One of the most frustrating things about WordPress and it’s open source nature is that it can set certain expectations. Anybody who has developed a premium plugin, theme or run a service will know the struggle that because WordPress is free, a section of users expect your time and your expertise for no reward. It’s something I don’t agree with, but it can happen.
One such instance is in the free plugin and theme world: there are a lot of plugins and themes that are being supported for free, for hours and hours of development time, with nothing coming back to them. Sure there are wonderful residuals such as leads for work or premium products, but by and large the only indicator of the success of a plugin is the review section – and people generally don’t review WordPress plugins.
Unfortunately, generally people leave bad reviews when they’re unhappy, but rarely comment when they are happy with a plugin or theme. This does suck, but there are ways to push for reviews. The last few months I’ve been trying out a few things to get more WordPress plugin reviews. Here’s what I’ve found successful.
Ask After Giving Support
Probably the best way to get reviews and get positive reviews is asking after giving support. I do aim to give basic support to all free plugin users (although admittedly as it’s a free support it is answered on my own terms, after a few days or so), with the only request is that after I fixed the issue they were having they leave a review. Although people recommend that you further qualify it by asking for a “5 Star Review”, instead I simply link to the review page with a recommendation that they review the plugin.
Most of the time they give a 5 star review, as the user is happy with how things are working. Furthermore, particularly if you channel support to official support forums, the user is already logged into the site, so it is easy and quick for them to leave feedback.
Ask In The Plugin Architecture
This is probably one of the harder ways to get feedback, but can be useful. Generally speaking, I have a plugin class that allows me to ask for reviews (install eBay Feeds for WordPress to see it), but I know this can be better.
Probably the best way I’ve seen is how What The File does it. Basically it asks you for a review after a short while. It’s good because it is a notification that is in your face and not buried within your plugin’s options page, but it’s also doesn’t appear straight away. It appears a few days after activation. As such, it’s more likely to get a response because the user is more likely to be a fan of the plugin, and it puts the idea in their head.
Ask In The Documentation
This is probably the weakest way here to ask for a review, but can get a few good responses. Asking in the documentation can lead to a few good reviews, primarily from curious individuals wanting to find out about plugin’s they have installed. If you are to do this, I would strongly recommend you create a site dedicated to your plugin, as by and large people find your plugins from either the WordPress repository, or Googling it.
Have a look at the plugin documentation for WP Flipclock, for an example of how to get people interested in your plugin, and how to convert browsers to people who will leave reviews. My call to action to leave a review is near the bottom, out of the way. As such, the user gets something and information about what they want, before leaving a review.
Anyway, they are my suggestions for getting reviews. What are yours? Leave them below in the comments!