It goes without saying that one of the best (and worst) things about WordPress is the 20,000-some-odd plugins that are available. It would seem that there’s literally a plugin for everything, and if there’s not, then one can be or inevitably will be created.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that because a plugin is available that it will fulfill its intended purpose or will do it well.
Talking about plugins and whether or not they’re well-built or if they should be vetted against some type of set of rules are hot topics right now so I’ve no desire to rehash those topics here. Instead, I think there needs to be a shift in thinking by developers who are building WordPress plugins for a living or consider themselves to be professional WordPress developers.
Rather than looking to churn out as many plugins as possible that do as many things as possible, what if we were to begin thinking about WordPress plugins as products?
That is, what if we were to think holistically about what goes into a plugin rather than just source code?
It’s a Gold Rush
Before talking about what makes for a quality WordPress product (or what that even means), I want to mention something about the proverbial Bottom Line.
Right now, the WordPress community is thriving. It’s as busy as it’s ever been with new websites, plugins, marketplaces, hosting services, and theme shops cropping up almost weekly.
I can’t help but feel as if it’s believe that it’s turning into a WordPress gold rush where people care more about cashing in than they do about actually building quality products for bloggers and digital publishers.
If you find yourself in that camp, I know that this will fall in deaf ears, but I’d ask you to leave. You’re doing more harm than good and you’re part of the problem of poorly constructed plugins and themes finding their way into the ecosystem.
WordPress Plugins as Products
I debated writing this post in covering both themes and plugins, and though I’m not unfamiliar with the theme space, I personally gravitate more towards plugins. At least, for now. And since I’ve good a bit to share, I thought I’d split my thoughts into a series of posts.
So with that said, what do I even mean by thinking holistically about WordPress plugins as products?
To me, WordPress Plugins are more than just the source code and what they do: They consist of the quality of the code, the landing page, the support, the user’s experience with installing and configuring the plugin, and the available documentation.
To summarize in a single sentence:
Thinking holistically about WordPress Plugins is about the top-to-bottom, end-to-end experience that goes into building and that will go into using the product.
Truly building a product versus a plugin goes much deeper than this.
So in the next two articles, I’ll share my thoughts on The Developer’s Experience and The User’s Experience and why both matter in building a quality plugin.