The WordPress plugin directory has nearly 35k plugins and discovering new ones that have been tested and downloaded a few thousand times is difficult. Users can browse the directory for newest, recently updated, most popular, and highest rated plugins. With the exception of the recently updated category, there’s no way to discover plugins in the middle of the pack. A new plugin discovery tool by ManageWP, attempts to solve the problem.
The front page of ManageWP.org/plugins displays the best new plugins under 100k downloads. The plugins are determined using an algorithm that takes into account plugin quality and acceleration of growth. A plugin’s quality is determined using seven metrics:
- Last Updated
- WordPress Compatibility
- Plugin Popularity
- Author Popularity
- Other plugins from the same author
Using a combination of metrics, ManageWP is able to display a constantly evolving list of rising stars. Placing emphasis on a plugin’s compatibility with WordPress and when it was last updated might motivate plugin authors to keep these fields updated.
If you’re curious to see how plugins compare to each other, check out the plugin comparison section of the site. Simply choose two different plugins and hit the compare button. The comparison displays each plugin’s statistics with a download chart at the bottom. At the moment, you’re limited to comparing only two plugins at the same time, but there are plans to allow for more in the future.
Awards are a quick way to determine how well a plugin is doing in specific categories. For example, WordPress SEO by Team Yoast, has a number of awards for being the most downloaded and highest rated in multiple categories. I think it would be beneficial if this area was extended to highlight more ranks like top ten, top five, and number one.
ManageWP founder, Vladimir Prelovac, says he’s not finished with the site. In the announcement, he shares a couple of ideas on what he’d like to see in the next iteration.
- Simpler plugin comparison, allow multiple plugins compared at once.
- Include WP Vulnerability Database security data to plugin details page and Plugin Quality score.
- Allow plugin authors to ‘claim’ their pages. This will allow all sorts of activity like adding the links to their premium support, answering Q&A
- Open everything via an API so everyone can use the engine and its data
The WP Vulnerability Database will be a nice enhancement, especially if you can see how many vulnerability reports a plugin has. Something to keep in mind is that ManageWP/Plugins is utilizing the WordPress.org Plugins API, which limits the types of data it’s able to work with.
A Plugin Directory Without The Plugins
I love the idea behind ManageWP/Plugins because it fills a void created by the plugin directory. It’s essentially a sub-section of the directory without the plugins. When I look for plugins to review, the directory leaves me little choice between one that’s popular or brand new. ManageWP/Plugins gives me an opportunity to discover them before they reach global popularity.