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If you are a plugin developer and want to jazz up your plugin page with a custom header on WordPress.com, here’s how.

In December 2011 creator of WordPress Matt Mullenweg told plugin authors that they could now add header images to their plugin pages on WordPress.org.  Read the full post.

It may sound like a small change but it may have a big impact on the number of downloads your plugin gets.

Plugin Header Images

If you’ve been browsing the WordPress plugin repository lately you’ll have noticed that quite a few have header images on their pages rather than the simple title.

Matt updated the Hello Dolly plugin to serve as an example.

And here’s our Always Edit in HTML plugin.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/always-edit-in-html/

Adding Your Own Plugin Header Image

As a plugin developer, you’re already familiar with the SVN repository.  We’ll be adding a new folder with our header image inside to the SVN repository using the TortoiseSVN client.

Step 1

Design your very own plugin header image.  The size must be 772 x 250px and for format can be either JPG or PNG.

Note that GIFs are not supported.

One commenter added these words of wisdom to Matts blog: “I don’t think we want dancing Rick Astleys or flaming skulls in the plugin repository.”

Step 2

Create a folder called assets in the root of your checked-out plugin SVN repository.

Note: the assets folder must be at the same level as the branches, tags and trunk folders.

Step 3

Add your header image to the assets folder renaming it to banner-772×250.jpg (or png).

Step 4

Now we need to add the changes to the plugin repository.  Right click on the new assets folder and select TortoiseSVN > Add and confirm the assets folder and the image.  These changes will reflected to the repository.

Step 5

Next, right-click on the assets folder again and this time select TortoiseSVN Commit…  The changes will be committed and uploaded to the plugin repository.

Your plugin header image will be displayed next time the repository is refreshed (time varies but approximately 15 mins).

Being Creative

The header image space is a great canvas area for being creative.

You can really make your plugin shine by adding extra information into the graphic.  Login Logo is a great example of this by selling the plugin as a simple 3 step solution.

So go ahead and design a great custom header for your plugin and send us the link.