7 Best Practices for WordPress Plugin Development

Best Practices for WordPress Plugin Development

Last updated - May 4, 2022

When WordPress was created in 2003, it was a mere blog-publishing website. Its evolution has been noteworthy since it holds the capacity to support all kinds of web content, like forums, membership sites, and online stores. No wonder there are approximately 455 million WordPress websites presently around the globe! 

Many factors were set to play to reach such heights of success, starting with its vast plugin repository. With over 55000 WordPress plugins available, you can alter your website and make it a replica of your business/company. 

However, not all plugins are developed with the utmost expertise. A plugin developed by a sloppy developer can compromise the integrity and security of your website. To avoid such scenarios, you can try a hand at creating your plugin. If coding overwhelms you, you can even hire a team of WordPress plugin developers. 

Regardless, we shall explain the necessary pointers and practices that one must undertake for a successful WordPress Plugin Development. 

We shall also explain the benefits of developing a plugin for your WordPress website in the following article. 

Best Practices for WordPress Plugin Development 

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced WordPress plugin developer, the following practices must be essayed to create the best plugins for your WordPress website. 

1. Create a Game Plan 

Rather than directly jumping toward the plugin development, it is best to take a step back and devise a proper strategy for the same. 

Understand your audience by surveying your potential users. What will the plugin bring to the table? Will it make the website more accessible? Will it make the navigation process easier for your users? Is it worth the additional time spent? 

Unless and until you have the answers to these questions, do not start building the plugin. 

Moreover, it is advisable to search the official WordPress plugin repository to check for any similar plugins. 

If there is, you need not make a plugin from scratch. Instead, you can start focusing on a different plugin. 

2. Follow the Coding Principles of WordPress 

Once you are a WordPress developer, working while keeping the WordPress Coding Standards in mind must come almost habitually.

While writing codes for your WordPress plugin development, keep a stringent eye on the spacing, variable names, indenting, and brief comments. This will make it easier for you to read, edit, and debug your code while keeping all the errors at bay. You can also refer to the WordPress Coding Standards handbook for a good foundation. 

To avoid getting your plugins mixed with other existing ones, it is best to add a unique prefix. Throw in an adjective or two to let your plugin shine amongst hundreds of other options. 

3. Resort to Boilerplate Code 

If you want to avoid writing your code from scratch, you can start with a boilerplate. 

But what is a boilerplate code? 

A boilerplate or boilerplate code is an amalgamation of directories and source code files that can be utilized for project development. These directories organize the source code files and place them in a structured manner. This helps you organize your code without making any errors. 

As far as WordPress plugins are concerned, the source code files hold the placeholder function definitions, code comments, and values. 

Apart from getting better code quality, maintenance, and development, other people can contribute to your code and enhance the plugin’s quality. 

4. Invest in Plugin Security 

As we mentioned earlier, a poorly-developed plugin can risk your WordPress website to a great extent. This is the very reason why WordPress plugin developers invest additional time in maintaining the security of their plugins. 

Familiarize yourself with: 

  • esc_url_raw
  • esc_url
  • esc_attr
  • esc_html
  • wp_filter_kses
  • esc_textarea
  • wp_insert_post
  • $wpdb->insert 
  • $wpdb->update

These will help you sanitize the data as well as prevent SQL injections. Utilize Nonces to protect the plugin from Cross-site request forgery attacks. Moreover, Validation and Sanitization will safeguard your plugin from any data entered by the users. 

Other WordPress plugin security checks include keeping your entire team on the same page. If you are developing a restricted plugin functionality, it is best to assign the roles to the admins. 

If the plugin uses a directory that holds the users’ files, ask them to secure it with a password. It is also best to remove all unwanted and unused plugins. 

5. Utmost Clarity in Folder Structure 

While developing a plugin in WordPress, it is prudent to use a standard folder structure. Not only will this make it easier for you to understand the entire workflow, but it will also make it simpler for your team to stay on the same path. 

Try to keep the same types of files in the same place. For example, images in the /images folder. 

You can use the following sample folder structure as a standardized reference














6. Reach International Audience 

Since your WordPress website will be available worldwide, it is advisable to consider the internationalization of your plugins. This will help you reach your target audience, even beyond the geographical borders of your home country.

You can do this by using a decent English style without any slang. Avoid unusual control characters and markups or useless HTML markup into a translated string. 

Other methods include text domains, domain paths, basic pluralization, etc. You can use the WordPress Internationalization Guide to get a proper idea about the same. 

7. Readme.Txt File is a Must 

Once you are ready with your WordPress plugin, its distribution will require a readme.txt file. 

An inadequate readme.txt file might signify the drawbacks of your plugin code. Moreover, it could signify the WordPress plugin developer’s lack of attention to detail. 

A readme.txt file allows you to show off your plugin’s features. It also makes it easier for users to install and use your plugin without any additional hassle. 

Even as a user, one would be more inclined to download your plugin if it contains proper information about the same. 

In a way, a readme.txt file works for the benefit of all. 

Benefits of WordPress Plugin Development 

No two websites are the same. They differ in terms of functionality, design, structure, industry, etc. 

Now, with millions of websites powered through WordPress, does it have the necessary plugins to support your company’s website? Maybe, maybe not. 

In the latter case, you can resort to WordPress plugin development, and WordPress plugin developers are proficient at that. 

The following reasons will shine some light on it: 

1. Fully Customized Website 

With WordPress plugin development, you need not make any compromises when it comes to plugins for your website. You can create one that suits the style and functionality of your website, as per your vision, expectations, and your users’ needs. 

2. Extra Security

As we mentioned earlier, poorly-built plugins with sloppy codes can make your website susceptible to cyber attacks. However, a customized plugin obtained through WordPress plugin development safeguards the sensitive and confidential information of your website and keeps it safe from hackers. 

3. Enhanced Speed and Performance 

A tailor-made plugin not only speeds up your website but also improves its performance level. 

With a customized plugin, you can reduce the site loading time, thereby preventing you from losing out on potential leads. Moreover, the additional functionalities that come with a customized plugin help improve your website’s overall performance. 

4. Convenience 

Rather than launching a complex website, you can integrate a few customized plugins to make your WordPress website convenient and easy to use. Without affecting the complexity of the technology, you can keep the interface friendly and easy to navigate with customized plugins. 

Final Note 

Opting for WordPress plugin development is crucial, but is it easy? Well, if you come from a non-technical background or coding is not your cup of tea, it is best to hire WordPress plugin developers to do all the hard work for you. 
Creole Studios has an excellent team of WordPress plugin developers that will build customized plugins for your websites, something that will feel like an extension of the essence of your business. With their several years of experience in the web and mobile app development industry, you are surely going to get a customized website that will generate buzz and revenue for your business!

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