Selling Plugins for WordPress
Why should you develop a plugin for WordPress?
WordPress powers 35% of all websites
WordPress, by far, is the most popular open source Content Management System (CMS). There are millions upon millions of websites – be it a business blog or personal resume website, currently available for you to visit and about a quarter (or 35.6% to be exact as of January 2020) of those are made and powered by WordPress. That basically means that 1 in every 4 websites is bound to be a WordPress website, which goes to show how much of the internet is WordPress!
Given how popular WordPress as a CMS (content management system), it’s no surprise that they would have accumulated a whole bunch of stats and data that are pretty amazing. Also it’s amazing to see how many people have people use WordPress as a platform and downloaded them because currently, the number stands at a staggering 157,563,262 downloads and it’s still counting!
Huge demand for WordPress Plugins
Despite the huge number of available WordPress plugins that today there are more than 55,000 WordPress plugins available, still many people are seeking more and more solutions that can enhance the functionalities and give additional features they seek for onto their WordPress websites.
From billions of WordPress platform users, many people would actually be interested in seeking for WordPress Plugins that can solve their problems and/or give solutions to the goals they wanted to achieve. Also, they are seeking plugins that could possibly give an opportunity for integrations among different services and platforms. This way, they can maximize the endless possibilities they can do in their WordPress websites using different WordPress Plugins.
Users ask for more sophisticated solutions
Due to the high demand from tons of WordPress users out there, most of them are in need of a more sophisticated and complicated plugin solution to solve problems on their webstores. Each specific problems of the users need to get matched with a plugin solution that developers will develop for them, thus creating a growing opportunity in developing WordPress Plugins for billions of WordPress users.
In this case, some digital download WordPress webstores offer Custom Software Development Services to cater to customer’s needs. For example, like what Plugins & Snippets is doing, they offer tailor-made software development services upon the customer’s request. Only professionals and developers with years of experience in developing can do this.
Easily reach out to WordPress users
Now, where can we actually see and meet these WordPress users who are in need of help? We can just easily reach them out by going to the WordPress Repository. Feel free to browse the whole page and meet every WordPress Developers and Customer along the way. You won’t have any trouble finding and searching for them on the web.
Identifying your customer’s needs and problem
The first step in selling WordPress Plugins is to think of the possible needs your customer has in operating their WordPress websites. You may consider questions such as:
- What needed to be fixed?
- What do they want to achieve?
- What features do they look for?
- What do they want to make happen?
We just need to think of a problem our customer has in their webstore, which will be solved by the plugin we are soon going to develop. This is to create a clear plan as to why are we developing this plugin in the first place, and the goal we needed to achieve.
Developing the Plugin
After identifying your goals to develop this plugin, now here’s the stage where a more detailed plan is needed to be established in order to create a clear path towards a perfect plugin development. So how can we do this?
1. Project Timeline
A Project Timeline is a chronological date, events or action towards your goal. It is very important for project managers to develop skills to build an accurate timeline that can help us make everything in order. It also shows what phases are already in the past, what is in the progress now and what is supposed to be finished in the future.
Creating a Project Timeline is very important as developing a plugin is very complicated. You need to specify what needed to be done and how are we going to achieve that, considering a limited amount of time.
2. Plugin Development
WordPress plugins are PHP scripts that alter your website. These changes could be anything from the simplest tweak in a specific page to a more drastic change, such as changing how log-ins work, triggering emails to be sent, added more functionality and settings, and much more.
If you’re knowledgeable enough to create your WordPress Plugins, then you have nothing to worry about. But, if it’s your first time planning and creating WordPress Plugins, especially knowing only the basics of WordPress Plugin Development, there are lots of tutorials available online that can make plugin development simple and easy.
Another option is that you will need to find a trusted developer, which can deal with these technical tasks. It’s not a good idea to hire every time a different developer on Upwork, as sometimes some of them do not have the required skills, don’t understand the details of your website, or are sidetracked with other projects. Therefore, it is better to work with somebody trusted on a long-term basis who knows your website inside out.
This will come after producing a Beta Version of the plugin. A bug fix is a change to a system or product designed to handle a programming bug/glitch. In this stage, we are expected to conduct continuous and various tests on the developed plugin, making sure that it doesn’t show any type of bugs and mistakes while doing the intended process. Also, we can see how the plugin works live in action, to make a further judgment and see if it is still fit for more changes and development.
Documentation and other Materials
Now, that we have successfully developed our plugin, the next step is to provide necessary documents and materials to support and explain our plugin to prospective customers. The things we need to prepare are:
Plugin Product Page – This will be the main landing page of your plugin. It means that we should have explained here, in brief sentences:
- What are the key features of this plugin?
- What is the purpose of this plugin?
- What are the problems this plugin solves?
- How will it solve the problem?
- How can your WordPress website benefit by using this plugin?
Simply, your product page must properly introduce the use of the plugin so that prospective customers will find it helpful and effective to use on their own WordPress websites.
Plugin Documentation Page – This will be the second most important page of your plugin. Here you will need to properly explain and document how this plugin works, starting from installation, setup and how the process is done. It is important to provide a simple, step by step procedure so that customers will find it easy to follow, without a hassle. It is also important to always provide an image to show visually how the process works.
Plugin Featured Image – The main image should represent in one glance what is the plugin all about. It should also be eye-catching enough so users will be much attracted to check it out.
