I was frustrated recently when I couldn’t find a WordPress plugin to do something I wanted. One of the great things about the WordPress community is that someone has usually created a plugin for anything you want to do before you even realized you wanted to do it. In this case I was looking for a plugin that could randomly select a winner from one of my giveaway posts.
I routinely giveaway free products on my blog and allow people to enter by leaving a comment. Alas, there was no way to randomly choose a winner besides going to Random.org and then counting dozens of comments to find the Nth one. It was time-consuming and annoying. It also didn’t allow me to disqualify people who’d entered more than once, or to simply reduce their number of entries to one to even their odds.
So, I got out my text editor and wrote the plugin myself. It’s called Pick Giveaway Winner and it’s available on the Make My Blog Pretty plugin page as well as at the WordPress Plugin Directory. It was fun learning how to setup a plugin and submit it to the official site. It was less fun installing and using Subversion to commit my changes, which gave me flashbacks to my last job and all the command line horrors I thought I had escaped forever.
Hopefully this plugin will be useful to WordPress bloggers who do lots of contests. Let me know if you like it!