If you’ve ever built a site on WordPress, you’ve probably installed at least a few plugins. Plugins allow you to extend the functionality of WordPress and, with more than 50,000 free plugins available from the WordPress.org plugin repo (and even more premium plugins available through various marketplaces), plugins can help you do almost anything with your site.
But let’s be honest for a moment. There comes a time – perhaps weeks or months after building your site – when you return to your plugins list and start scratching your head. Looking over your list of plugins, you experience the dreaded “Dude, why did I install this plugin?” feeling.
Dude, why did I install this plugin?Almost every WordPress site owner, at some point
Wouldn’t it be nice to have an easy way to maintain notes about each plugin that was installed? I think so, and that’s why I built Plugin Notes Plus.
Plugin Notes Plus is a free plugin available on the WordPress.org repo, and it provides an extra column on the Plugins page that enables you to add, edit, or delete notes about the plugins that you have installed on your site. When you install a new plugin, you can save your future self some headaches by making a note about why the plugin was installed and how or where it’s being used on your site.
The interface is very simple and requires no steps to set up aside from installing the plugin. Below is a short screencast demonstrating how easily and quickly you can add, edit, and delete notes.
So, what types of notes might be useful to keep about your plugins? Here are the types of notes that I’ve found to be the most useful:
- Information about why a plugin was installed and where it’s being used on your site. This might not always be obvious, and it will save you or anybody else working on your site future headaches.
- Anything that might be helpful to know when updating a plugin. This is especially handy if you are aware of conflicts caused by a plugin upgrade. After reverting to a previous version of the plugin that is compatible with your site, you can make a note about which version caused the conflict so that you won’t accidentally update the plugin until the conflict is resolved.
- Links to supporting information about a plugin, including online documentation and any internal resources you’ve written, such as in Evernote.
- Information about licenses, API keys, etc. related to the plugin.
As a WordPress developer who builds and maintains a lot of sites, I built this plugin as a means to “scratch my own itch.” It’s especially useful when working with a team since you might be helping to maintain a site where you didn’t install the plugins. But even on simple sites that I built myself, I find myself reaching for Plugin Notes Plus when I anticipate that I may forget why I installed a certain plugin. I hope you find it useful as well!