WordPress is a vast ecosystem that rules the web with a whooping 40% of it using WordPress. With every passing day, WordPress becomes more and more popular platform not just for blogging, rather it has huge capabilities for scale if done correctly. In recent years, WordPress and its parent company (Automattic) has taken great steps to maintain the project and add more capabilities by adopting modern web technologies like React in its Gutenberg Editor.
In my opinion, the popularity and vast usage of WordPress comes from two aspects:
- Updates are backward compatible
One can update a WordPress installation with a click of a button with almost no chances of the update breaking anything. No one likes to mess up things just for updating a system. This is one of the huge benefits of WordPress
- Large number of plugins available
When it comes to enhancing the functionalities of WordPress, there are thousands of plugins available. Official plugins directory has more than 50,000 plugins, which is huge.
So, the major part of WordPress ecosystem is comprised of plugins, which can be free or paid. What if you have a WordPress plugin that you want to sell? There are many things to consider when selling WordPress plugins:
- It should be easy to complete a purchase with as many payment options as possible
- You should be able to verify the purchases made by the users
- Users should be able to activate the licenses right from the WordPress dashboard
- Most importantly, plugin updates should be smooth. No one likes to fire up the FTP client just to update a damn plugin.
None of the above is easy to manage and that’s where Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) comes in. Using EDD, you can sell wide range of digital products online. In this article, we are going to discuss about selling WordPress plugins.
When you install EDD plugin on your WordPress website, you get a sane set of defaults that should kick start the things for you. The first thing you might want to do is to set up the store and the payment options and EDD has lots of payment gateway integrations available. At wpsocio.com, we use Stripe Pro and and PayPal Express Gateway extensions from EDD to handle the payments.
Another most important extension that you need to sell WordPress plugins is the Software Licensing extension. This extension should basically handle everything for you to manage WordPress plugins:
- License key management
Through very simple, intuitive interfaces Software Licensing allows you to easily view and manage customer license keys.
- Licensing API
Software Licensing includes a JSON API that can be used for activating, checking, and validating license keys. This provides you a way to remotely activate and validate license keys within your plugin code. The only improvement I would expect from EDD is to provide a proper WP REST API for this that properly handles the requests, otherwise if you use front-end browser requests, you will have to deal with CORS issues.
- License renewals
Included with Software Licensing is a complete renewal system to allow customers to renew their license keys when they are nearing expiration.
- One-click updates to WordPress plugins and themes
This is the best and my favorite part of this extension. With the complete API for providing automatic updates for WordPress plugins and themes to valid license key holders, this add-on will not only make your life easier, but it will also thrill your customers by allowing them to update their themes and plugins to the latest version with a single click.
- Beta versions
Software Licensing includes support for releasing beta versions of your plugins so you can better test your releases before making them available to everyone.
After you install and set up Software Licensing extension, you are ready to go ahead and add your first WordPress plugin to sell. You can goto Downloads > Add New to get started.
Software Licensing also comes with variable pricing based on the number of activations allowed for the license, which is something really useful if you want to sell different variants of your WordPress plugins. For WP Telegram Pro, we added a single site, 5 sites, 10 sites and a 100 sites activation pricing which lets the users choose pricing of their choice.
We have been using EDD with the above extensions for almost a year now and the experience has been amazingly smooth for us and we don’t think there is any better alternative for selling your WordPress plugins yourself.