HOW TO: 14 Tips to Promote Your Remarkable WordPress Plugin

Wordpress Most Popular Plugins - The target!

Wordpress Most Popular Plugins - The target!

You may have a good idea for a WordPress plugin, and you may have invested a lot of time and energy into developing it. You are so enthusiastic about it and can’t wait to show it to the world. You realize that there are many other WordPress plugins out there. You look around the Web and find very few tips about promoting your plugin! That’s why, we the Thoughtpickers, decided to put all we have learnt as well as a couple of days of research into this (hopefully comprehensive) article.

Thoughtpick’s 14 pieces of advice to promote a new WordPress plugin:

  1. Offer it for free: We realize that you most probably need some income in order to maintain and support your plugin, but people like free stuff. If it is new, then people would want to try it first. Try to offer a free version, and at a later stage, try offering some special features for a small fee. Some developers depend on donations to sustain their plugins, but that is usually not enough, check out other advices for sustaining your plugin financially here.
  2. Easy to install and use: Make sure that your plugin requires only few steps to get installed or people would simply get bored and abandon it all together. Check out how simple is installing Twitter for WordPress plugin – it displays your latest tweets on your blog and only requires one easy step to install.
  3. Give value to all involved entities: This one needs more explanation. The blog owner’s benefit in most plugins is easy to grasp, but what about the users who will use this plugin. CommentLuv is a good example to clarify this point. With CommentLuv, the blog owner gets a better comments section than the default WP comments. But that’s not all, users who leave comments will get a link back to their latest blog post after each comment, which in turn encourages users to leave comments on CommentLuv enabled blogs!
  4. Submit to the official WordPress Plugins Repository and the WordPress Plugin Database at wp-plugins.net: This is one of the most important steps. It is mainly were people go to search for plugins.
  5. Good elevator pitch: Before submitting your plugin to directories, you need to come up with a good elevator pitch. Explain your plugin’s functionality in a short sentence and make sure to make it catchy enough in order to stand out from the crowd. The Get Recent Comments plugin does it right, I like their elevator pitch: “Display the most recent comments or trackbacks with your own formatting in the sidebar“.
  6. Make sure to get good ratings: Plugins are rated over WordPress directory. People would most probably go for the highest rated ones. This is directly linked to the quality of the add-on, so if you want better rating, you need to do a good job with the community, and I’d say, do not be shy to ask for a vote up if a person likes your plugin!
  7. Promote it over WP Forums: Open discussions and be active over WP forums. Declare your new plugins over there and build relations with other developers.
  8. Use the teaser/invitation approach: Wibiya is a new plugin that offers a one-stop solution for integrating and tracking third-party applications such as RSS feeds, Twitter Updates, Facebook Connect, and more. They use the invitation only approach by asking you for your email address in order to review your blog and send you an invitation if it is good enough. It makes the user feel important somehow and thus value the plugin more.

    Recently Updated Plugins

    Recently Updated Plugins on the Dashboard of every blog admin. Continuous updates are vital!

  9. Continuous updates: This is very important, as it shows your plugin under the “recently updated” sections of the official WP plugins page, as well as on the dashboard page of every blog. It helps in keeping your plugin more visible with each update. All in One SEO Pack, one of the most popular plugins, was subjected to over 150 updates since it started in March 2007!
  10. Value of your plugin: Solve a problem, don’t create a useless plugin. Research before you start programming away, if the problem you’re targeting is already solved by another popular plugin, you’re chances of success are less.
  11. Add a viral element: A good demonstration is the TweetMeme plugin (it’s installed here at Thoughtpick). It allows your readers to retweet your blog articles to their followers, which in a way gives the chance not only for your article to go viral but also for the plugin itself as they add “via @tweetmeme” to each tweet.
  12. Good documentation: Provide a clear and detailed description for your plugin. Make sure to provide some screen shots. Add a FAQ section. Log your changes and updates. Provide easy steps for installation. With better documentation, people would perceive your plugin to be of better quality. Check out IntenseDebate Comment plugin’s excellent documentation.
  13. Maintain a blog for the plugin: Utilize a blog to announce your plugin’s latest news, ideas and updates, as well as upcoming features. Keep people informed.
  14. Use Google code (or WordPress.org’s Plugins forum page) to allow developers interested in your plugin to suggest code corrections, additional features, and discuss programming-related issues.

That’s it! We hope that our list of tips/advice help you in a way or another. Let us know if you have anything to add, and feel free to share your own success story (or mistakes) using the comments below…

Comments and Reactions

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Sometimes the web and its services, websites and application could be ultimately confusing… Here is where such great researchers like yourself come in to make it easier for us to find what we are looking for in one place and with the least waste of time and effort :)

    I immensely enjoyed this post especially that I am thinking of moving my blog to Word Press and I do need all the information I can get regarding this transition in general and Word Press in specific, since I'm in the evaluation phase!

    Thank you for the valuable information you have compiled for us.

    Best regards always :)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    I think the idea behind the plugin and the value it brings to the blog owner and users is the most important!

    For instance, the Super Cache plugin, if people didn't want to have a blog that can perform under pressure, no one would've installed it. But the need is obvious. Everyone is trying to get on Digg and Reddit's first pages, and if they succeed, they want their blogs to stay up and running. That's why this plugin is important!

