Presentation: Forum Support on WordPress.org and beyond. Rankings and your customers.

In February I presented this talk about how to excel in supporting your customers via our WordPress.org support forum. The presentation is in Spanish, so I am adding an English synopsis after the video. If you are a developer and have a plugin in the official repository, you do not want to miss out on these practical ideas to help your users in a way that works for both of you.

Source.

Forum support for plugin authors

  1. The basis for any great plugin support is proper documentation. Take full advantage of every single option the readme.txt file offers. 
    • Use easy to understand language.
    • Imagine this is the first plugin your user has ever decided to download. Experienced people will skip the “obvious” steps, and newbies won’t have to contact you.
    • Use mark-up to make your texts easier to digest.
    • Here’s a great summary of what you can do with your readme.txt
  2. The number of resolved forum threads heavily influences your ranking on the repository’s search results page. 
    • Target to solve at least 80% of all questions.
    • Stats are valid for the past 2 month.
    • Bonus: Google loves indexing the forums – and hence your plugin.
  3. Should you answer questions in the forum, in the FAQ section of your plugin or on your own website (e.g. in your knowledge base)?
    • As a rule of thumb: if a question has been asked more than twice in your forum section, make sure to include it either in the FAQs OR in your plugin documentation (on your site or within the readme.txt file)
    • Make a conscious decision whether you prefer to take advantage of having your plugin indexed on WordPress.org or whether you prefer to drive traffic to your own site. Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages.
  4. Batching your answers
    • Weekly: answer any open forum threads
    • Monthly: update your FAQs
    • Once per quarter: update your knowledge base / documentation (and your plugin, if needed)
  5. How to answer a user question?
    • Have you understood the exact problem they have, or do you need to ask for clarifications? Asking for more info is a valid first answer.
    • Looking at the question – what coding knowledge or WP experience (if any) does the user seem to have? Adjust your answer appropriately.
    • Is this a repeat question? If so, add it to your documentation.
    • Can you add screenshots to your answer?
      Pro tip, use <img src="https://valentinathoerner.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/WCGranCanaria.png" /> and replace the image URL.
  6. Some examples to inspire your:
    • Loco Translate (https://es.wordpress.org/plugins/loco-translate)
    • WooCommerce Stripe Payment Gateway (https://es.wordpress.org/plugins/woocommerce-gateway-stripe/)
    • Contact Form 7 (https://es.wordpress.org/plugins/contact-form-7)

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