How to Earn Money With WordPress Plugins

How to Earn Money with WordPress Plugins

Do you want to sell your WordPress plugins and earn money? But you don’t know how to sell WordPress plugins? Well, first you must need to learn the WordPress plugins development, then you can follow this article. Because in this article we have discussed the full process of how to sell the WordPress plugins and earn money in detail. So without delay, let’s check it out:

Coders love to code. And some of them make a lot of money from their products. For example, The developers behind the popular “Avada” theme, earn around 100,000 US dollars per week by WordPress theme.

But not only through themes can you make huge profits. WordPress Plugins are also catching up more and more.

Hand on your heart, which freelancer is pushing so much revenue? None. Because these high sums cannot be achieved with a mere investment of time. Our working hours per day are limited. Time to finally sell products.

Why Sell WordPress Plugins?

Why should you create and sell a WordPress plugin? The answer to this question can vary on many terms. For me, depending on personal preference, there are two main reasons:

Reason 1:

WordPress Plugins are a good source of income for me in addition to my classic development work. As a web developer, I found myself in a situation that every freelancer has to go through when large customers were lost.

At the same time, the economic crisis occurred. That made the situation even worse. There were no new orders, also the previous orders were canceled immediately.

Suddenly you’re left with no income and you don’t know how to pay the next rent. Existential fears quickly arise. It is absolutely normal to happen.

but several years later, thanks to my plugin product sales, the world looks a lot better to me. The regular cash flow through passive income is a great thing. That made me a bit more independent and I didn’t have to accept as many WordPress jobs anymore.

It is only in the recent past that almost the same thing happened to a colleague with whom I have been working for a short time. The only customer left him. The memories came back right away. A desperate search for fundraising opportunities began for him. But that is usually difficult in such a situation.

Therefore one should take precautions. And when it comes to the topic of pensions, I come to my second reason:

Reason 2:

The software has now become a kind of investment and be one of the biggest economic trends for digital climbers.

Seen in this way, you have to consider your own WordPress plugin as an investment in the future. After all, it can not only create a good source of income but also a kind of capital investment.

Personally, I see more of the monetary benefit here, and you will learn at the end of the article there are other good reasons why you should create WordPress plugins.

How Can I Develop a WordPress Plugin?

Anyone who works more often with WordPress and successfully earns their bread with it is usually predestined for such a task. It is not only me but also many of my customers who often feel like this:

  • At some point, you come up against the performance limits of existing WordPress plugins.
  • A plugin is no longer being developed.
  • Of the around 52,000 WordPress plugins in the official wordpress.org directory, there is none that fits a specific task.
  • There is no plugin for an existing special request.

The world is big and the likelihood that someone will reach exactly the same limits as you are also high. So, as a developer, if you have a solution to a certain problem, chances are that someone else will need the same solution. So you don’t have to sit down and spend hours thinking about which plugin to develop. The ideas come almost all by themselves if you deal with WordPress for a long time. The best part is that the plugins that are created in this way are simply the best. Because only you know yourself the best about your own problems and can therefore find the optimal solution.

What are the Popular Topics?

If you ask yourself why most WordPress users operate a website, then you inevitably come across the answer of making money. Personally, I always wonder how you can help these WordPress users to make more money with their websites. And there can be several solutions to this. WordPress Plugins for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) have the example of extensions that are always well received. Because they will hopefully help to get better rankings in search engines. And that, in turn, helps to make money.

How Do I Start

Basically, anyone can get started right away if they have a basic knowledge of PHP development. To run WordPress you need a locally running web server with a MySQL database and PHP. All of this is called the web service stack. You can install this yourself or use existing tools. The most tried and tested of these is XAMPP for windows, which is available for all operating systems. In addition, there are other derivatives that are limited to certain operating systems.

These tools offer the advantage that the following can be set dynamically:

  • the web server (usually Apache or NGINX),
  • the PHP version (usually from 5.2.x to 8.0.5)
  • as well as the MySQL version (often 5.5 and 5.7 or MariaDB> 10.x).

I will explain in more detail in a moment why the conversion of the webserver or PHP version is important. But first I would like to mention other interesting tools.

Local by Flywheel (Windows, Mac) is my favorite. The program creates its own WordPress environments in virtual Docker containers on the home computer. It was created for WordPress development and installs WordPress with every new page. Likewise the WordPress command-line tool. The program is also interesting for anyone who just wants to try WordPress out quickly.

The WordPress Plugins Development

A) Code Editors for WordPress Development

Now it’s time to start developing. You need an editor for this. It is best to have one who understands the WordPress coding standards and helps the developer via autocomplete to find and use known functions that are already included in the core. This makes work easier, especially for inexperienced people.

