Creating and Selling a WordPress Plugin as a Software Product

Selling or licensing plugins is what I call the “traditional” business model in the world of WordPress programming. There are over 50,000 free plugins found in the repository, all open source. Many of those have up-sells to paid, premium versions. There are also hundreds of premium plugins sold directly from websites and other commercial marketplaces.

To some, this would sound like a “saturated” market, but that is not a correct way of looking at how the plugin market functions.

  • Many of the plugins that exist are outdated or aging rapidly. New features in WordPress and other technologies (like APIs) now enable more feature-rich and advanced plugins to be developed.
  • The so-called “Bread-and-butter” plugins, like form builders, are not 100% locked in by the existing products. There is always room for the brand new approach, especially since there are so many new businesses and users coming online every day.
  • Inventive and creative programmers can find new ways of doing the same thing faster, easier, cheaper… or just plain more fun.
  • The WordPress admins and developers are constantly seeking new features and capabilities that will help make what they provide or sell more interesting and desirable to their users.