Interview: Mike Little Talks to Us About the Challenges of Launching a New Plugin and the WordPress community

Mike Little

If you are a WordPress enthusiast, whether you are are just a casual blogger or a top WordPress professional, you most likely know of or have heard of Mike Little.

One of the two co-founders of WordPress, long-term software developer, currently running zed1.com his WordPress specialist company that provides web development, training, and consultancy services.

And we were lucky enough to interview him! If you’ve launched a new plugin but you don’t know how to make it stand out from the crowd and you’re wondering if the WordPress community can help your plugin gain credibility, we’ve got you covered! Check out Mike’s amazing advice!

Right now, while I’m writing this sentence, a huge number of plugins is already submitted in the WordPress directory. If you would launch your own plugin now, what would you do to make it stand out from so many other new products?

Ideally, a new plugin should do something brand new or that hasn’t been done much before. So that might be an original idea, not yet covered by any WP plugins, or it could be connecting your WordPress site to a brand new service or social network.

And what if your competition is very stable and known in the community although your product is also very good? What would you do?

You need to look at all aspects to figure out why yours is better, or suites a certain type of user. Does it do what it does faster than the competition? Is it easier to set up? Or if it is a complex thing, do you give better support or have a series of helpful videos?

Does the WordPress community have a role in spreading the word about your plugin?

That seems to happen reasonably well, whether through Facebook or LinkedIn groups, meetups, or blogs, people seem to find out about plugins. The personal recommendations can be powerful, but personally I am wary, as many people stick with the first one that works for them, even though the next one they might try could be lots better.

One way to get your plugin known is to politely ask of anyone would like to test it. Be nice if no-one wants to, and expect they may respond in the same forum, good or bad.

What are the criteria / requirements for the community to accept and use your plugin?

It needs to be something people want, it needs to work correctly, and be easy as possible to set up. It  also should not interfere with other plugins r themes, and not break every time there is an update. The last two points are about code quality as much as anything.

Becoming a member of the community will make your plugin more trusted?

Only assuming you are also a trusted member of the community. Have you already proven yourself knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly?

What are the main responsibilities that someone can have as being part of the community and how can one evolve?

Firstly, be nice, friendly, and inclusive. If you are knowledgeable or technical, understand that many people are not and be patient with them. Don’t take offence: a lot of the communication is conducted online where it is difficult to understand someone’s intention or nuances of their writing, especially if English is not their first language.

In terms of evolving, always be learning. If you learn how to do something new, look to see if someone is asking how to do that same thing: now you can help someone else!

Take part in your local meetup if you have one and always go with the intention of achieving three things: help at least one person with something; try to learn at least one new thing; and try to pass that one thing on to someone else in the next month.

How can someone who doesn’t know how to code can contribute to the WordPress community?

Helping out on the support forums, or Facebook and LinkedIn groups. A lot of support requests are about how to do things that are not technical like creating a menu, managing widgets, etc., or how to get a plugin or something configured.

Helping with testing new releases whist still in beta is always appreciated. Updating or adding to the online documentation. Or organizing or taking part in a local community event. e.g. a monthly meetup or WordCamp.

Thanks a lot Mike!
You can find Mike on mikelittle.org , Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.

Originally written by Claudia Borceanu

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