Don’t let the word “development” put you off as I will explain how easy it is to have a wordpress plugin under your belt. The bigger picture here is to make a business out of plugin-development. So as with any business, this too should take some time and effort. But hey, there isn’t anything called free-lunch. You have to work hard in order to earn big.
I am the ideas man, inspiring budding entrepreneurs, desperately searching for ideas, hence I rebranded my blog as “Business Inspiration.” This idea of wordpress-plugin-business has been in my head for a while now, needless to say I haven’t done much about it, yet. So I started this post to inspire you as a reader and also to ignite my thought process in this regard.
Just come up with the idea
WordPress plugins are essentially solutions or added features to existing problems or tasks within wordpress. Its easy enough to come up with an idea, you might think. But it has to be something in demand and has got mass appeal. Once you have this “idea” or “solution,” then its easy enough to outsource the coding, at sites like Freelancer, vWorker or Elance. So you just have to come up with the idea.
How many times have you searched for wordpress plugins that did a specific task, and perhaps you did not find a proper one? There are plenty of other places to get wordpress ideas besides brainstorming, too. Try wordpress support forums or search for abandonned plugins that needs brushing-up, may be to function on the latest wordpress versions. I even read a blog post written by a professional programmer offering to develop plugins for a fee. Do the same and write a blog post asking for ideas from your readers.
Add features to an existing plugin
So have you actually come across any issues for which, plugins had not yet touched? I know, I have. I once wanted a wordpress plugin to play background music continually across pages (pausing at pageloads and resuming from where it left at the previous page – this is called autoresume). Guess what, there weren’t any plugins for this. So I went ahead and added the feature to an existing plugin and released it on wordpress. To date it is being downloaded a minimum of 500 times per month.
Now all you have to do is outsource coding bit to a wordpress developer. Its beyond the scope of this post to go into detail about hiring freelancers. But its pretty straightforward and differs not much from outsourcing articles, which many of you must be familiar with.
let wordpress carry the weight
Once you have a plugin built, the question arises, “how to make a business out of it?” The secret is to hook users with a free plugin hosted at the wordpress plugin repository. Yes, you may host the free version at your private host too. But when it comes to plugins, wordpress users tend to search the wordpress repository within their admin panels before googling them. So it makes sense to have the free version hosted at wordpress. This process requires some technical knowledge of version-control, and SVN software. The good news is, its no rocket science. Besides, the task could be bundled into the outsourced process of plugin-development as well.
Add premium features
Lets talk money. Just like any product, you would accumulate users with a basic FREE product and charge them for premium, value-added features. If the free version of the plugin solves a burning problem of its users, then there is a huge chance they would pay for any added feature that you’re likely to promote to them. Price of course depends on your services, target audience and demand.
Oh! There’s a Bonus
There is also a bonus along the way, that you might have probably overlooked so far. That is the rush of traffic and backlinks your blog would recieve, given that you direct users from the plugin details page to your blog for usage and help instructions. Don’t underestimate this, because you will also get many bloggers talking about your plugin and also linking back to you. If you play your cards right, you can expect a massive jump in your page rank(the blog as a whole, or at least the page related to the plugin).
Rinse and repeat
Sure, this is addictive right. Rinse and repeat. Only advice I would give here is to start small and gradually expand into expensive ideas. If a plugin cost $100 to develop, then find another idea that may cost around $150-200 that has higher demand than the previous plugin, so you can expect a bigger return.