Do’s and Don’ts for WordPress Plugin Developers

The easiest way to empower a WordPress website is to add suitable plugins. For instance, an online store can seamless the payment system with a suitable payment plugin; checkout is simple and quick if the right kind of plugin is in place.

Plugins empower WordPress development to a great extent, and they are in huge demand. So, if you want to firm your feet into the world of WordPress development, you can try your hand on plugin development.

While you do so, knowing the best practices is a must. When you try to break into this domain, you will find a plethora of articles on how to develop a WordPress plugin. However, we’re not going to cover this topic this time.

We will talk about the Do’s and Don’ts that you should do as a WordPress plugin developer so that you always make a wise move.

Do’s For WordPress Developer

Let’s start with knowing the Do’s what you should do as a WordPress plugin developer.  

Always Plan Your Plugins

We indeed need a wide range of plugins, and you can develop plugins with different capabilities. But just don’t make a random move. 

You have to do proper planning for this plugin development. You have to have clarity on the purpose of a plugin; its direct target audience issues that it’s going to address directly, and other related aspects.

Having these insights is important when it comes to plugin marketing. Of course, selling the plugin is equally important as developing a quality plugin. And these details will help you have better and more effective marketing.

Try to Follow WordPress Coding Standards

To attain quality in plugin development, you must always stick to following the official WordPress coding standards. When you do so, you end up developing codes that are utterly clean, easy to read, and remain consistent throughout the usage. 

Such codes are also useful to develop plugins that are highly compatible with multiple themes and platforms. Adhering to coding standards also leads to the development of secured plugins. 

All in all, these standards help you develop highly compatible and viable plugins with the least possible redo and reworks as the first production will be highly optimized. Interested to know more about ‘how to develop a WordPress plugin’? Read this.

Try to Understand the Importance of Testing

Even though testing is tough and keeps a developer engaged, you shouldn’t ignore it. As a trusted plugin developer, you must understand the importance of testing and make it an integral part of plugin development.

Plugin testing, when adopted with full diligence, can help a developer beyond one’s imagination. For example:

  • It leads to quick bug identification and resolution as testing enables developers to identify bugs in their early stages and fix them before they become a serious concern.
  • It ensures user experience as testing lets you figure out operational issues and fix them before the plugin reaches the end-user.
  • It will help developers to enhance the security of the plugin. As plugin testing continues, developers can spot potential security flaws like data validation issues, SQL injection, and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks.
  • Testing leads to the development of highly compatible plugins. You can test the compatibility with themes, versions, and different environments. This way, it’s easy for developers to develop plugins that can be used with a wide range of WordPress products.

This is just the overview of the endless benefits that careful and extensive testing brings to the table. We can only tell you that learning the art and science of WordPress plugin testing will pay you exceptionally well in the long. 

While we talk about the importance of testing, it would be unfair if we don’t discuss the hassles involved in the process. Developers can’t test plugins on live sites as it can harm the live website in unimaginable ways. 

So, they have to have a separate testing environment, or simply say, a staging site. The benefit of having a staging site is extensive testing without harming the live site. Using the staging site, developers can simply test a plugin as many times as they want and ensure quality development. 

How to test your Plugin in an Online Environment?

If you want to achieve perfection in setting up a staging site for your WordPress site, using InstaWP is the best decision ever. InstaWP allows you to spin your WordPress site in a WordPress sandbox in less than 60 seconds. 

With its pre-made and new templates, you can have a staging site and live demo site ready in the blink of an eye. The best part is that you don’t have any random sites. You will have the aid of WordPress sites that are highly secured so that you can test plugins without any further fears. 

InstaWP offers a wealth of tools and resources so that WordPress plugin developers don’t have to look elsewhere. For clean code generation, you have DB and Code Editor. 

To save your set-up and configuration efforts, you have features like PHP configurations, Multistack configurations, WordPress configurations, and Faker configurations. It’s a highly integrated tool that solves tons of testing and WordPress staging confusions and problems. So, go ahead and grab it today. 

Understand the Significance of Having a Live Plugin Demo Option

As you test, don’t forget to use a live demo site to see how this plugin is behaving in real-time. The live demo site is the replica of your main site and is crucial for detailed plugin testing. 

Curious to know how to develop a live demo site? This post can bring great clarity to you in this regard.

