I have now soft-launched two premium WordPress plugins and I'm trying to figure out how to grass-roots promote them so that I can continue developing them and other new plugins.

As I've been researching and taking notes, I realized I might as well compile them here as a guide for myself and share it with all of you. In the future when I've had more success and failure, I'll share what worked and what didn't.

Start at WordPress.org

There's a handy page to get you started called "Plugin Submission and Promotion" -- although I believe it was written with free WordPress hosted plugins in mind.

Here are the suggestions I plan to take from that page:

  • Create a home base for your plugin - i.e. Create either a dedicated website or at least dedicate a page on your website to talk about your plugin. Use the home base to provide clear instructions and provide examples for how to use your plugin. _ Note: Both of my plugins have this. WordPress Dictionary Plugin has its own subdomain, and the Recent Facebook Photos is listed on CodeCanyon.net_
  • Announce your plugin - WordPress suggests several sites to submit your plugin to for getting the word out. The best seem to be:— Posting in the Plugins & Hacks section of the forum at the WordPress codex. — Submit a news item to We Blog Tools Collection and Blogging Pro

Find and submit to relevant blogs.

I'll post some of the general WordPress plugin sites that may be interested in talking about a good new plugin.

  • WP Candy — a very solid WordPress blog that will not likely blog about a subpar plugin. Make sure you're ready before you submit here.
  • WPMU Blog — be sure that you are not submitting a plugin that is similar to one they sell themselves.
  • WordCast — these guys allow you to submit actual content, not just a short pitch on the news that your plugin just went live. Prepare a legitimate post on your plugin without selling it too hard. For instance, if I were to submit my WP Dictionary Plugin, I'd like write up a post about the benefit of including a glossary on your website and include a small pitch for my plugin in it.
  • Justin Tadlock — this is an individual's blog, so don't submit anything that isn't a thorough plugin. Keep it short, informational, and don't expect much.
  • AllTop — requires registration to submit your plugin.

Get found and respected by the community.

These are a few of things I've done previously that have already been helping, but I could stand to focus on them a bit more these days.

  • Get involved and help people in the WordPress community. Start by joining the Support Forumand helping people there.Note: The only way this works for you is if you've filled out your profile with good info about yourself and your projects.
  • Join StackOverflowand help answer WordPress questions. I haven't done this one personally, but I imagine it's another good way to contribute to the community and get your name recognized.Note: Once again, you must have a complete profile. Do not sell your plugin in your answers.
  • Same as above, at WordPress.StackExchange.com

Write blog posts on problems that your plugin solves.

  • If you have that dedicated website for your plugin already, writing a few posts there should be no issue. For example, I may want to write a few different posts on different ways you could use a Dictionary to provide better support for your customers.
  • If you're not dedicating a whole site to your plugin, you might be able to write guest posts elsewhere and get an author link back to your plugin. The more relevant the article is to your plugin, the higher click-through rate you're going to get.

Photo credit: 401K