Matt Cromwell Avatar
This round of new, free WordPress plugins gave me some nostalgia! Softaculous!? Also see my summary of the design updates to the forums and plugin directory.

Hi folks, thanks for being here yet again. I’ve gotta say, this week’s Shiny New Plugins raised my eyebrows a few times. There’s some interesting things going on with new plugins but also with the Plugin Directory itself.

But first, rising stars of the Shiny New Plugins series.

Rising New Plugins

Here’s the plugins that I’ve recently highlighted that have risen in Active Installs the quickest

  • Omnisend 30K+ Active Installs – No surprise here. A giant corp that launched a free plugin that integrates your website with their services and they already have over 100K customers? 30,000K Active Installs in 4-6 weeks is nothing to scoff at, but still, they were set for success before they hit Publish.
  • UIChemy 900+ Active Installs – This is great work and really highlights how this plugin focused on a real felt need in the WordPress website builder market. But also keep in mind, this is the same crew that already has freemium products like “Plus Addons for Elementor” that has 100K+ active installs. So they also have an audience already that probably eagerly awaited the launch of this new plugin.
  • AutoWP 90+ Active Installs – for most solopreneurs or folks just starting in the product business, if you’ve got 90+ active installs within 4-6 weeks, that’s a great success. Great work AutoWP!
  • Honorable mentions go to “Contact Button” (60+ Active Installs), CrewHRM (50+ Active Installs), and Solo Blocks (30+ Active Installs). Progress is progress and you’re heading in the right direction. Keep it up!

For some context, I just double-checked our GiveWP stats from when we launched back in April 2015. Keep in mind that how Active Installs were tracked and updated was a bit different at that time, but it looks like we were keeping roughly 25% of our download count and got to our first 100 active installs within 2 weeks. I do think we had an extremely successful launch of our free product, but I’ll tell you it took longer than that before we had our very first sale. So don’t be discouraged! Keep it up!

New Support Forum Aesthetic (and Plugin Directory updates coming soon!)

The Plugin Directory got a bit of a design refresh recently. It’s been met with admittedly “mixed” reviews

Personally, I can see how it’s intended to be a better reflection of the recently redesigned homepage. It’s a modern and somewhat minimalist aesthetic, which isn’t for everyone. Keep in mind also that since it was launched, there’s been continual micro-improvements as well, which is encouraging.

I really like that they let us toggle back and forth for now while it’s being experimented with.

Also, if you want to see where the new Plugin Directory design is heading, just go to your favorite plugin of choice and add “test” as the subdomain:

Here’s a after/before showing the Give plugin. Notice it’s not a huge overhaul at all, mostly typography and buttons update. I wouldn’t read too much into the navigation changes there, I’m not convinced that’s part of the spec for these changes.

The Latest, Shiniest, Free Plugins on

OK, let’s jump into some of the stand-out new plugins on the WordPress Plugin Directory.


You read that right… Softaculous has launched a new free WordPress plugin and it already (naturally) has over 30K+ Active Installs. It gave me all kinds of nostalgic feelings seeing this brand on the Plugin Directory. I remember just learning the ropes of cPanel and installing WP always with Softaculous before I learned how to do it manually.

From their development log, it looks like they are pivoting the old “wpCentral” plugin to be Softaculous. It’s not clear whether the wpCentral brand will expire completely, but my guess is that it would.

The plugin is a connector to the Softaculous service for managing multiple WordPress websites and spinning up staging environments.

Pattern Wrangler

Big shout-out to Ronald Huereca, founder at DLX Plugins and MediaRon. Ronald is also the author of “WP Plugin Info Card” which I use extensively in these roundups.

Pattern Wrangler is a plugin that I think could be considered for Core inclusion. It solves a problem anyone who’s tried to use Patterns has had: wrangling them. You can copy patterns from site to site, list patterns with a shortcode, hide patterns, categorize patterns and more.

WC Key Manager

I’ll say this readme has much to be desired, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a free plugin like this added to the Plugin Directory. Many Plugin owners choose Easy Digital Downloads to sell and license their products. But WooCommerce just has more options when it comes to proper eCommerce options. But Woo doesn’t have native licensing options. So many folks have to chose to create their own, or use this free plugin.

It’s far past time for more digital license sales options in the WordPress space. So I’d love to see WC Key Manager get some usage and adoption.

Easily Post from GPT

This plugin does exactly what it says it’ll do. But it does it via a custom chatGPT “GPT”. You add the GPT to your chatGPT account, ask it to create a post based on your prompt, and then it gives you the option to publish that post directly to your WordPress website.

This raises quite a few concerns in my mind. First, it’s just encouraging what we’re all afraid of, a web full of AI-generated crap content.

Second concern is the privacy aspect. I don’t feel yet to date that how these custom GPTs are created or monitored is done with the user’s privacy in mind. I did my own experiment with generating a WordPress plugin with a custom GPT and the whole time I kept wondering if the author of that GPT was just going to publish my plugin before I did.

Last concern is authorizing a “middle-man” like this to access your admin and publish directly to it. It just feels fraught with security concerns and who will ever be able to reliably discover a vulnerability under these circumstances?

I’m highlighting this plugin because of the unique and new technology that’s at play here, and to say “If you want to create AI-generated content, just copy/paste (and hopefully edit first). Don’t go the lazy and potentially vulnerable route that this plugin is suggesting.”

Feedback Bird

Customer/visitor feedback and insights is the bread and butter of Customer Experience. So I’m really encouraged to see some new and interesting feedback-focused products on .org.

FeedbackBird I think is a great brand and approach to gaining visitor feedback. I particularly like that it’s cross-platform, supporting WP, Shopify, Craft CMS, and a vanilla Javascript route even. I think that’s a smart option that SaaS-powered plugins can do far more effectively than WP plugins alone. This is a subject we chatted with Aaron Edwards from about on WP Product Talk – it remains a fascinating subject in my mind.

Content Kit

Content Kit is also focused on visitor feedback, but is much more narrowly focused on providing a popup widget and voting board directly on your website. I see this as a direct competitor to the “User Feedback” plugin (200K+ Active Installs).


TruVisibility looks like a really big endeavor, a one-size-fits-all approach to lead capture and CRM all in one.

I’m always on the lookout for big product plays, and this one is interesting. It feels a bit like a play at the same audience that is attracted to the Fluent suite of plugins. I’m not sure how much “market” there is for solutions like this, but TruVisibility seems to have really invested into this product. Worth monitoring for a while for sure.

What Problems Still Need to be Solved in WordPress?

Part of my focus in doing this series is seeing what problems product owners feel still need to be solved in WordPress today. I’d love to hear from you on this, are these plugins solving new problems, or are we just adding more competitors to the existing problems? What problems are we NOT solving in WP today that really need to be solved first?

If you are a plugin author with a freemium product on the WP Plugin Directory, your readme is ground zero for your success. Not enough of these new plugins are leveraging their readme with success. Check out my guide on optimizing your readme, and if you’d like to be featured on “Glam that Plugin” fill out the form below.

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