I would like to mention Sublime. This app is widely used and appreciated by colleagues. There is no direct WordPress integration here either. Various extensions circulating on the net add some functions.

As always, code can be written with almost any editor. It doesn’t have to be one of the above. Coding standards that can be applied to any script with a keyboard shortcut or built-in debugging are worth their weight in gold.

B) Start Development

The idea is in your head, WordPress is running locally and the code editor is open. Time to get down to work. But how do you start and how to develop a WordPress plugin?

But that’s not at all. Many Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) of WordPress can be used to get to your goal faster. For example, there is a widget API to create your own widgets for sidebars. Or the HTTP API, which makes it extremely easy to access external content. This means that the wheel does not always have to be reinvented.

What Should a Standard Plugin Have?

How Many Functions Should My Plugin Have?

As mentioned at the beginning, Coders love to code. Developers just love to develop. Often for hours, days, months. Then everything is thrown overboard and started all over again. Yes, we love coding and that’s a good thing. But to get your first own and sellable plugin, I think it has to be done quickly. Not in a rush and not without having tested thoroughly beforehand. But the expression “early launch” should be internalized. “Less is more” also applies here. A small plugin with fewer functions is better than an overloaded flagship. For two reasons:

Reason 1: The more code you generate, the more you have to test. Earlier in the article, I recommended using local web service stacks like Local for Flywheel. Among other things, to be able to quickly switch between PHP versions. Because it is not clear which version is actually used by a user. Therefore you have to test with older versions. In the case of support inquiries, one must also be able to reproduce the approximate conditions of a customer in order to be able to understand any errors.

Reason 2: The customers lead the way. Many functions that were initially thought to be absolutely necessary are not often used. That is, you often develop them for nothing. If you start small and listen to your customers, you develop exactly what they need. A win-win situation arises and you can save yourself a lot of work.

What are the Technical Requirements?

WordPress can officially still run with PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0. However, PHP 8.0.5, MySQL 8.0, or MariaDB 10.5 is recommended. One would do well to continue to support older versions because many users cannot update to newer versions due to dependency on old themes and plugins. There is a PHP meeting group in the WordPress community and the members have made it their goal to gradually stop supporting older PHP versions. This is quite a difficult task because there are still older WordPress versions circulating on the internet that have to be updated beforehand. For this purpose, an info page will soon be set up on wordpress.org, which is supposed to gently teach the technically less experienced user how to update PHP. And if that doesn’t work, he will receive information on how to pass this on to his web host.

If you plan to upload your WordPress plugins to the free WordPress directory on wordpress.org, it will soon be a little easier. A minimally supported PHP version can now be stored in the readme.txt file, which must be enclosed with every plugin. It is a matter of time before this feature is also adopted in the WordPress core. And this means that users can no longer install versions of plugins at all if the webserver does not have the right requirements.

What Happens After the Sale of WordPress Plugins?

Now it’s ready, your own plugin. Not only the code is important, but also the layout, the design, the UX design, and much more. There are a thousand reasons why customers complain and then rate the WordPress plugins poorly. Since ratings ultimately contribute significantly to the purchase decision, they are an important marketing tool. You should try to avoid reviews that are too bad.

Users almost never read code. And they don’t want that either. Bad ratings are usually only given because of functionality or difficult handling. If you don’t have a designer in your team, you should at least have the basic knowledge.

Now you can already imagine that a customer’s expectations of a plugin is high. It should:

  1. present yourself well,
  2. work perfectly,
  3. do exactly what the user imagines,
  4. be as affordable as possible and
  5. to be further developed.

But it doesn’t stop there either. The customer is expected to receive the highest level of support. This is of course due to the plugins and themes that sell best, push 60,000 USD per week in sales and for this money can assign many employees to keep the support effort away from the actual developers. This can be overwhelming for every beginner. Especially under the aspect that you can never please everyone. For example, you cannot get affordable prices for someone who is in the third world.

Where Can I Publish?

Which are the Most Famous Stores?

There are some other platforms, in my opinion, no one comes close to CodeCanyon for one simple reason is that Coders want to code. Marketing is a chump. CodeCanyon has so many walk-in customers that almost no marketing is necessary to generate a good additional income.

Graduated fees at CodeCanyon
Graduated fees at CodeCanyon

However, this luxury is bought with fees between 12.5% ​​and 50%. If you want to sell your plugin on your own website in addition to CodeCanyon, you have to deduct 50% by default. If you want to earn more, there is only one option left to offer WordPress plugins exclusively at CodeCanyon. Then you start with fees of 37.5% and meander up or down. Because the fees are dependent on sales. with a turnover of 75,000 USD, you only have to give 12.5% ​​to the operator.

