Optimize Your Own WordPress Plugin Using These Simple Tips
Posted by Manmeet Anand
After creating a cool WordPress plugin, the next thing to do is to tell the world about it and how it is different from 38,500 other plugins present in the plugin directory. Developing a WordPress plugin can be easy and enjoyable but promoting and marketing of that plugin can be a time taking task, and it becomes annoying when you are not getting the results you want.
To get all your queries resolved on the subject- uploading and promotion of WordPress plugin, read through.
WordPress provides a free home for plugin at the WordPress Plugin Directory. Having your plugin there will help you to:
- Keep track of number of downloads
- Get your plugin rated against all the other WordPress plugins
- Give your plugin much of exposure in this centralized repository
- Enhance credibility and authority of your plugin
There are a few rules that you should know before uploading your plugin:
- Your plugin must be GPLv2 Compatible
- The plugin most not do anything illegal, and this will be determined by the review team.
- The plugin must not embed external links on the public site (like a “powered by” link) without explicitly asking the user’s permission.
Steps of Uploading:
- First you have to Sign up
- Within some defined time period, your plugin will be manually reviewed by experts and you may be emailed and asked to provide more information about your plugin.
- After approval, you will have access to a Subversion Repository where you can store your plugin.
- Once you store your plugin in that repository, it will automatically enter into the plugins browser.
How to promote your plugin?
There are some remarkable WordPress plugins in the official plugin directory with very few downloads, fewer votes, low ratings, and support threads. These plugins are very useful and yet they are surprisingly lesser known. The reason is quite obvious; the authors of these plugins were able to write excellent pieces of code poetry, but they were unable to read it aloud to their target audiences. In this section, I will share a few tips with you that you should follow to promote your plugins in an effective manner.
1. Create good readme.txt
The most important step in the promotion is the ‘readme file’ of your plugin. When people look for a plugin in directory, they do not see the code, they see the Readme file, which contains all useful description and details about the plugin. A poorly written ReadMe file clearly shows lack of attention from author’s side and it also discourages users from downloading the plugin. WordPress has its own readme.txt Standards which I recommend to copy and save in the same folder as your plugin. A typical plugin listing contains:
- Plugin Name
- Other Notes
2. Maintain documentation
Documentation is your readme file, Installation Instructions, FAQs, and Troubleshooting instructions, which need to be maintained regularly. When people use your plugin, they might find bugs, or ask you questions regarding your plugin, therefore, you should keep proper documentation about your plugin that can give answers to users’ questions. The documentation should comprise quick fixes, examples, and solutions that will also improve the overall user experience.
3. Create a plugin website
Creating your plugin website is probably the best way to popularize it. If you have a blog site, you can create a blog entry, or make a small two-three page website. You can also make a WordPress Plugins section on your website, where users can easily download your plugins as well as learn more about it and ask you questions regarding the same. This shows users that you care about your plugins and it also gives you a chance to showcase these plugins in your portfolio.
4. Maintain your plugin
Users who download your plugin would like to see that you fix bugs, add new features, and keep up with new releases of WordPress. In some cases, it is not possible to release an update because there are no bugs reported or found and it is working just fine, In that case, you need to let people know that your plugin is still actively maintained by you.
5. Provide support for plugin
It is quite possible that after using your plugin, users expect you to provide answers to their questions and provide help from time to time. One of the best places to provide support for your plugin is WordPress forums, where users are most likely to ask questions about plugins. In addition to this, you can also provide answers to the questions on your own plugin website, Twitter and Facebook pages, and webmaster forums. You can also create a Google Alert for your plugin and get instantly notified if any user writes something about your plugin.
6. Promotion with social sharing
Social media sharing or marketing is the easiest and fast way for promoting your plugin. You should follow the below mentioned steps:
- Tweet it- You can tweet your plugin and don’t forget to add a hashtag or two like #wordpress and #plugins to catch some internal traffic from Twitter. You can also share your plugin on Facebook & Google+.
- StumbleUpon- Submit your plugin on stumbleupon and pick a few interests and do some stumbling, as stumbleupon’s algorithm is not based on understanding content like Google. It is based on understanding people. In other words, as StumbleUpon gets to know you, it will suggest you pages that people like you have liked. So just reverse this process for targeted traffic.
- Design Float- It is a social bookmarking site for the design community that can submit your plugin to the promos section.
7.Email plugin to your subscribers
If you have an email list of subscribes, send out a quick email letting them know about your latest plugin. Your email should contain what your plugin does and where they can download it. In addition to this, you can add a link to your plugin in your email signature. It is a passive way of spreading word about your plugin.
These methods include writing content and including a link to your plugin. The effective content marketing method takes a bit more effort, but will definitely help you to get more links and traffic to your plugin. You can do following things:
- Guest Blogging- You can write a post for another blog in your niche and include a link to your plugin. This helps your plugin’s rank and you will likely get some downloads from interested readers. Furthermore, you can do a list post like Top 7 Navigation Plugins and include your plugin in it.
- Submit a Press Release- Writing and submitting a press release is a very easy thing to do. You can cover the story behind your plugin, some stats about the industry, and quote yourself a few times talking about the plugin. Your PR should be 300-750 words long.
- Video Submission- You can create a tutorial video on plugin usage and include it in your plugin description. This video not only leads to more conversions and reduces support requests, but it also drives traffic.
9. Promotion through Competitive Analysis
In order to do effective promotion, you can do some competitive research and find out where and how other people just like you are promoting their plugins. You can use tools like Open Site Explorer, SEO Spyglass, or Majestic SEO to find out where plugins like yours are getting links from. In addition to this, you can perform following tasks to earn back links:
- You can do Google search to see if any plugin is ranking for targeted keywords. After that you can find their back links and try to copy them.
- You can go to plugins.svn.wordpress.org and search for similarly named plugins. Search their public page and find their back links.
- You can also check out the back link profiles for some of the most popular WordPress plugins, which should serve as good source of inspiration for further link building.
These tips will definitely help in effective promotion of your plugin. You should keep in mind that your plugin is able to expand functionality of WordPress making it more prompt and user friendly, then only people will download it. In order to enhance credibility about your plugin, I recommend you to hire experienced WordPress plugin developers for few plugins. In this way, you will be able to give a professional touch to your plugins and it will also create buzz about your plugin in the market that result more download.