What’s harder than coding a WordPress plugin?

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Coding a WordPress plugin is hard

I know that people like to say that everything in WordPress is easy. It's not true. Many things are difficult when it comes to WordPress.

  • Developing a following who read your blog—that's hard.
  • Getting your site to look like the original theme you bought—that's hard.
  • Submitting your first patch and getting “won't fix” as a reply—that's hard.
  • Coding a WordPress plugin in a way that doesn't get tons of negative feedback—that's hard.

So let's be clear, not everything in WordPress is easy.

Thankfully, people like Pippin and Tom write posts that help you write better code than you would on your own. In fact, Tom just announced a new program, Start Here, to help budding WordPress developers. You should seriously check it out.

But there's something harder…

As a twelve-year-old kid, someone stole his bike. Boy did that make him mad. He couldn't wait to find the guy and get his bike back. Of course, he knew that the thief probably would put up a fight.

That's how he ended up in a basement learning to box. And when he wasn't there, he'd be in his backyard having his brother throw rocks at his face (for him to dodge).

At the age of 18, this unknown boxer flew to Rome, in 1960, and won all four of his fights, winning an Olympic Gold Medal.

There's no question Muhammad Ali had skill. But let me ask you this—how many other 1960 gold medalists can you name?

While it's true that skill is a requirement for success, and that developing skill takes time and effort, success is normally a by-product of more than just skill.

And that's what's hard for some plugin developers to grasp… the success of your WordPress plugin requires more than just skillfully written code.

People buy products they know about

The reality of the situation is that all the best code in the world will never be purchased, or command the right price, if there is no demand. And demand builds after recognition and awareness. If no one knows your plugin exists, there won't be a lot of sales.

Sadly, many people hope that placing it on the WordPress repository will do magic for them—causing people to not only download the free versions but also upgrade to pro versions.

When that doesn't work, they'll scratch their heads and wonder what they needed to do—often resulting in a mad rush to add more and more features.

More features will not get you the traction you want. More code isn't the answer because the challenge never had anything to do with your code.

You need marketing help—a strategy and approach to help you think about product marketing in a practical way. And to get past the lies that sales and marketing are bad words. They're disciplines just like writing good code.

What's harder than coding a WordPress plugin?

YoDo younow what's harder? Writing about the code you just wrote. Writing about it in a way that isn't just articulating all the cool technology you used or the integrations that exist. Writing about it in a tone and voice that speak to prospective customers.

Ever tried to write your “about me” page? Horrible, isn't it?

Yeah, that's what's harder than coding a WordPress plugin—selling it. Getting the word out. Being strategic about your marketing and sales.

Few do it well. Most get it wrong.

If you want to watch someone that does it right—keep your eyes on the products all owned by one company:

Each has lead developers who write great code. Each has support teams that help customers. Each has content folks that write great articles. And all of them have a marketing mind behind them that does what's harder than anything else—getting you to hear about and want these plugins.

About Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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