Getting Ideas for Your First WordPress Plugin

Have I convinced you to write your own plugin yet? If not, jump back and read my previous blog post.

Making something from scratch isn’t easy. Especially if it’s something you haven’t done before.

Here’s a hint to get your first plugin idea: build something that you need.

Tip #1: Build a Plugin You Need

You have your own WordPress site so you know all the kinks and compromises you make just to get stuff to work. What if you had a way to make those annoyances go away?

That would be a great first plugin project, actually. It’s simple enough that you should be able to hammer out a solution within a week. But it’s also helpful enough that you’ll be motivated to finish it, especially if the issue keeps bugging you time and again.

Some ideas on what to fix:

  • Move (or remove) a menu from the admin area of your site.
  • Add info you look up often right into your Dashboard
  • Change some default text on your site, like turning “Post Comment” into “Give a Suggestion”.

Tip #2: Build a Plugin Someone Else Needs

I’m pretty sure Tip #1 is enough for most folk but if you’re the helpful sort, then building something for somebody else might be more motivating for you.

Your plugin might be something that fixes a recurring annoyance for users of your site, whether they be your assistants, admins or site visitors. Or it can be something that improves their experience by adding a small feature.

You can also survey some friends who are also WordPress site owners for issues they have with their site. Then, add those ideas to your make-into-a-plugin list.

Of course, you’ll have to talk to these people to get the ideas out of them. Often, people don’t have any clue about what bugs them about something so you really need to dig deep to figure out what the issue is. The good thing is that a friendly chat or talk over coffee should sort things out.

Tip #3: Build a Plugin Everyone Needs

While I think this tip is the one that will help you make a plugin with the greatest impact, it’s also the trickiest one. You don’t want to solve a huge problem right away as your first plugin project.

BUT if you already have a few web development projects under your belt, by all means dive into making something that will help lots of folks. Here’s a few things that I think most WordPress owners worry about:

  • Having to create new content all the time
  • Finding out how to drive traffic to the site
  • Converting visitors into subscribers into customers
  • Making money from existing content on the site
  • Making sure the site “just works”, whether it’s on a phone or laptop, after updating, and after installing new plugins.

When I made my plugin, my first thought was how to solve the content creation problem of WordPress owners. We’re too busy building our businesses to blog (never mind the fact that blogging also builds the business). So I set out to make something that automatically creates new content from existing blog posts.

But apparently, most people don’t just need content but also people reading the content. That’s when I added a way to collect email addresses from people who wanted to grab that new content. Two birds with one stone!

pick WordPress plugin ideas you want built

Pick a Plugin Idea That You REALLY Want Built

With the three tips above, you should have collected enough ideas that you won’t have trouble trimming them down to something you’d really want to work on.

I believe that more than half the work that goes into making something new is ensuring you have enough motivation to finish the work you started.

So make sure your idea is something you really would like to work on and really want to solve. It should also be challenging enough so that you won’t be bored by its simplicity or frustrated by making something too complex.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned, making the plugin super simple is a challenge enough. So try to distill the idea into its very basic form. I have no doubt that it will become complex enough to satisfy you once you start working on it.

The main thing is that you start with just one idea. Then, we can start your first plugin project!

If you need help coming up with a plugin idea, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via the comments below, email me or send me a message.


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Glenn Santos

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