I visit the WordPress Plugin Directory a lot during my constant hunt for plugins for our release posts. If you’re a plugin author and you’re not hosting your plugin on the Repository then you’re definitely missing out a lot in getting your plugin out to all WordPress Users, especially now with the Plugin Directory search improved. So, if you’re a plugin author and if you release your plugins as GPL, then do remember to add your plugin.
That being said, if you’re hosting your plugin there, then you will be required to add a readme.txt file in the folder of your plugin.
To begin with, take a look at the standard readme.txt file.
The readme.txt file contains the following sections:
- Plugin Name
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Other sections
In my opinion, the most important of these are the first two sections since these are the first that a potential user sees. Completing all the sections is also useful since these can be searched.
I’m going to focus this post on the Plugin Name section.
=== Plugin Name === Contributors: Ajay, Mark Ghosh Donate link: http://weblogtoolscollection.com/ Tags: comments, spam Requires at least: 2.0.2 Tested up to: 2.1 Stable tag: 4.3 Here is a short description of the plugin. This should be no more than 150 chars. No markup here.
Another important section while adding your plugin is the header section in the plugin file itself. Here’s the section from my plugin Top 10.
/* Plugin Name: Top 10 Version: 1.1 Plugin URI: http://ajaydsouza.com/wordpress/plugins/top-10/ Description: Count visits per post and display the most popular posts based on the number of views. Author: Ajay D'Souza Author URI: http://ajaydsouza.com/ */
And, while this isn’t part of the readme.txt, it also contributes towards the listing of your plugin. These both, in combination, are used to populate the details for each plugin as you can see below.
The Author Homepage and Plugin Homepage are pulled from the plugin file, viz. Author URI and Plugin URI respectively. The version number is also pulled from the plugin file. The Requires WordPress Version, Compatible up to and Donate link are pulled from the readme.txt file.
Hence, populating both the readme.txt file and the plugin file make your plugin complete.
I’ve seen a lot of plugins which either miss out one of the three links above or just point them back to the repository. Some plugins have the same Author Homepage and Plugin Homepage. Needless to say, these aren’t making the most use of all the sections that are given to you.
Are you a plugin author? Are you hosting your plugin on the directory? If so, why not?
Are you ensuring that you are completely using all the sections in your plugin header section and the readme.txt? Do remember to run your readme.txt file through the validator.