3 Steps to Get More Plugin Downloads

Making a great plugin is tough.  Sadly, a lot of developers stop their brilliance at their IDE and leave a lot to be desired from their plugin’s name.

It might seem like a minor detail, but optimizing your plugin’s name for search engines (& people!) can get you loads more downloads.

Don’t let a crap name like this hold you back you back:

Don’t worry that’s not a real plugin, we play nice here 🙂

It might not seem that important, but a lame name will make you lose out on downloads.  Your plugin name is like the title of an article you write – it might be the only thing someone sees before they click (or don’t) on your plugin page.

Optimize Your Plugin’s Name in 3 Steps

Components of a great plugin name:

  • Immediate clarity
  • Optimized for search engines
  • Unique

Right away, it should be obvious what your plugin does.  Making your plugin’s name reflect it’s functionality will go a long ways towards clarity and optimizing it for the search engines.

When it comes to SEO, people always come first, but some linguistic acrobatics are going to help you get more traffic and downloads for the same plugin.

Here’s a process you can follow to give each plugin you write a great name, and an inevitably higher number of downloads.

 1. Target “Problem” Keywords

Unless you’re feeling ambitious, forget about targeting any head terms (bare-minimum descriptions) like “membership plugin.”  These aren’t just plugins, they’re seven-figure businesses ranking.

So what do you target then?  A more precise description of your product?

No, not quite.

You want to target the search queries your target market uses when they’re looking for a solution.  These are the people actively looking for your plugin.  They’re much more likely to install it, love it, and give it a great review.  In other words, you’ll create a much more engaged audience for yourself.

Take it from Google, Engagement > Exposure.

2. Find the keywords

Use what you know first.

Do some brainstorming and write down any search queries you think someone would use to find your plugin (you’re going to be adding to this list).  Then, head over to Google and just start searching.  Enter the queries you came up with and see what you find.

Blog comments and forums tend to be especially helpful for this research.  If you see forum results, does the problem ever get solved?  If not, then you might really be onto something.

This process isn’t just useful for naming your plugin, it’s great for finding ideas for new plugins too.

While you’re searching, pay close attention to the “Related Searches” that show up below the results in Google.  Copy and paste these into your list of keywords.

Next, go to Ubersuggest.org to get some more keywords.  Ubersuggest uses Google Suggest to complete your search queries, and since Google Suggest is highly influenced by search volume, you know the results you get here are search queries that people are actually using.

The trick here is to search with the format someone would use if they were looking to solve the problem your plugin solves.

For example:

  • wordpress plugin for

  • wordpress plugin to

  • wordpress plugin that

At this point, you should have a pretty good list of terms.  The next step is to copy your entire list of keywords and paste them into Google’s keyword planner.

 3. Analyze Your Keywords

Google’s keyword tool is not accurate on a per keyword basis because it’s aggregated over 12-month periods, so a keyword that used to get a lot of search volume and doesn’t now might still appear popular.

You can check Google Trends to see the historical search volume changes for a keyword, but you won’t get any exact number here since they’re just rated on a scale of 0-100.

The message here is to put little faith in the accuracy of the numbers.  Google’s keyword tool is more useful for it’s relational data.  In other words, if Keyword A gets 1,300 searches/month and Keyword B gets 300 searches/month, you don’t know the real search volume of either, but you’ve got a safe bet that Keyword A will yield more traffic.

Order your terms by global monthly volume and take any keywords that would make sense to rank for AND get any amount of search traffic and copy them to your final list.

Finally, take that list and copy them into Tagcrowd.  This is going to give you one quick visual for the most important terms to use in your plugin and what to name it.

Take what you find in Tagcrowd and couple it with what you found when initially Googling.  In the example above, there could be some reason why people with “photos” in particular need help and would be a better term to use than “image.”

When you’ve decided what you’re going to name your plugin, search for it’s name in Google.  Make sure that the results and intent of the searchers seem to fit with what you’re plugin does (and of course that it doesn’t already exist in the repository).  Then take a minute to picture yourself as the top result before you get back to work :).

Final Touches

The other terms in your Tagcrowd image should be somewhere in your copy.  You should also do your best to include some of the complete problem phrases found earlier with Ubersuggest.

Knowing how people go nuts with SEO, I’m adding one disclaimer: don’t over-optimize!  Write great copy first, then make some edits to better reflect your keyword research.  You’ll probably hurt the readability a bit (it’s really hard not to), so go over it one more time with users in mind and you’ll end up with something great!

A great name is going to help you significantly, but you can also take some time out of your day to follow this thorough guide on marketing your plugin to get more downloads down the road.

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10 Comments
  1. Thanks for the shout out to Mixergy 🙂

    • Sure thing Arie! I just finished watching the James Altucher interview 🙂

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