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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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“.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…