WordPress is without doubt the best blogging platform in my opinion. There are 3 good reasons for this : Frequent updates and developments from the creators Automattic, a large theme repository and a large plugin repository.
Documentation aside, WordPress doesn’t really give support to users, which you can’t really complain about since it is a free product. Though their forum is full of bloggers helping each other, whether it is with regards to themes, plugins or WordPress itself.
It is this community which has made WordPress what it is today. Without a doubt those who release quality themes and plugins to WordPress users have contributed greatly to the community. Though are they being rewarded for their efforts?
Kevin Eklund wrote a great post yesterday about this entitled ‘WordPress Plugin Developers In Dire Need Of A Sustainable Business Model’. The article talks about how many developers are unable to give support for their plugins because of the time it requires and because they get little, if anything, back in return.
I released the Evolution WordPress Theme last year and it proved to be very popular. However, I didn’t realise how much time it would take to help users adapt the theme on their blogs (thankfully Sarah helped out). This was one of the reasons why we had to launch Blog Themes Club as a paid membership site i.e. we just couldn’t afford to spend time helping everyone for free if we were getting nothing in return.
Therefore I appreciate the situation that plugin developers are in. Infact, I’m actually quite surprised that some of the more complicated plugins have been released for free as the developers have obviously spent a helluva lot of time on them.
Most plugin developers have a paypal donate button on their website but you would be surprised at how little people actually give back (I include myself in this!). Kevin contacted a few plugin developers to see how if they were being rewarded for their efforts :
Last year I asked both Alex King and Lester ‘GaMerZ’ Chan if they knew the percentage of people that contributed a donation after downloading a plugin. Alex replied to my email and said, “I’d say maybe .5%? Maybe lower…” whereas Mr. Chan explained that, “I would say less than 1% based on my 4 years of doing plugin”.
Altogether both plugin creators currently have a combined total of 43 plugins (Alex King: 26, Lester Chan: 17) available for free download at the official WordPress plugin repository. Upon answering the same question, Donncha O Caoimh, of the popularly downloaded WP Super Cache plugin, replied, “I don’t have an exact figure but it’s probably far less than 1%”, “I’d be rather happy if each of them even donated a dollar!”. Alex Rabe, author of the heavily used NextGEN Gallery plugin, supplied me with some donation statistics saying, “Less than 1 percent for NextGEN Gallery, 800,000 downloads and approx. 200 donations”. That actually works out to be a donation rate of 0.025%! That’s completely ridiculous!
Plugin Business Model
I have no doubt that developers will continue to keep releasing plugins for WordPress, however I am concerned that if a good business model isn’t adopted by some developers, we may see a decrease in good quality plugins.
Kevin suggested 5 alternative modesl which developers could adopt :
- Premium Plugins
- Freemium Plugins (i.e. a premium plugin with a basic version available for free)
- Paid Support
- Ad Supported
- A Combination Model
I personally believe that more developers should start charging for their premium plugins, especially if it means more updates and better support. I know some bloggers may not be able to pay for plugins however I think most would be happy to pay for a plugin if it did exactly what they were looking for. No doubt it would cost less than paying a programmer to code something specifically for you.
I recently paid $99 for the Wishlist member plugin however I believe it to be great value for money because it does exactly what we want and the support is top notch. Obviously, not all plugins are worth that much. I’m sure many good plugins could be costed at $15 or less and still make the developer a lot of money.
What do you think about all of this – would you pay for a good WordPress plugin if the support was good?
You can read Kevins article about WordPress Plugin Developers in full at the link below.
Link : WordPress Plugin Developers In Dire Need Of A Sustainable Business Model