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 (and still are merging) two plugins, rebranded them and brought new life into them after years of sitting dormant in the repository.
I don't have time! Give me the short story!
There were two plugins: wp-reset, and reset-wp. One a fork of the other. It was confusing and costly to maintain both so wp-reset was chosen as the main and only plugin. reset-wp will be removed from the repository as soon as we transfer users to WP Reset.Download WP Reset from WP repo
wp-reset, reset-wp … I’m confused!
There are numerous situations in the repository where two plugins share the same name and functionality. Why is that so is irrelevant for this story, but it’s obvious that situation is far from ideal and deeply confusing for users.
Our situation is even more confusing since the same owner would have two same plugins. Why would a user choose one over the other? Confusion doesn’t end there. If someone took the time to look at the source code, they’d quickly realize plugins are identical. One is a fork of the other. Labeling the situation as a “scam” wouldn’t be correct, but it would be understandable.
Two is always better than one? Right?
Having two plugins means we get twice as much exposure in the repository, on Google, and in the WP admin plugins search results. We could optimize one plugin for “database reset” keywords and the other one for “file reset.” We tested this. It 100% works and it wasn’t difficult to do.
Despite being an excellent “hack,” it does nothing for the main problem – confusion. It also doesn’t fix the problem of extra work and overhead in maintaining two plugins. Although merging plugins, transferring users over and explaining everything was far from a job we looked forward to, the alternative was even gloomier. We decided to pick one plugin and stick with it!
Which slug to choose? reset-wp or wp-reset?
It took us nearly a month to decide what slug/plugin to keep. Despite all efforts to make a numbers-based decision, the plugins were so similar that numbers weren’t of much help. Both had 40 thousand active installations, and about 20% of users were active (meaning they upgraded to a new version within a month of the release). Downloads were similar too, reviews and support as well. Keyword research, on the other hand, showed that various “WordPress reset” variations had a bit more traffic. The team at WebFactory also preferred “wp-reset,” without any objective reasoning. So we choose wp-reset!
Rebranding? Get over yourselves! You’re not Microsoft!
True, rebranding might be an overstatement. In plain English what we want is to get existing reset-wp users to seamlessly transfer to wp-reset and get all new users who need a reset plugin to use wp-reset. We also want wp-reset to proudly bear the new “WP Reset” name with a new logo, website, and features (check out our roadmap for details). And within a year, we’d like to completely remove reset-wp from the repo.
Is that rebranding? The process does include some rebranding related work, but the core of it is to transfer users. For old reset-wp users, not much will change except the name since the functionality of the plugin and the team maintaining it will stay the same. In that sense, yes, it’s rebranding.
The new logo is done (look up in the left corner), new site as well (you’re on it). We’ve quickly added some new features too like the WP-CLI support. That was all very straightforward. Transfering users is anything but straightforward. There’s no official and effective way of doing it.
So far we put a note on the reset-wp’s repo page telling users it’ll soon close and instructing them to use WP Reset. WP.org doesn’t allow us to measure much so we can’t be sure how effective that method is. If I had to ballpark it, I’d say – it’s not effective at all. Why? Because most installations come from users searching for plugins within their WP admin dashboards. And from there they can’t see our note.
We didn’t expect much from this method. It was just the first step. The bulk of users should switch to WP Reset once we put a notification in the reset-wp plugin. We have to word it carefully. Make it short but with enough details and convince them the new and improved version is better for them. Asking them to deactivate the old plugin and then find, install and activate the new one would be a disaster! Instead, we’ll offer a one-click solution. Our code will do the switch for them; they just need to confirm it. We plan on executing this strategy in the last week of July.
I want to see some numbers!
We don’t have any numbers yet, but we will soon! And we’ll write another post about it. With a bit of luck, WP Reset will have 50 thousand users in early August and 60 thousand by the end of September. The growth won’t be just a result of transferring users. We’re also doing a fair bit of promoting and adding new features.