This post was written as part of the How to Write a WordPress Plugin series.
If you are convinced that you would like to investigate the possibility of creating your own WordPress plugin, it may be hard to think of that idea that will allow you to take the plunge. Fortunately, there are many places to find inspiration regarding developing your own WordPress plugin. Within this post, I will list several ways to get ideas for your very own WordPress plugin.
Listen to your Readers
Your readers are a valuable asset when it comes to getting ideas for plugins. For example, a reader might request an easy way to reply to or edit comments. Since blog readers are the ones who use your blog the most, they have a unique insight in what they want out of your blog. Just the other day, one of my readers asked me to have a way to preview a comment before posting. Luckily there is already a few plugins out there for that, but sometimes your readers will suggest something that has yet to be implemented as a plugin.
Listen to Yourself
“If only WordPress could do…”
If you find that WordPress lacks a feature that you truly want, why not program it yourself in the form of a plugin? Chances are that if you desire the feature added, others will too.
Check out Blogging Resources
Sites such as The Blog Herald and Weblog Tools Collection are great resources for plugin ideas. On Wednesday, The Blog Herald has a column called WordPress Wednesday. Within this column are plugin requests and a “wishlist” for WordPress. Weblog Tools Collection typically has a plugin announcement almost every day, and from there you can get an idea of what kind of plugins people are churning out.
Check out the WordPress Support Forums
The WordPress Support Forums are full of people looking for help on extending their WordPress blog. A particularly useful forum for plugin ideas is the Requests and Feedback forum. Another area is the WordPress ideas page.
Online services such as Flickr, FeedBurner, Google Maps, and others have APIs (Application Program Interfaces) that allow third-party applications the ability to interface with their services. Through these APIs, you start programming your own WordPress solution.
If there is a service that you really like, but you would like to see it included in WordPress, investigate the service’s API and see if it would make a good plugin.
Third Party Applications
There are many third-party applications that people may have installed along with a WordPress blog. Examples of such programs are Mint, Vanilla, and many others. Why not develop a WordPress plugin that integrates these third-party applications into a WordPress blog?
Existing WordPress Plugins
If you find a WordPress plugin you really like and would like to branch out with your own idea, feel free to do so. If you don’t like the implementation of a particular plugin, build your own implementation. There are many plugins out there that essentially do the same thing, but are all slightly different.
Hopefully you now have several resources for you to go out and find ideas for that next WordPress plugin. If you have any further suggestions regarding getting ideas, please share them in the comments.