lessons we’ve learned from building-selling WordPress plugins

15 Things to Learn from Building and Selling WordPress Plugins

Building WordPress plugins require the knowledge and effort from your coding prowess. But selling those plugins or themes is another thing. You need to understand the market, find out either your product is a must-have, analyze the competitors, and beyond.

At weDevs, we are creating and selling WordPress plugins for years. Some of our top plugins like Dokan, Happy Elementor Addons, or WPERP is already developed a commendable fanbase in the WordPress community. This gives us quite the experience of feeling happy, tensed, or in some situations when decision making becomes critical.

Hence, there are certain takeaways a WordPress developer should know before he/she opt for building a plugin and start selling them. As the market is changing so fast, and the competition is fierce.

So, in this blog, we will be showing you what we’ve learned through our journey to building and selling WordPress plugins. Keep reading.

Our Learning from Building and Selling WordPress Plugins

Time is money. So when you learn all the things regarding building and selling WordPress products, it will save a lot of your time. Moreover, it will help you to lessen the risks too. Bad or good, both can happen when you are up to dealing with an industry like WordPress. It’s getting bigger every day. You must make yourself prepare and capable to take on challenges. So, let’s get started.

1. Do Your Market Research

One of weDev’s very first plugin is WP User Frontend. It was developed by the founder Tareq Hasan back in 2011. We were growing then, and it was an instant success.

While researching which plugin to develop, Tareq Hasan found that WordPress marketplace has no such tools that allow a user to post something from the frontend. So this leads him to believe he can create something that would be the first frontend posting plugin in WordPress.

You need to research the WordPress industry because it’s crucial to know either your plugin is a must-have or it has a core value that can connect people. Also, a certain question need to be answered – how fairly the existing plugins in the market are performing? Well, take a look at some of the top considerations for market research before building a plugin –

  • Ask yourself: Is it solve a problem?
  • Does the solution have market demand?
  • Is it affordable to your target users?
  • Have you done product ideation?
  • Do you have a ready support team of engineers?

However, it isn’t necessary to build a unique plugin. Sometimes you can get ideas from any popular or underrated WordPress product, and develop something very helpful to users.

2. Build a WordPress Product Worth Investing

Well, after you’ve done the thorough market research, you may have found several plugin ideas. Depending on your budget and prospect, you can go for all of them. But if you are a beginner, and we assume you are as you reading this blog, starting with one idea would be better.

At weDevs, we have developed the WP Project Manager only after our first plugin WP User Frontend has a remarkable success. The first one gives us enough confidence and professional ground to progress to the next level.

However, you should choose something that is simple and connect the target user more easily. Also, you need to calculate either your idea is worth investing in. Yes, there are risks and you are going to take that. But, considering all the factors, you should build a product that has the right potential to click.

3. Find Out the Best Platform to Sell Your Plugin

In one of our earlier blogs, we have discussed that the best way to sell plugins is to uploading the free version to the WordPress repository. As a beginner, this will give you an instant kick as people start getting acquainted with your tool. The process will be driving significant traffic to your product website where you can directly do the business.

WordPress Repository aka plugin directory is the most sought-after place where every WordPress user visits frequently. It has more than 1.5 billion plugin downloads.

We have learned through our plugin selling experience that, you must launch a free version of your plugin in the repository. The free version is aimed to get people used to the basic features, and making people convert for the pro-version. This is the golden formula.

Though, selling plugin directly from your website would be a complex job if you don’t have a maintenance and support team for 24/7. But consider this when you make the plan for now and in-future.

Many WordPress developers would suggest you using Easy Digital Downloads. Indeed, it’s a great service. Hence, it cost you a great deal of money which would be a burden before you make any real profit from your plugin. Right now, we are using EDD to sell WPERP anyway.

But for our other plugin, we mostly depend on our product website and Appsero. We will tell you about this on a forthcoming point. There are several marketplaces you may find useful like CodeCanyon or Codester.

Needful Reads: How to Sell WordPress Plugins

4. Setting Up the Simplest Payment Gateway

There are a lot of payment options you can provide to your customers. But mind that, the payment and the additional process is a hustle unless you manage them carefully.

PayPal is a widely popular payment gateway. But it has also fatal limitations. It’s not available in many countries. Another thing, PayPal IPN restriction is dope. You can have only one IPN URL. On the other hand, Stripe lets you add unlimited unique API URLs.

We sell almost 50% of our plugin from the weDevs product website. We allow payments from most of the major gateway. But, what we’ve learned over the years, managing all types of payments can slow your process down. So we start using FastSpring.

FastSpring is a payment gateway service like PayPal, 2checkout, and Stripe. it is one of the fastest-growing eCommerce payment services across the globe. Thousands of software companies and developers use FastSpring worldwide including companies like Adobe, TechSmith & more.