Screenshots of the Frontend Functionalities and Backend Settings – Besides the images to be added on the product and documentation pages, there should also be a section to display a complete collection of gallery images of every essential part and features of the plugin. We can include images from the frontend, showcasing how it appears live on your website, and also at the backend, to show what are the configurations the customer is likely to come across.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers – Another important material we need to prepare is the plugin’s frequently asked questions, along with the answers. Since your plugin has just been released, we can assume for the moment, possible pre-sale questions that your customers may come up with. This is to make everything easy for all parties since customers won’t trouble you with tons of questions even before buying.
Free Plugin vs Paid Plugin
After all the processes for development and preparation in releasing the plugin has been made, the next thing we need to do is to carefully decide whether to put this plugin available for free or with a price.
For those WordPress platform users that do not have enough money to always purchase premium WordPress plugins, there is the WordPress Plugin Repository that offers almost 55,000 WordPress plugins for free to download at any time!
The main reason as to why plugin developers and website owners prefer to put out their plugin for free in the WordPress Plugin Repository is to provide a demo version of the plugin, having limited features as it is only intended to introduce the basic functionalities of the plugin. This is to let the customers use the plugin free version and enjoy a few limited features. Soon, if they also want to take advantage of more features, they will soon be going to purchase the premium version.
Setting the Price
Of course, it won’t be easy to put something you’ve worked hard for a long time just for free, so normally, developed plugins always comes with a price. Usually, before deciding on the price, we tend to look for our plugin competitor’s product catalog and see if we can match their prices to our advantage. If yes, then it must be the best choice to put as the plugin’s price.
How to market your plugins?
There are plenty of ways on how to market your newly-developed plugins. Here are some strategies you can do:
Search Engine Optimization
This refers to the process of optimizing your website to be found by search engines. The objective is to rank on the first page such as Google, Bing or Yahoo when somebody enters a keyword in the search bar. The result will be that you will be getting free traffic from organic search results via search engines as you will improve your website position in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
There are few steps in order to do this properly, like conducting Competitor and Keyword Research, Optimizing your Landing Pages, Building quality backlinks, and others. You can also check this article The 10 Most Important SEO Tips You Need to Know to learn more about SEO.
Content marketing is the process of creating online material (e.g blog posts, videos, infographics, GIFs, images, etc.) that is of interest to your target audiences such as your customers and vendors and gives them a reason to visit your homepage, especially your product and landing pages.
The content creation should follow the line of your products and should also focus on the target keywords you researched in preparation and where you know it will be possible to attract some search traffic from these keywords. Once the content is created, try to share as much as possible via your social media channels.
Guest blogging and Invitation for Plugins Review
Another strategy we can do is Guest blogging. It is a useful way to reach a relevant audience for your developed plugins. There are a number of good and quality blogs that are open for a guest post from various authors. Write an amazing research piece and reach them with the content for a guest post. Participating in industry blogs will help your name recognition and begin to build relationships with individuals who may link to you in the future. Also, we can try to look for other blogs and websites that are willing to do us some Product Review.
Remember that in order to make guest blogging and inviting for plugin reviews to work effectively on our end, it is important to find quality websites first, those with a good Domain and Page Authority, so that we are confident that this strategy won’t go into wasted with poor traffic and quality websites.
Social Media Marketing
Social media refers to websites and applications that allow users to create and share content as well as participate in social networking with other users. Different Social Media Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and many other remains a very great way to establish your brand and build an audience. It also serves in establishing credibility if somebody does a background check on your marketplace.
Your goal should be to build a community that is engaging with you and helps you to share your content via these social networks. Connecting via social media is also a great way to acquire customers who might likely be interested to check out your products.
One goal of your marketing strategy should be to build up an email marketing list. An email marketing list can become a very effective tool for communicating with your audience and incentivize them to come back to revisit your website.
The first step in setting up your email marketing program is to set up an onboarding process. Mostly this can be done by adding a subscription offer at the checkout page to stay updated on news and product updates. In Easy Digital Downloads, this can be done by installing the MailChimp plugin. Another way is to add a widget or a popup window with subscription suggestions on your website.
Email newsletters should be sent on a regular basis (e.g. monthly) but also not overdoing it as otherwise unsubscribe rates will become high. The content should be useful, helpful and aim to trigger engagement (or reactions) among your audience so that you can build a more personal relationship. Open up about what your business is doing, introduce new features or products, and be transparent about your company.
Plugin Updates and Customer Support
The final phase in developing and selling plugins is to make sure that you do not fail to release plugin updates for your customers. How important it is? If a customer who previously purchased a plugin saw that you’ve been doing continuous plugin updates to fix bugs and to add extra features, he/she will most likely renew the plugin subscription to always stay updated on any changes that will be made to the plugin. But, if you fail to provide continuous plugin updates, your customers will most likely won’t renew their subscriptions with you.
Also, don’t forget to provide smooth and reliable customer support services so that your customers will feel at ease knowing that a customer support representative is available 24/7 to hear their problems and requests out. This also builds a very good relationship with your customers.
Conclusion: Start selling WordPress Plugins now!
Developing and selling WordPress Plugins might not be very easy at first. There are a lot of things you need to plan and do in order to make it successful. Now, you have learned some important steps on why and how to develop a plugin, how to market and sell your plugins the right way, and most especially a clear understanding as to why and how WordPress plugins are being used and help those WordPress website owners.
Every journey is a learning process, and what’s important is we applied those learnings in our daily activities in order to improve and make the most out of whatever you’re trying to achieve.