Welcome to Episode 19 of Mastermind.fm! This week our resident masterminds Jean and James will be talking about WordPress.org. Specifically, the challenges and benefits of listing your plugin on WordPress.org, and some alternatives to it. Sit back and listen with us for a while while they parse the pros and cons! Show notes are below, but tune in for the full conversation!
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Publishing Plugins on WordPress.org
You can get great feedback on your work from users. With both a support forum and a review section, you can hear what your target audience feels about your product, and get a sense of where else you can go with it- share with a greater community and see how it gets used! It’s great material for considering premium features and testing the market.
There’s nothing quite like watching your plugin grow. The first notification that your repo is available, committing the first release and seeing your plugin go live – it’s exhilarating. The WordPress community is great, and getting involved in the positive feedback loop of the community can really drive you to do your best.
When you have multiple plugins listed on the repo, it can be very difficult to manage support through the .org support forums. Also, even when you’re just posting something for fun or as a side project, support expectations from users can be very demanding in the forums.
There is no accountability for the rating system in the repo. Users can leave very poor reviews with no substantiation and there is no way to challenge that type of review. The moderators do an outstanding job of moderating and read every single review, but there is not a system in place to deal with unfair or flippant reviews.
3) Search Results
There are known problems with the keyword search functionality in the repo. For example, searching for keywords related to RSS Aggregator or Ninja Forms such as “RSS” or “Forms” does not bring the most relevant results related to either product. This is an issue that is being addressed but still currently impacts the searchability of products. There is also very little rhyme or reason to the ranking of returned search results.
Active install data is very poor for giving you a picture of how many active installs you actually have. The reported intervals are too broad for accurate assessments, and there is no other data such as version number or type of installed sites available. An almost complete lack of measurable statistics in the repo means a 3rd party system is necessary for actionable data.
Alternatives to WordPress.org Repo
1) For a paid product, Code Canyon is an excellent option. Pippin Williamson’s first products, for example, were released through CodeCanyon. They have a huge audience and it is a great place to test your market.
2) Another product’s marketplace. For example, Easy Digital Downloads and Ninja Forms both offer marketplaces for premium add-ons to their products. With this option you don’t have to worry about coming up with your own ecommerce solution.
3) Managewp.org/plugins – same type of setup as the .org repo, but displayed in a visual manner with better search parameters. Also features new and trending plugins.
4) The Periodic Table of WordPress Plugins (plugintable.com) features the top 100 most popular WordPress plugins. This is something that you have to break into over time as opposed to listing yourself on initially, but is fantastic to have around when you get there.