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Think about that plugin

I want you to think about that plugin for a second. Think about if you really want it to be free.

No Really, I want you to think about Y-O-U

Specifically think about two key things:

  • Time
  • Dependency

I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts. But let’s stop for a few seconds and think about this.


Are you willing to watch every day, each week, to see what might happen in the core of WordPress that can have an effect on that plugin?  Or is it easier to pay a nominal fee to have someone else vested in worrying about that?

Are you going to make sure that the plugin is fully functioning / has no conflicts with other plugins?plugisn

There’s (currently) only 37,211 in the WordPress Repo, and thousands more sold independently.  Would it be smarter to pay someone else to monitor the compatibility, or are you willing to do that?

That’s a lot of time!

I want to talk about something that somewhat relates, but seems to be highly overlooked. When you think about that plugin, think about


How dependent are you on that plugin to stay functioning when WordPress updates?  More importantly, how dependent are your users:

How much do they rely on you?
How much do they rely on you? CC BY by alamirix
  • When they go to upload an image?
  • Make a post from the front end?
  • Subscribe?
  • Share?
  • Tweet?
  • Link out to your social media profile?
  • Checkout?
  • Update their profile?
  • Enter their email?
  • Preview a product?
  • Sort the categories?
  • Find your content on a SERP page?
  • Respond to a support request?
  • Post a private reply on a BbPress forum?
  • Review your business?
  • Leave a comment on your product?

When you really stop and think about it, ask yourself, “Do you really want to use that free plugin or do you want to have a vested interest in a paid plugin?”

Don’t get me wrong, some plugins are free. And that’s ok!  A lot of them provide some type of simple functionality. Some have hundreds of thousands of users to contributing to the plugin. Others have a ‘freemium’ business model that offers paid upsells to those hundreds of users which provides support.

But think about how much time, and how much is dependent on the plugin.

What happens when the free plugin on the repo suddenly stops working because of a WordPress update? What happens if there’s not hundreds of thousands of people to find the few that can fix the problem? How is that going to impact you, your time, and your users?

When the decision is made to add some new functionality to your WordPress site, and (for whatever reason) two plugins don’t play nicely together, what now? How is that going to impact you, your time, and your users?

When / if you find an obscure bug in the theme, does the plugin author have a vested interest in fixing the bug? How is that going to impact you, your time, and your users?

If you need some type of added functionality, or some specific integration, is the free plugin author going to be willing to help? How is that going to impact you, your time, and your users?

***Interesting side note*** Did you know that less than one tenth of one percent of people ever use the ‘donate’ button?donate

I’m all for open source.  But free?

Ok, enough of my thoughts. Your turn!


2 thoughts on “Think about that plugin

  1. Hi Brad – Great article. I also think we could all do better to leave a review for the plugins we use. It really helps users find what they are looking for and is a fantastic way to say ‘thanks’ to developers. My two pence 🙂

  2. Paying someone presupposes income high enough to do so. Then yes please!!! WP let’s the beginner realise that quantum mathematics is easier than 1+1. N that the square root of negative one can be proofed in 30 seconds.

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