The way Envato deals with newly submitted products is rather negative. You only get a short e-mail which either signals that the plugin has been added to the marketplace or you receive a rejection that is not very meaningful. The rejection emails, which usually only contain one sentence, are even listed online. It says something like “Your submission doesn’t meet our quality requirements”. Of course, you can submit the plugin again, any improvement measures you make in this regard.

How Do You Sell Yourself?

Marketplace sites like CodeCanyon can help ease entry into the new WordPress plugins business. You can get to the first paying customers quickly and slowly get used to the trappings, such as the support. But that doesn’t work with every product. For example, if you want to offer Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and you depend on receiving monthly payments from customers.

In addition, you may not want to use such a marketplace or take over the marketing entirely yourself. Then the following tools are helpful:

  • Digital products can be sold with the WooCommerce plugin.
  • EasyDigitalDownloads is also a plugin for WordPress, which as a shop system specializes in the sale of digital products. The manufacturer goes one step further than WooCommerce. In turn, the plug-in can be expanded to include additional plug-ins, for example, for software licensing.


You can see every marketplace has advantages and disadvantages. At CodeCanyon, you have almost nothing to do with payment processing. With WooCommerce and EasyDigitalDownloads you have to register with all possible payment providers yourself, take care of the payment processes and invoicing. In every country, there are some tax hurdles to be aware of when doing international trade.

Why Not Offer the Plugins for Free?

Of course, there is still the possibility to give away WordPress plugins completely free of charge. Perhaps also in the hope that users will be willing to donate some amount of their own free will. Personally, I would stay away from it. Because experience has shown that no one donates, and if it does, only a small amount can make an additional income. That’s why I’m not even going into it.

How you ultimately decide is up to you and certainly depends on your own convictions and the business plan. It is very likely that the official WordPress plugin directory has even more walk-in customers than all of the above-mentioned sites combined. In addition, you create a high user base from the start.

Probably the best-known freemium plugin is the “Yoast SEO” plugin. It helps WordPress to expand in the area of ​​search engine optimization. The Yoast team uses the free version as an entry gate for further products. It therefore not only offers a premium version but also services on the topic of SEO, which then provides the necessary income.

In summary, it can be said:

  1. Don’t give away WordPress plugins for free if you intend to make money from them.
  2. Freemium only if you can quickly build up a high user base and manage to sell the premium version to as many users as possible. Maybe only when you can offer other products or services in addition to the premium version.
  3. Use marketplaces if you don’t want to concentrate on marketing for the time being and don’t want to offer any extraordinary products.

You May Also Read: Best WordPress Social Media Sharing Plugins

How Do I Find the Right Price? 

That is a good question and in the end, it is probably a commercial decision that everyone has to make for themselves. A few years ago, you could not choose the price yourself with CodeCanyon. The plugin was then valued at between five and about 50 US dollars. I never really understood how these awards came about. That was probably at the discretion of the currently available employee. Basically, you usually had the feeling that the operators wanted to keep prices as low as possible.

You can now choose the prices yourself. As in any case, the price should be set carefully and not set too low if possible. All in all, the price change has more than paid off for him. Not only was there higher income despite falling purchases. The team’s morale has also risen.

So you should consider right from the start:

  • How much time did I invest in my plugin?
  • How much is this time worth?
  • What number of support efforts do I expect?
  • What are the additional cost drivers (PayPal fees, etc.) and how do I include them in the invoice?

In addition, the question arises whether a one-off price is profitable or whether one has to introduce monthly or annual prices in order to be able to finance further development.

But I can think of another positive point is that the customers can update to the latest versions earlier and faster. So you have less to do with old plugin versions. The support effort is reduced and a win-win situation arises again for everyone involved.

Final Words

Developing a plugin from scratch is one thing. Dealing with design, marketing, pricing and the like is another. Those who are already a freelancer are used to doing a lot of things on their own. Therefore, I think the first custom plugin is a challenge, but not an impossible goal. The moment you hit the publish button is indescribable. Just like the moment of the first sale and customer support. One can only benefit from the way there. You learn things that you didn’t know before.

You don’t always have to develop something completely new to earn money. There are many WordPress plugins whose basic ideas can be implemented better. After all, competition is good for business. It’s not for nothing that there are several form plugins today like ContactForm7, WPForms, NinjaForms, weForms, TorroForms, GravityForms, PirateForms, Formidable, and so on. And everyone does their business. Nowadays these WordPress plugins don’t differ in functionality, but in other things like design. And that starts with the sales page, goes beyond the handling of the plugin and beyond the customer support.

In the end, you will notice that you have the feeling that WordPress is bringing the world closer together. And that’s a great feeling. So follow our guidelines to earn more money by selling your WordPress plugins.

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One Comment

  • Monjurul Hasan says

    I was really looking for a blog like this. I have learned a lot from this blog. Thanks in advance and this was fabulous and very helpful information.

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