Building a WordPress eCommerce site?
You'll need to purchase some extensions to work with your plugin.
iThemes Exchange, WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads are each plugins that power eCommerce sites on WordPress – and like WordPress, they're each free.
The way they make their money is by selling you extensions.
(Sometimes even in bundles which make it easy to get all the extensions you need in a single purchase.)
You're paying for Support & Updates
It's easy to think that what you're paying for, when you buy the extensions, is the code. But all those plugins and extensions are licensed via the GPL.
That means that the code is free to read, review, change, duplicate and distribute.
See, what you're really paying for is support and updates to the code.
Trust me, if you were paying for the time it took to code some of these extensions, you'd pay a lot more.
Every year you'll be asked to Renew
When you're first building your eCommerce site, you'll be excited.
But then you start figuring out that you may need one, two, three or even four extensions. And suddenly you start worrying.
Not just because of how much it might cost you upfront.
You know you'll be asked, yearly, to pay renewal fees.
And I've had several people contact me, frustrated, wondering if they're getting ripped off.
You are not getting ripped off
Here's the thing that most people have to learn the hard way.
Many plugins that start with a bang are left on the side of the road when the lead developer is no longer interested in it.
It's a sad reality – especially if you've built a site and business around it.
When it happens, no matter whether it was free or you paid a small amount, you'll be frustrated and wonder what it takes to keep the developer engaged.
And here's my answer.
Developers stay engaged when they hear the good news as well as the bad news. When all they hear is the support requests, the complaining (and sometimes people complain in ALL CAPS), and the entitled BS that comes with building a plugin – when all they hear is crap, it's easy to move on.
But when they hear the good stuff – like how you're powering an amazing site using their software, like how much time it saved you, like your blog post telling all your friends about it, and yes, like the monthly report of the revenue that came in – when they hear the good, it tempers the bad.
You shouldn't worry about the renewal fees
This is why I don't think you should worry about the renewal fees.
If your site fails in the year, you won't be paying it.
If it succeeds, you'll be hoping that the developer stays engaged.
And if they do, it will be good news for you.
So embrace the extensions. Buy them up. And renew with pleasure.
Knowing that you're keeping a developer engaged to support your site and business.