Developing a WordPress plugin has its own set of advantages but if it is not properly launched and brought to the notice of users, it can be quite a futile attempt. Since WordPress is one of the most widely used content management systems in the world which can be freely downloaded and has its source code open, there are naturally thousands of plugins available on the WordPress Plugins Directory. To compete with these plugins and bring out something innovative can be quite a challenge. Thus when you have developed a WordPress plugin, you also need to know how to launch it successfully.
Here Are Some Best Practices:
- Select an Appropriate Name and Include a Readme.txt File: The name of your plugin should be such that in one go users understand what features maybe included in the plugin. This helps you get better rankings on the Plugins Directory. Additionally, include a readme.txt file as this helps users understand your plugin in easy steps and further facilitates in more downloads.
- Make the Plugin Free: Though you would ultimately want to earn something from your plugin downloads, you have to understand that most people prefer things which come free. So how do you balance your revenue and offer the plugin at no cost? The middle line would be to initially launch a free version and later add a small fee for additional features.
- Submit the Plugin to WordPress Plugins Repository: Since the WordPress Plugins Repository and the WordPress Plugin Database are the two places where users look for new plugins, you have to submit the plugin to these places.
- Try Getting Good Ratings: When people check out the WordPress Plugins Repository for new plugins, they look at the ratings and then decide to download or purchase the plugin. The highest rated plugins see more downloads. Thus you have to continuously try to get better ratings for your plugin. However, there is something you need to be wary of. It has been seen that many times the most popular WordPress plugins do not get expected ratings. This is surprising but true. Thus you are advised to keep your expectations low while at the same time encourage your staff, users and friends to rate your plugin whenever they download it.
- Continuously Update the Plugin: When a user visits the WordPress Plugin Directory and comes across your plugin only to realize that it hasn’t been updated in a long time, he will surely take a detour and select some other plugin. You wouldn’t want that to happen and thus you should make it a point to update your plugin regularly. Tweak the features, add new features – there is so much you can do to improve your plugin.
- Improve Pre-Existing Plugins: Improving on pre-existing plugins is known as piggybacking. Basically you create an extension of a pre-existing plugin which hasn’t been modified for quite some time. WordPress recommends WP plugin developers to work on an existing plugin and improve its features and late thank the original plugin authors in the readme.txt file. It is not plagiarism as you will credit the original author.
- Participate in Forum Discussions for Improving the Plugin: In order to maintain the plugin, you need to know where you are going wrong and how you can improve upon your mistakes. You can do this by participating in forum discussions and take other developers help on code improvements, adding new features etc. Since the WordPress community is free and open to all, it can be the place where you get excellent ideas on improvements.
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