Top WordPress Plugin Niches

As a plugin developer, I sometimes wonder what makes a plugin popular. How come some plugins garner hundreds of comments and thousands of downloads, while others pass quietly into the archives? What kind of plugin do the users want?

Obviously the plugin’s niche (what kind of stuff it does) would be a huge factor. For example, a photogallery plugin would probably attract more users than a plugin that deletes all vowels from the comments. So what are the most popular plugin niches/categories? To determine this I analyzed the top 100 most downloaded WordPress plugins from the wordpress.org directory. Here are the results :

Most popular WordPress plugin niches

(ranked by per-category download count)

As you can see from this painstakingly crafted chart, SEO-related plugins are clearly on top, while plugins that provide web analytics and other statistics comprise the (pretty distant) second position. Gallery plugins and spam-catchers are doing well, too.

It might seem surprising that the “social” niche (bookmarking, Twitter and the like) only accounts for 6% of the downloads, but that’s probably due to the overly narrow definition of “social” I used here. After all, nearly everything concerning blogs can be seen as being par of the social web.

If you’re interested in more detailed stats you can download the source data (.xls).

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11 Responses to “Top WordPress Plugin Niches”

  1. Brian says:

    1) Interesting data for sure

    2) that pie chart looks beautiful, is that from Excel or do you use some third-party programs like the Adobe toolchain

  2. White Shadow says:

    The chart is based on this very good tutorial and I used Illustrator CS2 to make it. I don’t really like/know Illustrator (the interface can be infuriatingly counterintuitive), but it was the only suitable tool I had on hand.

    The data is interesting indeed, though I wonder if the results might be skewed by how frequently some plugins update. More updates = more downloads. Only wordpress.org knows how many actual, active users each plugin has (WP sends this info when checking for updates).

  3. […] Janis Elsts fragt sich in seinem Blog, was ein Plugin beliebt macht, warum bekommen einige Plugins hunderte Kommentare und Bewertungen und warum warum werden andere sehr gute Lösungen kaum wahr genommen? Die Auswertung dazu ist interessant, nicht nur für Entwickler. Ich habe den Ansatz mal verfolgt und das Schema nochmal detaillierter dargestellt. Will man Plugins für den kommerziellen Bereich entwickeln und damit Umsatz generieren, dann ist es sicher noch weit interessanter, wie die Ergebnisse aussehen. Aber auch als Coder für diverse Anforderungen, so wie ich es beispielsweise mache, ist die Statistik einen Blick wert. […]

  4. Ozh says:

    Cool article, cool analysis and uber cool pie chart :) I’m totally stealing the tutorial for Illustrator (even if, doh, how overkill is it to design this in Illustrator)

  5. Dave says:

    Good article!

  6. […] Top WordPress Plugin Niches by W-Shadow is a list based upon the top 100 most downloaded WordPress Plugins to determine their […]

  7. JessicaEpink says:

    Great! Thank you very much! I always wanted to write in my blog something like that. Can I take part of your post to my site? Of course, I will add backlink? Regards

  8. Using wordpress plugins for SEO is definitely the way to go. The chart made here was awesome.

  9. Excellent chart, and a great way to analyze the data for plugins. As a wordpress plugins expert i would have to agree that using SEO related plugins is worth it.

  10. lahuddu says:

    nice post ! for me this is nothing new. thanks and regards.

  11. Nice post. I’m checking constantly this web site that i’m satisfied! Useful information in particular the outstanding section :) We attend to these kinds of info a good deal. I was looking for this a number of information for many years. Thanks and all the best ..

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