Despite the widespread belief that can be distilled from rude comments & reviews on the wp.org plugin repo, maintaining a free plugin is not free. It doesn’t matter whether you charge for a plugin or not, hours still go into it! Due to an overwhelming amount of abandoned plugins in the repository, I decided to clarify a simple premise – how do free plugins get financed and why the lack of money is the number one cause of abandoned plugins.
Getting users to do anything is hard. Be it filling out a form or just performing a few clicks. Even if that action is for the users’ own good, they won’t do it. Same applies for getting users to install a required plugin, or even worse, replacing an active plugin with a new one. Thankfully, with a bit of code, we can download, install, activate, deactivate and even delete WordPress plugins. This automated process, can drastically improve user experience and increase conversion rates.
People are visual creatures. They like to see pretty things. I’m not saying this likely or because I enjoy it! It’s a hard, cold fact. Couple it with an ever decreasing attention span and rest assured your application is judged by appearance rather than by features or quality. If you’re a developer that can’t afford to pay for a custom GUI design for an app, this is especially devastating. Thankfully there are ways around this problem.
WordPress core ads quite a lot of code in site’s HTML
head section whether you want it or not. That code is far from useless and serves a purpose on most sites. However, if you are a clean-code freak or using WordPress to power a SaaS you’ll want to clean up the HTML. As with most things in WP, it’s just a matter of removing a few actions and filters.
Things break down. It’s a fact of life. Cars, refrigerators, phones, and websites – it’s all the same. However, nobody expects you to change the oil in a vehicle without having physical access to it. But some customers do expect you to debug and fix their websites without giving you complete admin access including FTP details. Crazy? It is! But it’s also not an uncommon scenario. Fortunately, there are ways to support such customers, if you decide to do so.
Adjusting a plugin, to user’s needs is one of the main agendas every plugin owner has to follow. For a front-page slider that means more visual options. However, if you’re catering to developers, admins, and other power-users sooner or later, they’ll want CLI support. They’ll want to ditch the mouse and work only with the keyboard. Thanks to the WP-CLI project adding CLI support to your plugin is a piece of cake.
In May 2018 we acquired two plugins hosted in the WordPress repository – wp-reset and reset-wp (which will soon be removed from the repo, so don’t use it). The initial plan was to get only one, but in the end, we got both plugins which created some unique challenges. This is a story of how we merged two plugins, rebranded them and brought new life into them after years of sitting dormant in the repository.