Back in October, I decided to extend my experiment of WordPress plugin development by producing a premium version of my free Slickr Flickr plugin that makes it easy to include your photos within a WordPress blog.
Originally I had been hesitant that no-one would pay for a premium version given that so many themes and plugins are free, but having researched and understood the GPL (GNU Public Licence) and the principles behind it, I decided to proceed. In a nutshell, the driving principle is that a user is free to change and distribute the software but the developer is able to charge for support and upgrades.
Therefore Slickr Flickr Pro version differs when the free version in that there is Priority Support via a private members forum plus a number of bonus features.
I decided to pitch the price low at $2 per month being mindful that the brilliant free WordPress theme ‘Hybrid’ only costs $25 a year for membership of Justin Tadlock’s support forum
Creating a paid version of WordPress plugin was not entirely straightforward as it involved creating a whole bunch of infrastructure: I ended up writing a plugin to integrate PayPal subscriptions with the InfusionSoft billing system, setting up a sales video, an order form, email templates, a membership site with training videos and a couple of support forums. All in all it took about a couple of months in total to get the whole marketing, sales and operational systems and processes together before a low key launch in mid December.
It has now been running along nicely with a handful of sales per day. The goal in the next few weeks is to ramp up the promotion of the plugin through social media, forums posts, blog comments and perhaps some guest blogging. I may actually have to do some tweeting!