WordPress 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.