Validating a Wordpress plugin?

I’m just getting started and I think one time purchase products are the way to go for me. I’ve been looking into productised services (hi Brian!) but at the moment I’m a gun-for-hire developer and I don’t do anything repeatable with clients that can be turned into a service. Most of the stuff I do is backend services, although I try to avoid PHP, I feel Wordpress plugins are a good fit for the skills I have.

How do I go about validating something like this though, without spending a few weeks to a month building it? Most plugins are discovered on which is akin to the App Store in terms of discovery.

Heh- I clicked this thread bc it was about WP plugins (I’m working on one now too)… Hi there Lucas!

@philderksen @johnnytee @daverodenbaugh @bradt all run successful WP plugin businesses so they’d have better advice on this.

My take: Build a WP plugin that you actually need / plan to use yourself. Scratch your own itch. If nothing else, you’ll solve your own problem. But you’ll also gain the experience of building something, releasing it, marketing it.

That’s what I’m doing right now… Building 2 plugins that I need to use in my new productized service (Audience Ops). Once we work out the kinks through using it internally, I’ll plan on releasing them as free and pro versions.

Release a free version on and learn that process. If it’s not something people are actively searching for already, then you might try some targeted cold email outreach.

Hey Lucas, here’s a video of how I went about my first commercial plugin…

Hey Brad, thanks for the video. So basically you did what Brain said - built something for yourself, released it as a free plugin, then validated with the users of the free version whether they would be interested in a pro version.

I’m wondering if there is more a repeatable workflow approach to go about developing plugins though. Taking productised services, you can validate those by approaching customers you think that would be a good fit and talking to them about it with very little upfront work. I guess you could do the same with this by approaching developers - but as with anything aimed at us developers, it’s one thing getting a yes and another getting them to actually pay.

(The bit about comments was interesting… I have an app in the Google Play store - again scratched my own itch - that I haven’t touched for a few years. I have clear instructions in the listing to email me if they have issues or need support, but of course the only way they say something is broken is by leaving a negative review :smiley:)

Hi Lucas,

I’d worry less about a repeatable workflow approach and go for a market-first approach. What group of people have a problem that a WP plugin could solve that are underserved? Or what current offerings in the repo are there that are poorly supported that have commercial potential.

I’ll say that anytime someone wants to make something for developers, I cringe a bit because that market is littered with free tools that no one pays for because developers want everything for nothing. In that sense, it’s a really poor commercial market in my opinion.

Of course, someone will counter me below with how developers buy stuff all the time, but WP plugins are not the same as code review tools, IDEs, GitHub accounts, etc. If you want to have a successful WP plugin, in my experience you have to do these things in order:

  1. Make your plugin visible to customers on the repo
  2. Make the free version viable enough that customers trust you
  3. Create a premium version that has an interesting feature or three that they want (but don’t cripple the free version! That will break the trust from #2!)
  4. Have super awesome support to reinforce their trust
  5. Get their email address so you can market those upgrades to them
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Great feedback guys, thanks.

We’re thinking about writing a free plugin to test the water with wordpress plugins. It’ll be aimed at people who run affiliate websites.

How and when do you request an e-mail address from people who use the free version of the plugin?

Hi all,
Like others, I clicked on this thread, because it is about building WP plugin. I am bootstrapping my new startup and looking for WP plugin developer (or team). To be frank, i am also looking for affordability too. Any suggestions? I tried going through elance/upwork kind of route but i am getting quality for what i have paid. Quite catch-22 situation here.

I am programmer but not PHP. I am hoping to get plugin developed from someone, who has done real plugin development for quality & time sake.

I would love to help you.
Let me know through and we can discuss anything else needed.