Search results should show peer products, not totally unrelated ones
Confirming some problems Matt Cromwell has noted about the repository’s search algorithm, Justin describes how he and his brother Spencer Labadie had a plugin there that was “stacked in the search [results]” with unrelated plugins showing much higher active installs. Nothing the Labadies tried changed this outcome, so “After many hours, a few years, and … little to no growth no matter the hours or money” they decided to get out of the repo.
Standardize what works for freemium/premium plugins: Upsells in the back end
At the same time, Justin says “almost every free install was a premium extension sale of some kind,” so they were definitely getting value from the plugin repository and freemium model but on the strength of their own product and sales funnel.
“With our main plugin we have ways we hook people into purchasing our premium extensions,” Justin commented. He says there should be “a standardized way for free plugins to do this.” Why not standardize what works well?
How it could look:
I imagine a hook [where] users installing plugins see extensions offered by the plugins/themes. If we standardize something clean and not overly spammy-looking where devs can hook into that [and] show users what they offer that is premium…. Not a “Premium plugins store” but simply a page or way to display offerings within the repo that users can choose to click see that would take them to place to purchase. There would also be a similar and standardized way of hooking into displaying [upsells] on the [end user’s] WordPress install’s backend.
In other words, some kind of “Here’s what else we offer” page or panel would come up during the installation process on each site.
Make it easy to find everything contributed by each author or company
Currently, it’s not easy or even truly possible to display all the plugins by a single author in the repo. If they are the only author, or if their account is connected to all their plugins in the repo (and many aren’t), it is only possible to see all those plugins together on the authors’ own profile pages under their Contribution History’s “Plugins” tab. Company/owner pages that list all contributors and all company products — including themes — would do the most to help WordPress businesses using the repository.