Lessons in Plugin Development

Successes and Failures of a Large Free Plugin

@chris | ChrisWiegman.com | 10up


About Me

  • Working with WordPress since 2008
  • Managed Sites Large and Small
    • Southern Illinois University - Aviation
    • St. Edward's University
    • Springbox
    • iThemes
    • 10up
  • Teacher
  • Pilot
  • a few others...

Better WP Security

(now iThemes Security)

The Numbers

  • Started in 2010
  • < 50,000 downloads in March 2012
  • 1,000,000 downloads in August 2013
  • 2,000,000 downloads in April 2014
  • 4,250,000 downloads when I left the project in February 2015
  • Donation Income
  • $400 in 2011
  • $4,000 in 2012
  • $26,000 in 2013


  • I needed to "scratch an itch."
    • Campus was under heavy attack
    • I didn't want to join in
    • Too many plugins and other tools to trust
  • I wanted a side project
  • I wanted to be a better developer

What I did right

Scratch someone else's itch

Go BIG or go home

Release often

A video is worth 10,000 words...

...but a personal appearance is even better

You know what you're doing

Don't be afraid to say it!

Go global... Ask for translations
Ir mundial ... Pregunte por traducciones
الى العا لمية ... اسأل عن الترجمات
Дэлхийн Go ... орчуулгыг асуу
ไปทั่วโลก ... ขอแปล
Jdi globální ... Zeptejte se na překlady

Don’t forget to ask for donations

and ratings


Be ready to say NO

Know when to ask for help

Areas where I could have improved

Keeping up with support requests

Underestimated the user base

Where's the data?

We don't need no stinkin beta

Unit tests are a waste of time

It's hard to ask for help

New features !== a better product

Why Leave???

  • Time for a new challenge
  • Time for new projects

Thank You

@chris | ChrisWiegman.com | 10up