Recent Posts Shortcode & Widget Plugin Feedback

Hi All,

Newbie here. Recently I released a plugin Recent Posts Shortcode & Widget

It is simple plugin display latest posts in a page or in sidebar by using shortcode [recentposts-sc]

However the plugin doesn’t seems to attract lot of downloads or installs. I wanted feedback on the plugin if there is something I am missing? Whether any important feature which should be included as well?

Or it needs proper promotion about which I am not sure as I want to keep the plugin free and do not intend to go for paid promotions. How can I increase the reach of the plugin better?

Or in short how can I make the plugin better?

Any feedback and response is welcome.


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A few miscellaneous thoughts:

I would consider dropping the “& Widget” part of the name, because this doesn’t appear to be a widget.

Being able to put a shortcode inside a text widget, as illustrated in the below screenshot that I found on your plugin page, doesn’t qualify as a widget.

Side note, I’m guessing code is added to the plugin that enables shortcodes inside text widgets? Because they are not parsed by default.

If so, I would make sure the code you add just parses your [recentposts-sc] shortcode, and not all of them like, if it doesn’t already do that.

The plugin Recent Posts Widget Extended is a good example of a standalone recent posts widget.

You’re instructing users to manually fill out all the shortcode attributes. Your “combination of several parameters” example highlights how overwhelming this can be:

[recentposts-sc numberofposts=”7″ post_type=”post” get_cat_name=”true” category=”lesson” author=”admin” excerpt_more=”true” label=”Read More…” after=”January 5th, 2015″ before=”October 6th, 2015″ include_author=”true” orderby=”name” order=”DSC” excerptlength=30 post_ids=”181,189,194″ offset=”0″ tag=”lesson1,lesson2,lesson” meta_key=”size” meta_value=”small, medium”]

This could be user-friendlier with a shortcode builder UI within the post editor.

I can’t find a good example of a tutorial, but something like this should get you started. That’ll at least get the button in TinyMCE, but I’m thinking a UI similar to Recent Posts Widget Extended, that just builds out the shortcode with attributes.

The plugin banner, along with the default styles, don’t look professional. I’d consider hiring a designer to first make new default styles for the plugin, and then updating the plugin banner to include the updated default styles.

There should be a filter to turn off default CSS, if there isn’t already, so developers can programmatically turn it off without needing to disable it in the admin.

Speaking of filters, it looks like in one of the reviews, someone complained about not being able to adjust the markup with filters. This should be another developer feature.

You can make the markup super flexible, but someone will come along and find that it’s not flexible enough.

Promotion is a tricky subject. You could try reaching out to WordPress news sites to see if they’d cover it, but I would probably wait until it’s a bit more user-friendly before doing that. Lots of past discussions about that here. Try starting with this one: Tips for promoting a free WordPress plugin

I don’t recall Recent Posts Widget Extended having any promotion, however. I think it’s possible to have a plugin naturally grow with no other promotion outside of, but that’s easier said than done.

Best of luck!

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Also, if you’re going to change the name, you might want to consider throwing something like “Advanced” or “Enhanced” in it too, because this isn’t just a vanilla recent posts shortcode, like the core WordPress recent posts widget, there are a lot of ways to use it.

I think there is already plenty available in terms of Recent Posts. What makes your plugin stand out?

Perhaps see it as a nice learning moment to code up your first plugin, but I wouldn’t release it as such. Leland above gives great tips on how to improve it further.

Hi leland and pietbos, thank you for your feedback and suggestions.
Yes the banner needs to be updated. Specially with new wordpress full width directory it doesn’t look good.

A shortcode builder UI is definitely good idea and I have that in mind. Probably will start testing from the basics and will release that version in few weeks.
Thank you so much for your time and suggestions leland :slight_smile:

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Thank you. Will keep this in mind regarding adding Advanced/Extended in the name.