By having the power of live plugin demo, developers can easily: 

  • Improve the user experience of the plugin. With plugin demos, users can test the plugin’s functionality and interface in real time. Developers can determine if it meets their needs and expectations.
  • Have a high conversion rate as a live demo gives end-users the confidence to buy the developed plugin. When they see the demo and are impressed with it, they won’t hesitate to buy it.  
  • Control the support requests as users are well aware of the plugin’s features and understand how it works.
  • Promote transparency in their services as end-users can see the products and their functionalities before investing money. 

To set up a live plugin demo, you can use a tool like InstaWP, which allows you to create temporary WordPress installations quickly. This is what you need to do to use InstaWP for setting up a live demo for the plugin.

Step #1- Install InstaWP

Visit the InstaWP website, have an account ready, and get the plugin on your WordPress site.

Use this link to Singup with InstaWP

Step #2 – Create a new site 

Log in to your InstaWP account, access the dashboard, and click on ‘New’. Give your new site a name and make the necessary changes. When done with changes, click on ‘Create Site’.

Step #3 – Save the site as Shared Template

Once the site is created, save it as an InstaWP Template.

To use the demo site in the future, you should save the newly created site as a Shared template.

Step #4 – Set up the product demo  

As the demo site is ready, you can now set up a demo here. Install the concerned plugin and set up a landing page on the demo site. 

  • Add some demo content. 
  • Provide details on how to use the demo 
  • Update the required fields on Settings > General page of the demo site.  

Checkout how ClickWhale plugin has created a live demo using InstaWP 

Step #5 – Customize your Template’s Settings

Provide the important details for the template for seamlessness. You can do the basic customizations like adding the brand name, logo, and many more to this demo site. 

Customize your Shared Template and Use it for product demos

Provide Ample of Documentation Support 

No matter how effortless your plugin seems, as a developer, you must provide enough documentation support for it. When enough documentation support is offered, end-users hardly have trouble using your plugin. 

They can resolve many issues on their own and will disturb you less. Your documentation should cover installation instructions, usage guidelines, and FAQs.

Deliver Regular Updates

Want to win over the hearts of the end-users? Nothing can beat the utility of constant and timely updates. Keep your plugin up to date with the latest WordPress core and PHP versions, and address any security or compatibility issues promptly.

Use a Plugin to Keep Your Remote Team Connected

Before you shape a ground-breaking plugin, you must use the right kind of plugin to communicate, exchange, and associate properly with the team. 

Yes, you’re not going to develop a plugin alone. Are you?  

And when you’re working with dispersed manpower, having the help of a plugin that can connect the remote team matters the most. So, make a plugin for the remote team wisely. And, to cut down the hunting efforts, just go through this post, where you will find the most laudable and functional remote work plugins.

That’s the end of the that every WordPress plugin developer must stick to or follow to get established as a dependable workforce in this domain. Now, let’s talk about what you should avoid as a WordPress plugin developer.

Don’ts for a WordPress Plugin Developer

Here is a rundown of don’ts that every WordPress plugin developer must stick to.

Don’t Overlook Plugin Compatibility

If you want to grow and expand your reach, never make the mistake of overlooking the overall compatibility of a plugin. Having a plugin that can work with a handful of devices is never going to work. You have to develop a plugin that can work with the maximum possible browsers and devices.

Never try to Overwrite Core Files

You’re not smart if you’re overwriting or modifying the core WordPress files. It’s the dumbest move you can make. Many developers think that modifying the core files allows them to have better functionality. But it messes up things pretty badly. It’s better to use hooks and filters.

Never Underestimate the Power of User Experience

When it comes to developing and engaging the performing plugin, user experience matters greatly. We know that the features and functionalities of a plugin are also accounted for greatly, but a functional plugin with a poor user experience will not survive for long. So give your full attention to improving end-user experience.

Never Forget to Strengthen the Security of Your Plugin

Users have now become highly security conscious, and they are not going to use a tool or plugin that is not safe at all. Even if you offer a plugin for free, end-users are going to check the security aspect of the plugin for sure. So, always sanitize and validate user inputs and follow security best practices. Don’t store sensitive data in an insecure manner.

Never Abandon Your Plugin

If you release a plugin, take full responsibility for providing constant support and updates. Abandoning a plugin can lead to security risks and user frustration.

Final Words

Getting established as a reliable WordPress plugin developer is easy only if you use best practices and know what to do and what not. In this blog, we explained the key do’s and don’ts that this role demands. Go through them, adopt them, and have an unbeatable reputation in the industry.

Learn how to setup product demos with InstaWP >>

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Mahdi Surname
Marketing Head
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