Papers and Graphs

The WordPress Statistics Experiment

Last year I was spending increasing amounts of time working on WordPress and noticed that I was having a hard time finding good plugins for specific tasks, e.g. adding custom content types. WordPress boasts an impressive number of plugins (over 30,000 free ones), but finding good plugins can be a frustrating experience. WordPress’ own search is lackluster, at best. Frequently you’ll search for something and get results for plugins that happen to match your search term well but have poor ratings or were released just a few months ago. And what you’re really after are popular, well-rated plugins that also match your search term.

So that was one problem. Another was that I was thinking of creating my own WordPress plugin(s) but I had no idea what people were searching for. I wanted to know what plugins were popular and what kinds of plugins were trending — categories of plugins that were up-and-coming. There are tools like App Annie that help with iOS/Android app stats, but I couldn’t find anything for WordPress plugins. So my second objective was to create the tool I needed. A kind of meta-project to help me find my next project.

And with that I created a tool for tracking WordPress plugin rankings and analytics. It’s pretty basic at the moment. Search is just using Google search, and I only have tags for categorization — I want to build out more distinct categories for things and figure out how to auto-classify plugins into categories. But it’s a start, and at the very least it is humming along collecting data for future use.

photo credit: Paper prototyping