This platform solve our trouble like-

  • Handles all government regulations including EU VAT & Taxes
  • Manage subscription billing effortlessly
  • Fully white-labeled checkout process
  • GDPR Compliant with risk management & compliance
  • Same page checkout popup and many more things

So, according to your scope, choosing a reliable payment gateway is one of your core priorities to building selling WordPress plugin.

5. VAT is a Trouble Maker, Be Prepared

If you set up a robust payment gateway service like FastSpring, it will manage all of your VAT (Value Added Tax’s). But VAT is a confusing thing, and for doing business in the US and EU, you are going to charge by the TAX authority.

So, if you don’t know how much they are going to charge you, and how to manage it, this can leads to a blunder. When you want to sell plugins in different countries, be prepared for paying VAT and Tax‘s in the right and swift wat.

6. Testing Always Help to Improve

Before launching your plugin, there is no alternative to testing. It is always better to know which part of your product is troubling, how much you need bug fixes, and how to cope up with support tickets. So, testing always helps to understand the different critical situation and give you enough time to improve your WordPress plugin.

One thing we always do, whenever we built a plugin, we try to use the beta version in our website in the first place. And, remember one thing, testing can take months. This is normal. However, once you have launched your plugin after several months of testing, it will reduce your risks of getting hoards of support requests from customers. Because you would have solved all the possible fixes while testing.

Though, trouble is an inevitable part of building software. Bugs are going to show up, that’s why you never get the chance of resting. Developing a plugin, and selling is a continuous process.

7. Reputation is a Savior

72% of customers won’t take action until they read reviews. 15% of users don’t trust businesses without reviews.

Hosting Tribunal

Building a reputation for anything needs time. If you come up with a good idea and deliver great service, that would be the beginning. And, eventually, if you earn some brand value or reputation, this will help you in bad times. Because people have a bias over reputation. Before buying anything, customers love to get some positive reviews.

It happens sometimes that, despite all of your effort, some customers become less satisfied, or less impressed at first. That even lead to some bad reviews. In such cases, if you have a reputation, loyal customers, and fanbase, they will wash out the bad impact from the marketing atmosphere.

6. User Loves a Reliable Post-Selling Service

Marketing91

If you want to build a sustainable customer relationship, you must establish a good post selling service. Therefore, after-sales service is the most crucial thing to maintain a higher retention rate.

After-sales service refers to various processes that make sure customers are satisfied with the products and services of the organization.

MSG

Since we have developed a bunch of WordPress plugins and started to sell them years ago, one of our crucial findings is that: people love to get help from the seller even after they complete a purchase.

Take a look at some of the popular post-selling service that customers always appreciate –

  • Ask them for feedback
  • Offer occasional discounts. We do it frequently. You can check out our Cyber Monday and Black Friday campaigns.
  • Send emails with relevant and helpful content.
  • Nurture leads, etc.

Therefore, bugs are common issues, your customer service team needs to adopt a practice of giving a quick response. Or, they may be well aware of the features, but definitely, they will find it hard to utilize some of them. You should give them some suggestions in this regard.

8. Shape Your Path to Success with Digital Marketing

Including your plugin to the WordPress repository, or building a lavish product page won’t assure you will get a great number of plugin sales. In an atmosphere where millions of people building and selling WordPress plugins, you must do something unique to let people know about your product.

To tackle the competition and stand atop in the crowd, we have adopted digital marketing. And, this becomes our main arsenal to sustain in an oversaturated marketplace.

Our marketing team consists of professionals who work to analyze and plans all the digital marketing campaigns following major occasions throughout the year. We create and publish marketing blog to keep pace with an ever-growing brand value, also these blogs work as a good resource for our niche customers.

We often get direct sales from our blog content. Therefore, we create and send email marketing campaigns, social media campaigns that helps a lot to establish an ongoing relationship with customers, also both of the latter approach bringing us significant sells.

To boost up our email marketing campaign, we have developed a WordPress email automation service, which eventually turn-out as weMail. One of the unique WordPress email marketing plugin.

Want to Sell Plugins: How Can I Start (Tips from Experts)

9. A Rich FAQ Page is Essential

Is creating a FAQ page is necessary? We found that yes. It’s more than that. If you don’t have one on your product website, you are on the downside we believe.

You will get hundreds of support requests. And, the FAQ page will reduce half of the loads. As a product developer, you will be knowing all the basic questions that may pop-up in the user’s mind. You should put the answers to all those possible questions on your FAQ page.

10. Initiate Support Ticket System

Taking support request via email is not a smart decision. Before we understand that thing, our email address got nearly messed up. Then we’ve initiated support ticket system, which let us streamlined all the queries, and provide a faster response.

