Believe it or not, people who develop WordPress plugins are actual real live people with actual real lives and actual real feelings.
If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
When we release a plugin on the repo we don’t do it out of need or obligation – rather it’s out of passion and a desire to give back to the great community that enables us to earn a respectable living. We do it because we believe that being selfish with our code doesn’t benefit anyone and by making it available for the world to use we are adding to the overall value of WordPress as a platform and as a community.
So if all that’s true, how can we show appreciation for developers who have spent hours of their time writing code from which they will never directly profit? Well the plugin repo provides a few very easy ways to do this:
1. Write a review
Leaving a review for a plugin is incredibly easy and will only take you a minute of your time. It’s really easy to do and it’s the best way to give more detailed feedback to the plugin developer. Along with a star rating you can leave a review detailing why you rated the plugin how you did and what you think of it all. Plugin reviews are criminally underused, especially now that all star ratings require a review to be written as well.
2. Vote for compatibility
Another surprisingly underused feature is the compatibility voting. On every WordPress plugin you can indicate whether the current version of the plugin works with the current version of WordPress. The has two significant benefits for the plugin – firstly, it displays a friendly green box on the plugin page that states very clearly that the plugin works with the latest version of WordPress and, secondly, when someone searches for a plugin from inside their WordPress dashboard it indicates that the plugin is 100% compatible with their current WordPress version. If only the creator of the plugin has voted for their compatibility then the 100% notice will qualify the ‘working’ status with a tagline saying ‘according to its author’, which makes it seem a lot less valid than otherwise.
3. Donate to the developer
All plugin developers have the option of including a donation link with their plugins that will be added to the plugin page on the repo. While this is the only method shown here that will actually cost you money, it’s a great way to show your appreciation while also supporting the livelihood of the developer. I’ve only ever received a few donations through my plugins (although I no longer have have a donation option on any of them), but every time I do I feel hugely encouraged.
4. Spread the word
The final way of showing your appreciation that I’m going to mention here is pretty basic really and is probably the most natural and organic way of helping to support plugin developers – simply tell others about the plugin. Head to Twitter, Facebook and your other networks and tell others how much you enjoy the plugin. Given that this is something you would probably do anyway it’s pretty easy to be more intentional about doing it.
So what are you waiting for – go through your plugin list today and show the developers what their work means to you.