Staying on Top of WordPress.org Theme and Plugin Support Requests

No one should ever sell a WordPress theme or plugin before releasing one for free to a WordPress.org repository. No, karma is not the reason why, not the main reason anyway.

The thing with WordPress.org themes and plugins is that they are reviewed by other WordPress professionals, so even if you don’t really know what you’re doing and your product is bad, you’ll get some tips on how to fix it, for free. So, just do it, OK?

Once You’re In, Don’t Forget About the Users

If your idea of fun is checking download numbers too many times a day, this is where the fun starts. As those numbers go up, so will the frequency of support requests, so it would be cool if you could know as soon as one is posted. You can, just don’t expect it to happen automatically.

WordPress.org doesn’t send you email notifications related to plugins or themes you release. Luckily, there’s a few options.

When you release a plugin or a theme WordPress.org will generate RSS feed for its support requests. Unfortunately, link to this RSS feed is semi-hidden and very easy to miss. You have to visit Support tab in your theme’s or plugin’s WordPress.org page and that’s where you’ll find this tiny 10px font link to RSS feed.

WordPress.org support RSS link

The problem with this? Let’s say you just released your first theme or plugin, so no support requests yet. Main page only has this green button that takes you to support forum and the tiny RSS link, but why click if you know there’s nothing there? “Out of curiosity” makes as much sense as “Don’t you have something more important to do?” does.

Anyway, support RSS feeds for themes and plugins can be found at:

  • http://wordpress.org/support/rss/theme/theme-slug
  • http://wordpress.org/support/rss/plugin/plugin-slug

I don’t like the fact that RSS is the only option. Sure, for plugins you can “Subscribe to Emails for this Plugin” and wonder what that even means, but if you’re a plugin author, theme author and a neat freak at the same time, no way you’re handling plugins one way and themes another.

Being a Gmail user, here’s what I did.

IFTTT + Gmail Filters

IFTTT (If This Then That) is awesome. It helps you connect different web applications (Channels) together through simple conditional statements (Recipes).

For example, every time there’s a new support thread in WordPress.org RSS feed, you can receive an email notification, Twitter DM, Android or iOS notification or even an SMS message (carrier rates may apply). That sounds better than checking Support page all the time, doesn’t it?

Once you’ve registered for IFTTT account you can start creating your own Recipes. For this, you’ll need a “if feed then email” recipe and here’s what it looks like for my latest theme – Gumbo:

ifttt-wordpress-support

This will make sure I get an email evey time there’s a new support question. But these are not just any old email, they should be treated differently. Luckily, Gmail filters (Settings > Filters) can take care of this.

Because of how I set up IFTTT recipe I’m now able to create a Gmail filter that looks for all messages that have “WordPress.org Gumbo Reviews” in subject:

WordPress.org support and Gmail filters

And then make all emails that match skip inbox and apply a label (WP Support/Gumbo) to them:

wordpress-org-gmail-filter-2

All I need to do now is check my email, which I already do more often than I should.

RSS Reader

Another option is using an RSS reader, since both themes and plugin give you feeds for support and reviews. I use Feedly to handle my feeds and this option is slightly easier to set up. You just need to add all your plugin and theme feeds and optionally organize them.

WordPress.org support with Feedly

The thing with feeds though is that they can be slightly delayed. Not necessarily a problem, but worth knowing.

Reviews Are Important, Too

Since you’re setting all this for support requests, don’t forget about reviews. These are the feeds WordPress.org generates for theme and plugin reviews:

  • http://wordpress.org/support/rss/view/theme-reviews/theme-slug
  • http://wordpress.org/support/rss/view/plugin-reviews/plugin-slug

Not sure if this is the best way for you to handle wordpress.org theme and plugin support and reviews, but I just wanted to get all my notifications in one place, rather than being forced to check manually if there’s something going on. IFTTT + Gmail combo worked great.

2 thoughts on “Staying on Top of WordPress.org Theme and Plugin Support Requests

  1. I’ve never set IFTTT and it sounds like a powerful tool, so thanks for sharing it.

    As the number of released themes and plugins increases, I may at least have to set RSS.

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