In 2011 years ago we started thinking about releasing some Plugins into the wild with a hope that we could establish a legitimate revenue stream that was equivalent to the revenue we already generated from being one of the best search engine marketing companies and trusted website design and development companies.
$$ Boy am I glad we followed through with that vision. $$
Presently, we have
four WordPress Plugins, three of which offer Premium versions, released and four more on the way.
As of this writing average $550 USD a month from just
one of these Plugins ( Premium Bulk Photo to Product Importer Extension for WooCommerce) and the others haven't even reached our projected critical mass. It's fluctuated to as low as $300 and as much as $750 per month, and it's steadily increasing with a growth of about 5-15% per month, again on average.
I'm writing this article because that's the kind of information I wanted to know when I was thinking about our company releasing Plugins.
Here is my advice to a sure-fire way to generate money from your Plugins within the first 3 months assuming you have a considerately made, web standards compliant, WordPress streamlined UI Plugin that provides
any benefit to your Users. This is the process we are employing in all our Plugins and efforts to market them.
Free Version - Offering a free version on the WP Plugins Directory, as well as a premium version increases exposure, usage and results in more sales. For BPTPI we saw about a 25% increase.
Social - Display a, dismissible, WordPress Admin Notice that includes the Google+, Facebook & Twitter share utilities.
I don't recommend the "Like" utilities, which we started with (foolishly) and saw no benefit from it. But once we implemented sharing we saw an immediate 1-5% boost in sales within the first two weeks.
Related - Have a section in your Plugins, we recommend Settings because it's non invasive but will be seen by power Users, that has a metabox with a list of your other Plugins.
It should display a thumbnail of the Plugin, the title and link to the Premium version.
don't recommend linking to the free version because some users overlook the fact that there is a Premium version of Plugins sometimes, in our experience. So show them the Premium version first, and then offer the Free version in case they're not ready to purchase.
Reviews - We can probably attribute 25% of our sales to the increased exposure and authority you gain from reviews within the WP Plugins Directory.
Google Reviews - After we gained about 35 reviews, 30 of which were five stars, on WP, we switched the incentive to require them to leave reviews on Google and in 2 months we gained FIFTEEN 5-STAR reviews!
The reason we did this is because not only does
it increased our domain authority but also increased our exposure for all our services even though they're not directly related! (Ex. SEO, website design, PPC Management, etc...). And, while we have several reviews for those services, the majority of the reviews are for our Plugins, but when someone searches "best seo companies" they see us with seventeen 5-star reviews because that's the total number of reviews we have.
Missing Features - Taking a screenshot of a section that is only in the Premium version and watermarking it with "Premium Only" is a great way to show Users what they're missing out on as a permanent reminder.
Update Often - And we see a 50% increase in sales for a week if we release an update, even if it's small, every week because it gets added to the top of the WordPress "recently updated" list which is syndicated to many places and increases it's exposure.
If you have specific questions we
love to hear them and write more articles to help you grow your business and succeed!