Selling Your Premium WordPress Plugin: Helpful Posts on Commercializing

Want to learn how to market WordPress plugins from experienced product founders? These are some of the more helpful posts I’ve come across for inspiration and takeaways to apply to my own plugin business.

I may add to it periodically, and it’s certainly not an exhaustive list. Feel free to post your own favorites in the comments.

I also posted on premium plugin business video presentations and podcast interviews.

cash in pocket

How I made $80,000 with a single WordPress plugin

Vladimir Prelovac shares how he started out with a free SEO plugin in the WordPress repository, gained a following, then built a premium plugin. He details out what he did for his launch and breaks down his pricing plans and percentage of revenue for each. Vladimir went on to build the startup Manage WP, an awesome multi-site WordPress management SaaS service.

Why & how we sell premium WordPress plugins

Yoast (Joost de Valk), author of some of the most popular free plugins out there (such as WordPress SEO), talks about making his newer plugin (Video SEO) paid-only, which allows him to keep it a higher quality plugin for his customers with more frequent updates and better support. He also lays out why he prefers to sell his plugins using Easy Digital Downloads through his own site instead of a marketplace.

From Developer to Marketer and
How I Increased Soliloquy Sales by 4x in 2.5 Months

Two great posts from Thomas Griffin (founder of the Soliloquy slider plugin). This firsts describes his transition from a code-focused to a customer-focused product. The second lays out six marketing changes he made that rapidly increased plugin sales in a short time.

How Commercial Plugin Developers Are Using The WordPress Repository

This is a lengthier post by Siobhan McKeown on Smashing Magazine that covers quite a few topics for premium plugin businesses. For starters, it goes over the guidelines to follow if you’re publishing a free plugin on the WordPress repository. Then it goes into various business models for plugin shops including:

  • Free plugins that connect to paid services.
  • Offering feature-complete free plugins but charging for support and extensions.
  • The “freemium” model where a free plugin with basic features is available on the repository, but for more features customers need to upgrade to a premium plugin. This is the model I’m currently using with the Pinterest “Pin It” Button plugin — free / paid.
  • Complimentary plugins (free and paid), themes and paid installation services.

A detailed list of pros and cons for building a commercial plugin shop wrap up the post.

Pressnomics 2012 Aftermath

I got the awesome opportunity to attend the first Pressnomics last year and met tons of smart people in the WordPress business world. At one point Matt Mullenweg spoke to the subject of selling plugins, which in turn stirred up many discussions in person and online.

WordPress Plugin Commercialization

Tony Perez of Sucuri Security summarizes what Matt stated about premium plugins and expresses a thought out opinion about it. There were 53 comments from folks in the WordPress plugin community and from Matt continuing to debate the subject. Unfortunately the comments aren’t hooked up at the moment but hopefully Tony can dig them up sometime. :)

Commercial WordPress Plugins

Brad Touesnard of Migrate DB Pro and WP App Store follows up Tony’s post with responses to Matt’s comments on the freemium plugin model, plugins backed by a service (SaaS) and commercial plugins that may get rolled into WordPress core.

I’m definitely looking forward to the commercial plugin debate at the next Pressnomics.