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monsterWordPress is a wonderful platform for both websites and blogs. It offers tremendous functionality in general and even more functionality via plugins. You can do all sorts of neat things with plugins that unless you have technical abilities, you wouldn't normally be able to do.

HOWEVER, just like with medication you take to cure one ailment that has side effects, sometimes WordPress plugins have side effects too. The difference is that they don't come with warning labels and usually these side effects have nothing to do with their intended function.

The worst part is there are no warnings or clues that the issue(s) you are having with your site has anything to do with a plugin. So when something on your site starts acting funky, you go through all sorts of calisthenics and put on your investigator hat to comb through the support threads in the hopes of finding someone else who has experienced the same strange WordPress glitches. My image alt tags were showing up on my post content!

This is what happened to me today – a day that I had limited time anyway because I had to leave the house at 4:30. You would think that as I have been visited by the plugin monster several times before, that it might have occurred to me to consider his presence as a cause for my problem, but alas I didn't.

So I racked my brain, the Internet, my friends "ears" via emails (thanks SO much to Sherryl and Angie), pulled my hair out, threatened my computer that I would throw it out the window and actually raised my voice to my teeny tiny toy poodle because she was whining. NOTHING made sense and nothing was working!

I decided to delete all my alt tags knowing it would have a negative impact on my SEO but my choice was either that or have my web page look crappy. I wasn't a happy camper.

On my way to my friend's house, I had an epiphany or what I like to refer to as one of my "Duh" moments! The WORDPRESS PLUGIN MONSTER was back. Naturally, I was in the car and not at my computer so there was no way I could check out my theory. Normally when one suggests that perhaps a plugin is the cause of bizarre WordPress behavior, they also suggest that you de-activate each plugin one by one which is a real pain - especially if you have tons of plugins. I was fortunate that I actually remembered having added a Facebook Follow plugin late last night. I knew immediately that this plugin was the culprit because my site looked fine right before I added the plugin. I looked to a few of my helpful and wonderful friends I made networking (a plug for networking and probably my next post) for their feedback on my new site. I couldn't understand why they were seeing words written over words near my images when I had just checked the site and it was fine. When I looked back at the site after their responses, sure enough - I saw it too.

It would have saved me a lot of time and frustration had I thought of this prior to spending hours scratching my head and threatening my computer.

If your WordPress site starts acting in totally unpredictable ways, you might have been attacked by the big bad plugin monster. Save yourself time and check your plugins first.

 

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About the Author

Julie Weishaar Provides Internet and Video Marketing Solutions For Business

14 Responses to “The Big Bad Plugin Monster”
Read them below or add one

  1. Keith Davis says:

    Hi Julie
    A timely warning to all bloggers – the plugin monster!
    What does this monster live on? Does it thrive on frustration and wasted time? LOL
    I'm careful which plugins I use.
    I use the tried and tested ones plus a few security plugins.
    I'll keep my eyes open for that naughty monster.

    • Hi Keith. If you are looking for the plug-in monster, he has a room at my house. I would be happy to share! He pays me visits even when my eyes are closed! And yes, his diet consists solely of frustration and wasted time – it gives him a natural high! :)

  2. You're so right about making personal connections, Julie. I actually wrote about doing some services for free once in awhile, out of kindness, in a previous blog post, but you reminded me that sometimes we really just have to wear our emotions on our sleeves even when we're communicating on the web. I received a call from a woman I met at a mixer two weeks ago. She was inquiring about my design services and I asked her why she called me out of the 4 designers that were present that night.
    Surprisingly she said it was because of how I spoke about my wife that night. That's it. That's what set me apart. If we set our goals on being all-business all the time we may be missing out on making some friendships. Thanks for your comment on my post. Take the time to read my response to it. I hope it helps you. Great post.

  3. Julie, you're right about making personal connections. I actually wrote about doing some services for free once in awhile, out of kindness, in a previous blog post, but you reminded me that sometimes we really just have to wear our emotions on our sleeves even when we're communicating on the web. I received a call from a woman I met at a mixer two weeks ago. She was inquiring about my design services and I asked her why she called me out of the 4 designers that were present that night. Surprisingly she said it was because of how I spoke about my wife that night. That's it. That's what set me apart. If we set our goals on being all-business all the time we may be missing out on making some friendships. Thanks for your comment on my post. Take the time to read my response to it. I hope it helps.
    Dennis Salvatier recently posted..Brandingwhat is it good for 4 things your business needsMy Profile

    • Thanks Dennis for your comment. I would agree with that woman you met at the mixer. We women like to hear husbands who speak kindly and lovingly about their wives. We have to remember that even in our business dealings, we are dealing with human beings and that little connection on a personal level, really does pay off.

      OK, I read your response so you can expect a call or email from me :).

  4. Julie,
    Thanks for the warning!  I have not experienced any real issues like yours yet so it's good to know that plug-ins could cause issues with one's blog.  Thanks again.
    Chris

  5. So, Angie was getting the same emails that I was getting that day? (Hi Angie!) I see she likes to backup often too. As a rule of thumb, I backup before I install or update plugins. There's always the chance of an update causing complete chaos too.
    Julie, remember my post on documentation? I talked about tracking everything in an Excel spreadsheet. What happened to you is exactly one of the reasons I document everything. If I had to leave remembering which plugin I installed last to my memory, I'd be in serious trouble.
    Sherryl Perry recently posted..Will Documenting Something Now Save You Time LaterMy Profile

    • Yes Sherryl, you and Angie were there for me. Thank you both :). Angie was concerned for the safety of my computer because I keep threatening to throw it out the window!

      I will DEFINITELY be backing up BEFORE installing ANY new plugins from this day forward. Yes, I remember your excel spreadsheet documentation tip – you are one really organized lady :)

  6. Michael Cohn says:

    When you choose plugins, check the plugin history, update date, and notes.
    Do not install orphan plugins.

  7. Angie Perez says:

    Your post above remains me to backup my word press site before making any significant changes including adding plugins that CLASH. That’s the complaint many would be web masters have when using wordpress. Fact is we are not web masters. Many people certainly understand some of the basics of wordpress but it’s the community around it that makes these moments worth while. I’ve been visited by the wordpress plugin monster many of times. Common side effects of one to many plugins in a slow website.
    Angie Perez recently posted..How Inception the Movie Relates To Real Estate SalesMy Profile

    • Good idea Angie – backing up mine now too! Slow website to me is not the monster himself – it is his cousin and given some of the strange behaviors my sites have encountered, he would be a welcome guest LOL.

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