So, you can adopt this framework to develop a reliable and hassle-free post-selling service atmosphere.

11. Social Media Community Helps

You may think that your friends and family network isn’t of any help. But WordPress is connecting everyone day by day. May be one of your friends of friends find your product-based Facebook page helpful. And thus, you start to grow your social media community.

For each of our plugins, our social media communities is a helping hand. We have social pages and groups. From our social media page, we keep promoting our products and try to provide customer service whenever possible through chat or comments.

We have succeeded to create a community of people who are using our products through Facebook groups. People share their experience, good news, bad situations, and helping each other to sort out. We also share our news and content, and promotional offers, etc. The scenario is really amazing.

Here’s some of the core reasons that can make you more enthusiastic on creating social media community for your brand –

  • It will increase your brand awareness and reputation
  • Increase your inbound traffic
  • Boost up your conversion and retention
  • Healthy search engine rankings
  • Improve your customer support system, etc

So, you should consider this earnestly for building and selling WordPress plugin.

12. People Will Steal Your Idea So Don’t Bother

You will find similar plugins from many developers in WordPress marketplaces. Does that mean, everybody is stealing ideas from everybody?

For example, we’ve launched Dokan back in 2015. It was the first full-fledged WooCommerce multi-vendor plugin in WordPress. Since then, many similar plugins have come to the market and doing business. But they don’t impact much on our brand value because we always improvising and bound to provide the best features and services.

People will hack your idea, and even sometimes you too can develop a completely solid product outline from an existing plugin in the market. So, you shouldn’t bother about that. This is a shared universe, so you must focus on doing your job to the highest quality, and nothing else.

We want you to remember one thing, always think out of the box, and do something unusual no one is doing, that’s what make your product more successful.

13. Create Knowledge Base and Documentation

We have already told you about an ever-updating FAQ page. The next thing in this segment is developing a sound knowledge base and well-enough documentation for your customer.

The lack of documentation may cost your reputation and retention rate, trust me. Therefore, you must design a plan for it. Documentation should be sufficient for any user who opts for installing your plugin to their WordPress site.

The work of knowledge base isn’t optional too. It can work as a big marketing catch. If you can build your website knowledge base as a popular resource center for niche people, it surely leading the path to become an industry leader.

To get a more clear idea you can visit Dokan Knowledge Base. We are developing this for months. Also take a look at the Appsero Doc to learn how to develop a crystal clear and simple documentation to selling WordPress plugin.

14. Recurring Payment is a Must-Have

Well, this is one thing you can’t pass off unnoticing. A recurring payment system helps you to retain the existing customer at ease. This means, when your customer ends up with his subscription limit, recurring payment helps him out of taking the extra hassle to setup his payment option again.

Recurring billing happens when a merchant automatically charges a customer for goods or services on a prearranged schedule.

Investopedia

Auto-renewal needs the permission of your client. After we’ve move to the recurring payment model, some of our customer’s don’t like it. It is inevitable anyways. But most customers like it and agreed to the terms likely. This helps us a lot to keep the payment coming without any trouble and developing our product simultaneously.

As for WPERP, we are using EDD. Setting up recurring payment is too simple with this platform. You just need to install an extension, just that.

15. Use a Compatible Alternative to Sell Your WordPress Plugin

Building and selling WordPress plugin needs a certain process to follow and has an unlimited scope. So, the more you extend your leg, the more opportunity you will come your way. So, besides the traditional options, you should use a better alternative to sell WordPress plugin

We suggest you use Appsero. This is a newly formed WordPress professional platform where you can get all the technical and professional support to make your product as market-fit. Besides, the platform has all the popular marketplace integration, so you can make direct sales from here, and manage them at ease.

Well, take a look at some of the powerful Appsero features that can boost any WordPress developers success –

  • Faster plugin licensing and easy deployment
  • Analyze stats and user data like usage, installation, behavior, etc
  • Automatic update deployment
  • Deactivation auto-responder
  • 24/7 Support from seasoned WordPress professional
  • Popular marketplace integration like WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, or Envato, etc

We have created Appsero for our own needs in the first place, but soon it becomes a big idea and we have turned it into a platform where any WordPress enthusiast can get help.

Final Thoughts

Well, there, and back again. Do you find this blog helpful enough for your next plugin or for the existing ones? We have shared our insights to lessen your burden because building a WordPress product and selling takes all of your technical skill and marketing vision. You need to combine them both.

So, if you have any further questions regarding building and selling WordPress plugins, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section. Hence, keep innovating and never limit your progress by restraining yourself from learning. Let us know what do you think!

About Kaji Enamul Islam

Enamul is a marketing enthusiast. He loves to write about eCommerce, WordPress, and life. Besides, his addiction to fiction, fact, movies, and books are possessive.