Use my free template to help guide you through writing a solid WordPress plugin review.
There are many advantages to writing a WordPress plugin review. It can be a great way to contribute and promote the WordPress community by sharing great tools and showcasing how plugins work. A plugin review can also be an avenue for providing constructive feedback to the developer so they can build upon their product.
Regardless, reviews are probably one of the easiest things to write about for anyone who has been a part of the WordPress community for sometime. Additionally, plugin reviews are great content for keeping your blog up-to-date while also providing the opportunity to reach new readers.
I would almost be willing to bet there is at least one WordPress plugin that you have used over the years and can write a thoughtful blog post about why you like it and how you would improve it. Now, before you stop reading this post and go write a great review, let’s talk about what goes into crafting a great WordPress plugin reviews.
Questions to ask yourself before you write a review.
One of the most important aspects to writing any type of web content is to decided who your audience is and what your post’s purpose might be.
Who should read this WordPress plugin review?
If you decide your plugin review is for a newcomer to WordPress, then you might want to explain in layman’s terms the very basics of getting started. If the post is geared for advanced, niche developers then you can get a bit more technical but always assume you are writing for someone that knows nothing about your subject matter.
What’s the value of this review?
If your review is simply echoing the plugin’s description, then it might not be worth the time to even publish it. Try to think of new ways to approach the plugin and how you can lend advice on how to deploy it properly. For example, if you have used a certain configuration as you think it works best for the plugin, then provide details on why. Most importantly, your review something that people actually want to read.
Tell a story.
Since reviews are often recollections of your personal experiences with a given product, start crafting your review as if you were telling a story. Storytelling is something that everyone can do and it provides an easy way to compile your thoughts. The key is to be concise as possible but also put your readers in your world so they can help build context.
Ask the plugin developer for feedback and see if they have anything to add.
Most people in the WordPress community are open to feedback and they might even be willing to share some upcoming features. Contact the developer in advance and ask them if they care to participate in the review process. Ask a few questions and seek approval to publish the answers with your review. This will generate unique content that is not found elsewhere on the web.
When criticism is ok.
If you’re writing a review that is only intended for the actual plugin developer, then think about your real purpose and maybe contact them privately to get the scoop.
Remember, you are reviewing a work of “art”. There are ways to provide thoughtful constructive criticism when someone is completely off track but keep in mind that most developers put their own blood, sweat and tears into building something for free. Being nice will often bode better in the long-run than being a jerk.
Writing Reviews vs Being a Critic
There is a difference between writing reviews and being a critic. A critic is someone who is typically a master of the craft where a reviewer is often just a reporter. If you are personally not a plugin developer, then it’s maybe not appropriate to bash someone who is. In the words of William Zinsser, author of the book “On Writing Well”,
“Criticism is a serious intellectual act…Therefore if you want to be a critic, steep yourself in the literature of the medium you hope to make your specialty.”
Reviews are often more than just words.
Screenshots and video screeners are great ways to showcase the plugin in action. They also help break up long sections of text and make your plugin review more digestible. Visual content can help make or break a great plugin review and they are not hard to do. Use a screenshot app like Awesome Screenshot or Evernote and annotate the screenshots when possible. For screen recording on the Mac, I recommend IShowU.
Writing a plugin review can be fun and way to build blog content and help promote the WordPress community. There are ample plugins in the WordPress repository to test out and share. Use plugins reviews to sharpen in on your writing and blogging skills while sharing your WordPress passion with the world.
Use my Google spreadsheet on Questions to ask yourself when writing a WordPress plugin reviews.