If you want your free WordPress plugin to be a success, you have to engage in a little promotional work.
Whilst WordPress.org is a great resource for plugins (despite the fact that improvements could be made), you are not likely to launch a successful plugin simply by uploading it. There is a whole load of noise out there, with tens of plugins being released every single day. How effectively you present your plugin has a major impact on its popularity.
That is something we discussed in a recent article: How to Increase Your Download Rate on WordPress.org. However, you shouldn’t limit your plugin’s exposure solely to WordPress.org. I believe that any plugin developer who is serious about promoting their plugins should have their own official site.
With that in mind, today I want to demonstrate how you can create an official page for your WordPress plugin with very little time or effort required.
Do the Groundwork
When it comes to creating a great official page for your WordPress plugin, all of the work is done up front. If you have prepared a solid readme.txt file for your plugin’s page on WordPress.org, the majority of the job is already complete.
I cannot stress how important it is to produce a top-notch readme.txt file. We covered a lot of what you need to get right in our article on download rates in WordPress.org, but in addition to the information contained on the main page, you should work on the following:
- Installation instructions – especially important if your plugin has any unusual requirements.
- FAQ – vital if your plugin is anything more than absolutely basic.
- Screenshots – arguably one of the key elements in encouraging downloads of your plugin. The more the merrier.
- Changelog – keep this up to date and descriptive, for your own sake as well as the users’.
Use the Groundwork
Once you are satisfied with your readme.txt file and have uploaded it to WordPress.org, the bulk of the work is done. We are going to reuse all of the information included within that file on your official plugin page.
The next step, rather fittingly, is to download a plugin: Plugin Info. In a nutshell, this plugin allows you to pull all of the information contained within the readme.txt file of any plugin on WordPress.org, and reproduce it on your own site using simple short codes. Just like this:
If you have put together a good readme.txt file, everything you need for your official plugin page will have already been written. And the best thing is, the data pulled via Plugin Info is updated every hour, which means that whenever you upload a fresh readme.txt file, your official page will be automatically updated. Update one, and you update both.
There is nothing in your readme.txt file that cannot be utilized for your official page using Plugin Info – even screenshots can be included. The full list of shortcodes that you can use are listed on the plugin’s official page.
Here’s a quick demo I put together using my plugin, Easy Tweet Embed:
The above screenshots give you a pretty good idea of how easy it is to create an official plugin page with Plugin Info, as well as how much time you can save (both now and in the future) by using it.
As you can see from the above, once you have put together a solid readme.txt, there is only a little bit of work left to do. If you’re a plugin developer, tell us – have you always put effort into your readme.txt file, or is it something you have neglected? Do you believe in promoting your plugins, or do you simply upload them and see how they fare? Let us know in the comments section!
Creative Commons photo courtesy of billaday