On January 28th of this year I made available my first WordPress plugin – Simple AdSense Insert. I now have 6 in my portfolio, with another 2 about to be published. And in this short amount of time I’ve already learnt a few things.
- Users don’t talk to you much, unless something isn’t working. Not that it’s a bad thing – I’ve been able to tweak instructions and even create new versions of my plugins thanks to this kind of response. However, I’d love to hear about what people would like to see in the way of improvements or even new plugins!
- Users don’t donate 😉 So I’ll just have to keep trying to make my money from advertising!
- Niche products aren’t so popular. I’ve created plugins for Wakoopa, TheThingsIWant and Readbag, but all have failed to do well. However, those for Twitter, Adsense and PayPal are doing a lot, lot better.
To demonstrate my last point, here is a graphical representation of how many people have downloaded my current plugins…
Pretty conclusive. Having said that, some of those result are scewed because of the length of time the plugins have been made available. So let’s change the results to represent the number of downloads over the days the plugin has been available…
Wow, that makes a huge different to my code embed plugin – the only one of the popular ones that isn’t somehow linked to another product.
In this case it’s popular, well, because it’s not linked to another service and it’s filling a role that doesn’t currently exist. When I wanted to put some code into my posts I couldn’t find a plugin to do it. There was one but the author kept the download to his site i and insisted on your email address (for sending you emails at a later time all about his other great stuff) before letting you know how to download it.
And this is it – populariting comes through one of two things.
- A link to a service – money making or social networking – that’s rather popular
- Being unique and providing a service that people are looking for
Now all I need to do is think of that one plugin that ticks both boxes. Of course, if you have an idea, I’m happy to hear your views!
- if it’s not on the WordPress plugins site it won’t automatically inform you when a new version is available[↩]
One reply on “Writing WordPress plugins – what I’ve learnt”
You know, I still can’t understand what is so great about Twitter! I’m being stubborn and refuse to do anything with it…but judging by your post, it seems to be doing well. Don’t be discouraged about the users not communicating unless its a problem. A great way to fix this problem is to have small prize contests on your site. Its brought a lot of traffic and it has increased the amount of communication I get from my users.