintained and tested

Now, Think again, how many plugins you can think of that ensures those points? I assume it’s not that much. Well, to be totally honest, I know it because I have some plugins which I can not support anymore. Additional note to mention here, I haven’t covered all the questions in this list. There are more. But let’s keep that as an element of surprise! 😎

So What’s My Point?

Very clear. It’s high time to approach to simplicity. I know WordPress community is going to that path, with the addition of Gutenberg. It is not perfect, but it will. It’s just a matter of time. 

But as we have addressed the problems already, we need a solution. A solution to keep WordPress development simple and easy for end-user.

It’s not about Gutenberg, or the themes or plugins (or probably it is). It’s all about keeping it simple. The right mindset. 

So what am I thinking of solving the issue? Coming to that point next…

The Solution!

I have been working with WordPress and BuddyPress for the last 10 years, and I have seen its transformation. With time, it has much more capability also much more exciting things inside. With this excitement, we haven’t really fixed the underlying problems, but yeah, for sure, we are trying. I just want to join this effort and contribute. So, I took my time (8 years to be exact) to form the right team to work on it. The name of this team is Virtue5

So what we are doing exactly to make WordPress simple?

As I have the right people, now I need the right platform. Well, Virtue5 is launching soon “Simple WordPress Plugins” with some essential but straightforward plugins initially. The whole idea of the platform is “Simplicity.” We will release WordPress resources every week. Of course, we will keep it simple and maintain/update those resources regularly. After all, We love WordPress, and we know “Code is poetry.” 

Well, when we talk about performance, a lot of issues come from which hosting platform you are using. In most cases, we see using shared hosting, which is a great economical solution, of course. Until you have to come to a point where performance is really a matter. Optimizing WordPress platform is a whole long topic, so I am not going too deep in this article. Instead, I will just share my blog’s performance score, which I optimized while writing this post.

WordPress Optimization - Google PageSpeed Performance Insight
WordPress Optimization – Google PageSpeed Performance Insight

So, as the first step, we, Virtue5, is collaborating closely with managed WordPress hosting provider, Flywheel, which is one of the largest managed WordPress hosting providers, other than WPengine. I have already had a couple of meetings with them about how we can solve performance issues and other technical stuff. 

At the next steps, We are developing a protocol that will be public soon to make WordPress simple. We will actively work on developing plugins and themes as well based on the protocol.

Subscribe to my blog to get updates about these to make sure you will not miss the update, and let’s make it happen. Cheers! 🍻