Embody The WordPress Spirit
Be The WordPress
So, it has been nearly one year since I uploaded my first plugin to the WordPress Plugin Repository. I have released three plugins of my own (WP SVG Icons, Expand Collapse Funk and YouTube Plus), and contributed to one (Yikes Inc. Easy MailChimp Forms). None of those plugins, mind you, have any premium features or need to be purchased before using. I’ve decided to release them all to the WordPress Plugin Repository for free use.
Don’t let money drive what you do, let passion.
Why So Free?
Well, it’s simple really. I want to give back to the community that’s helped me grow and ultimately given me a full time job doing what I love. I want to pay it forward for all those times other like minded developers have sat there and helped me with my site specific problem, sometimes for hours on end. I had contemplated releasing a few of my plugins as free, but limiting some functionality in them and selling upgrades to the pro version, but ultimately decided I didn’t want to take that route. WordPress is about freedom. It’s an open source platform built by the people, for the people. Now I know some of you are cringing at the thought of putting in the time and effort, to just give away the plugin, but I can assure you more good has come out of it than I ever thought possible.
Donations, Donations, Donations!
An alternative to charging people to use your plugin, is to simple ask for a small donation. I do so, by placing a small PayPal donation button within the plugin itself, and add a small message like “Please consider a small donation for the time and effort that went into developing this plugin”. The message and button don’t need to be obtrusive. You would be very surprised at how many people appreciate the hard work and free plugin, and will follow through with a donation. I get them frequently, especially after providing some solid support in the forums or through email.
While I may not be making hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even thousands of dollars, I’m still making a small amount of side money. And where do you think that side money goes? A new TV? A new computer? Car? House? Wrong. Nearly all of the money I’ve received from donations from my plugins or support has gone right into a Paypal account that I use to pay the entrance fees to my local WordPress Meetup and WordCamp. The donations I receive from developing WordPress plugins goes directly back into the WordPress community.
Marketing not Revenue Generation
I’ve come to embrace the WordPress open source community for everything it has to offer. Try and look at the theme/plugin repository and support forums as a way to market yourself and your abilities as a developer. Try not too look at it as a place to upsell your products and earn money. The WordPress community is a breeding ground for knowledge, and if trends keep up, in the coming years WordPress will power about %25 of all sites on the web. That is a huge number, so why not hone in your skills now and make a name for yourself within the community. I promise you, finding a job in the years to come will be cake.
Money Isn’t Everything, Passion is.
Sure, money is awesome. Everyone wants tons of it, as do I. But I’ve gained so much more than money by releasing plugins to the community. I’ve gained a sense of self worth, I feel like I have a stake in WordPress as a software. I’ve indirectly saved people hundreds of hours of development time on client sites. I’ve linked an already existing web service,Icomoon, with the widely successful publishing platform we all love, WordPress. Hell, I’ve even got some of my best client work from people finding me through my plugins in the repository. Don’t let money drive what you do, let passion.
The money is sure to follow.