    Beirut, the article doesn't really target blog owners as much as plugin developers, but your comment can become a “top 50 reasons to move to WP” article ;)

  • commentluv

    thanks for giving CommentLuv a mention! I hope to have a Disqus version working in the next couple of months, hopefully it'll do as well on Disqus as it has on WP and JSKIT!

  • kongrit

    Excellent site, useful information .Thanks for this great post – I will be sure to check out your blog more often….

  • http://twitter.com/yyeroc Steven Smith

    Don't you agree this has to do with the fact that mentally you become addicted to something by the fixation to the subject? I've been studying addiction for years and I think its more the obsession with the subject matter than the actual addiction tied to it.

    Steve @ Help Site

  • http://www.afterr.com/databases.html mySql busines databases

    thanks for this article.
    It will really help me with my directory websites
    Sarah

  • http://www.codexwp.com/wordpress-blog-video-tutorials/ Mr.Hyd

    awesome article for plugin programmers, i think the first point which you mentioned is important for new programmers..

  • http://www.beakonapp.com/ Elle Wood

    I'm not sure I would say that all of those would pass as being labeled for promoting a plugin but it's a good list none the less. Some might pass as inner game material for success in this niche.

  • http://www.sonyvaiolaptoprepair.co.uk/ Sony Repairs

    Really useful dude, I'm creating a wordpress plugin at the moment and this is exactly what I'm looking for. Bookmarked.

  • http://%/112332 Derosa

    Skoro eto sluchitsya

  • http://venicehotelsnear.com/ venice Cheap Hotels

    Wow simply awesome!!! it shows that you had done lots of study. I am really very impressed with the post. thanks a lot for sharing this post. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.cleow.com Horror Stories

    Those are some great tips, though a lot of them are easier said than done, if you know what I mean. Although, I have heard from some people that if your plugins are popular enough, then donations can definitely sustain them. Anyway, thanks!

  • http://kb9.org/ Florence

    I like to test and see some plugins from time to time, but if not required, I deactivate them soon. Can I ask you something, I have heard that too many plugins can make our wp blogs slower, is it true? If so, how many plugins, in your opinion, we can comfortably use in wordpress blogs?

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    Hi Florence. Deactivating unnecessary plugins is the wise thing to do. Too many plugins can indeed make your WP blog slower. The answer to your question “how many plugins?” is not a number, though. For example, I use a plugin called ‘Gzippy’ to enable gzip on the HTML responses WP sends the client (in turn lowering the download size+time). This code is exactly 4 lines. Can’t be more efficient really!Google Friend Connect plugin, on the other hand, was a nightmare – we just removed it this week. GFC uses a couple of JS libraries with a total size of about 400KB, then adds the thumbs of the users, another 10 connections to Google’s servers! Now this plugin was horrible for the client side experience, but wouldn’t cause your Admin panel to become any slower.So, it really depends on what the plugins do, and how well written they are. If you need any help, shoot us another comment with a more specific question :)Hope this was helpful!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    Hi Florence. Deactivating unnecessary plugins is the wise thing to do.

    Too many plugins can indeed make your WP blog slower. The answer to your question “how many plugins?” is not a number, though. For example, I use a plugin called 'Gzippy' to enable gzip on the HTML responses WP sends the client (in turn lowering the download size+time). This code is exactly 4 lines. Can't be more efficient really!

    Google Friend Connect plugin, on the other hand, was a nightmare – we just removed it this week. GFC uses a couple of JS libraries with a total size of about 400KB, then adds the thumbs of the users, another 10 connections to Google's servers! Now this plugin was horrible for the client side experience, but wouldn't cause your Admin panel to become any slower.

    So, it really depends on what the plugins do, and how well written they are. If you need any help, shoot us another comment with a more specific question :)

    Hope this was helpful!

  • Wordpress Tricks

    Hi, i'm have same interesting with you and i found your website from google. You give nice info for wordpress plugin and it's really informatif. Can i copy your post into my blog ?

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    Sure thing. Just don't forget to link back. If you have any additional tips related, please post a link too :)

  • http://twitter.com/rikardkjellberg Rikard Kjellberg

    Thanks for this post. I just now used it as a checklist to see if we have done what we can with Facebook Like for Tags, my company's (http://www.ingboo.com/pvm/start) latest contribution to the WordPress community. I must say that wp-plugins.net seems a little stale though. What is up with that site?

  • http://briantalk.com Brian Talk

    These are some great tips, especially the first (offer it for free) as there are so many free plugins around not many people will want to pay. I also like when a blog is maintained for plugins, gives much more info and support.

  • http://how-to-install-wordpress.com Vitaliy Syromyatnikov

    I guess it is not too hard to add a plugin to WordPress plugins directory?!

  • http://how-to-install-wordpress.com Vitaliy Syromyatnikov

    I have some useful WordPress plugins to promote. Thanx for sharing this tips, Fadi!

  • http://twitter.com/DemonBlackk DemonBlack

    Thanks for this explains of plug-ins wordpress ;)

  • Robertpowell

    Thanks for the great tips! I appreciate your effort for sharing this relevant post.

  • http://hosting-in-the-uk.co.uk Alex

    This is top of Google for promoting wordpress plugins. I can see why! Thanks for the info

  • http://zacharykwilliamson.com Zacksbored

    Were you just being silly when you misspelled learned learnt?

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