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Questions To Ask Before Purchasing A Plugin

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January 25th, 2011
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Darnell Clayton of BloggingPro has published his list of questions you should have answered before you spend your hard earned cash on a plugin. While most of his questions are good ones, I’d say one of the most important is the aspect of support after you pay. Some commercial plugin providers have switched from unlimited support for the lifetime of the product to yearly subscriptions. For example, a plugin may cost $50.00 for the initial purchase which includes a year of support and upgrades but after the first year, you can opt to pay $25.00 for support or only the upgrades. So far, I’ve had great success with the money I’ve spent on commercial plugins but thoroughly do your research before you spend anything.

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  1. Mike@Wordpress Rank Tracker (1 comments.) says:

    As I am launching my own WordPress plug-in to allow people to track their keyword position right from the blog, these questions actually help a lot. From the manufacturer side, I barely see these questions from the buyer side, so hopefully I can address them in the FAQ section of the plug-in. Thanks!

  2. Rick Anderson (3 comments.) says:

    I make my living off of my website so I’ve deliberately relied on premium plugins for the mission critical parts of my site. The rationale has been that I can’t afford to trust an important part of my site to someone who doesn’t have a viable model for making a living developing it.

    So I use a number of premium plugins and by on large I’ve been very pleased. Backup Buddy, S3FlowShield, WP eStore are examples of plugins that I’ve purchased that I’ve felt were well worth the money.

    Something everyone should do when considering a premium plugin is go to the support portion of the site. Hopefully there is a forum. You can tell really quickly from a forum how good the support is. Look at the IThemes forum (backup buddy)or the Tips and Tricks HQ forum (WP eStore) and you’ll see that they are very responsive to questions and problems.

    By contrast is Wishlist Member. This was the worst decision I ever made and would gladly change if I could find a membership plugin that did what I need and had a relatively clear upgrade path. If you look at their support forum you’d know to avoid their product. Unfortunately they are so well hyped that I didn’t check their forum and took their claims at face value. Thus this advice is hard won.

    One of the research problems that prospective purchasers face is the explosion of spam infomercial sites. I say spam because they don’t exist to provide information, they exist to attract your attention and then direct you to the plugin with their affiliate link. This doesn’t exist for free plugins but will bury you in BS for premium plugins.

    I love and appreciate Open Source, but we don’t really yet know the model by which a developer can reliably make a living developing something worth developing. So from my perspective premium plugins are absolutely essential to the success of a commercial website.



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