The SNO Report: All About Plugins

Because your SNO site uses WordPress, you have access to a large library of plugins that you can download, install, and use. On the one hand, these third-party plugins (i.e. the ones SNO did not develop) can provide some great additional site features. On the other hand, they can easily spiral out of control and cause problems with your site’s built-in tools.

If you do decide to go exploring the plugins library, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Avoid unnecessary plugins. Oftentimes, we see schools install plugins for functionalities that are already built into the site. We’ve included a list of some common examples below, but if you’re ever in doubt, feel free to ask us if what you’re trying to accomplish with a plugin is already possible without one.

    • Photo galleries: Instead of a plugin, we’d highly recommend using either the SNO Way or the WordPress method for publishing photo galleries. You can learn about either of those built-in options here.

    • Social media feedsThe best way to incorporate these is via the embed codes provided by the various platforms. Each platform is a bit different, but here are directions for displaying some of the more popular ones: InstagramTwitter (X)FacebookTikTok.

    • WeatherDisplay area weather in your site’s header or footer using the Current Weather element and/or in a widget using the SNO Weather widget.

    • CountdownsSkip the plugin and use the SNO Countdown widget to easily set up a countdown on your site.

  • Do your research. Any WordPress user can build a plugin, and there are a ton of them available. Even if you’re searching for something specific, chances are you’ll still get thousands of results. Before choosing one to install, be sure to look at update history, user ratings, and number of active installs. Generally, plugins that are regularly updated, frequently installed, and highly rated are the best options.

  • Conduct regular audits. Take a look at your site’s plugins every once in a while. If you open your plugins page and feel you have an overwhelming number installed, send us a support request, and we’ll clean it up for you. In case you’re curious, here are the plugins you should have installed on your site.

    • Classic Editor

    • Delete Pending Comments

    • Font Awesome

    • LiteSpeed Cache

    • Really Simple SSL

    • SNO Plugins (SNO Ads, SNO Google Analytics, etc.)

    • WP-Paginate

  • Be prepared to troubleshoot. Because there are so many WordPress plugins, and because they can be created by anyone, SNO cannot guarantee support on any third-party plugins you or your staff decide to install. Be prepared to reach out directly to the plugin developer should any issues arise.