Categories
Development WordPress

How to Get People to Rate Your Plugin in the WordPress Plugin Directory

The WordPress Plugin Directory is the main source where users find plugins. For most plugin authors, it’s the battle arena that can make or break a plugin.

I’ll show in this article how I got almost 200 plugin ratings for my plugin Stackable.

Plugins are trying to vie to be number one in the Plugin Directory and there are a lot of tactics people use to gain some edge.

One of the tactics people use is to carefully craft their plugin information to rank high in the search rankings. However, if you’re number one but your competitors’ 5-star ratings tower over your measly 10 ratings, then it won’t matter.

Needless to say, one of the best ways to get more users to is to get a crapload of plugin ratings.

More Ratings

It’s quite hard to get ratings though.

Users – the one doing the ratings – are quite delicate creatures.

The only time users will rate your plugin a 5-star is when your plugin performs extremely well. Otherwise, they won’t let you know about it..

..Except when they find something a teensy bit wrong, then they rain 1-star ratings on your plugin ✌️

Kidding aside, all I mean is that users will go out of their way to rate your plugin if it’s extremely amazing. But if it’s a little less than this, then they won’t go rate your plugin on their own.

For those cases, you’ll need to push users to rate you.

However, there’s a delicate balance to this.

How Not To Get Ratings

Previously, the go to method of getting ratings is to put an admin notice on the top of the admin screen.

It was advisable to add an admin notice containing a personalized message about rating the plugin 5-stars if you appreciated it.

But that was great 2 years ago..

Now that every plugin is doing it, users now have a blind eye towards the top of the admin and just simply either ignore things on top; or automatically dismiss the notices (which means that it’s not a good idea to put important information up there either).

Some plugins clutter the admin notice area with tons of unimportant things.

When the stars aligned (pun) back in November 2019, things such as Black Friday sale notices started cropping up and caused an uproar.

Some people really turn a blind eye to the admin notice area, I can’t count the number of times I’ve logged into a client site and saw tons of admin notices just sitting there.

Also, don’t even think of incentivizing or compensating users for leaving a plugin review. It’s simply against the rules.

Subtleness is the Key

One of the things I’ve learned with developing Stackable is that in order to get ratings, you’ll have to be subtle about it.

I still added a notice containing a personalized message about rating the plugin 5-stars if you appreciated it.. but not as a admin notice.

Instead, since Stackable has an admin menu entry, I added it as a “notice count”

The inspiration for this was how Yoast adds notice counts on their menu to both prompt you regarding some setting that you need to fill up and also that they have a Paid plan.

Show me the Code

It’s easy to add this to your plugin.

First let’s define a function that would get the number of notifications:

function notification_count() {
    // For sample purposes, we set this to 1. But typically, you should have another
    // area in your plugin that increments this number to display a notification on the menu.
    $num_notifications = 1;

    if ( $num_notifiations ) {
        return sprintf( '<span class="update-plugins count-%s"><span class="plugin-count" aria-hidden="true">%s</span><span class="screen-reader-text">%s</span></span>',
            $num_notifiations,
            $num_notifiations,
            sprintf( _n( '%s notification', '%s notifications', $num_notifiations ), $num_notifiations )
        );
    }

    return '';
}

This function just does one thing, it returns a number of how many notifications that we currently have. It also displays the number with some markup that’s similar to what the WordPress admin uses for notification counts.

Since this is just an example, I’m hard coding my notifications as 1. In real applications, you should either get the notification count probably from your plugin’s saved options, or perhaps from a global variable.

Then, if you’re adding a menu item in the admin, you’re probably using the add_menu_page function. Just append that notification count on your menu title to display it:

add_action( 'admin_menu', function() {
    add_menu_page(
        'Page Title',
        'Menu Title ' . notification_count(),
        'edit_posts', // Capability.
        'my-menu-slug', // Menu slug.
    );
} )

Conclusion

This method is very subtle, it’s like a gentle “please rate us” nudge.

And in my experience it really works. At the time of this writing, Stackable has 10,000 active installs with 197 ratings.

Not too shabby.

By Benjamin Intal

Benjamin is an avid WordPress plugin developer, a full-stack developer, owner and lead developer of Gambit, founder of Stackable Blocks, Page Builder Sandwich, and creator of more than 30 WordPress plugins in CodeCanyon.

Connect with me on Twitter @bfintal

2 replies on “How to Get People to Rate Your Plugin in the WordPress Plugin Directory”

Thanks for your article. This is actually my problem. I’ve launched my plugin on WP.org from about 1 year and received 13 5-star ratings. It took me a lot of time and effort with thousands of emails back and forth. I think I will try your method to see how it works.

Thanks Suzie! Hopefully this works great for you as well. Let me know how it goes with your plugin 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.