Once you have installed a quality compatible cartridge, the main factors behind any perceived 'poor performance' are more to do with external conditions such as operating and storage temperature, environment, regularity of use and media/paper type.
Cartridge Storage and Printer Location
Spare cartridges should be stored at regular room temperature in order to achieve optimum performance and shelf life. Extreme hot or cold temperatures such as conservatories etc are not ideal.
Likewise, printers should be located somewhere not too hot (e.g. next to radiators) or cold and out of dusty environments where possible. Ink cartridges should also not be left opened for a prolonged period of time before installation as they can begin to dry up when left open to the elements. This could also leave the cartridge open to potential contamination from dust.
If you have any reason to keep a cartridge after having removed the cellophane, PULL strip and nozzle cover, make sure you replace the nozzle cover and apply a strip of cellotape over the air hole. Make sure the air hole is facing upwards otherwise ink may leak under the cellotape.
It is important you use a good quality paper to gain the best printing results, regardless of what type of cartridges you opt to use. When printing on matte or glossy photo paper for example, it is also important to make sure you're printing on to the correct side of the paper if it is not double sided. Quite often, ink does not adhere to the reverse side of some photo papers.
To keep your printer in tip-top condition, regular use is also advised. This keeps ink flowing through the print head and lessens the chance of ink drying up inside. Ink is also used as a lubricator, as oil is in a car. Even when not in regular use, it pays to do a nozzle check or test print every so often to help maintain your printers head.
It is also not unusual for printers to require a head clean, especially after replacing ink cartridges. This is a time when cartridges are more likely to contain air bubbles after transit and these sometimes need pushing through the system before optimum print quality is attained.