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Premium WordPress Plugins: Questions To Ask Before Buying

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When it comes to installing WordPress premium plugins, there are a few extra questions users should ask beyond the “Is this plugin secure?” or “Can I trust this developer/company?”

While there is are greater expectations regarding premium plugins (mainly due to the fact that you’re paying them), not every premium WordPress plugin is worth their weight in code (regardless of which features they promise to deliver).

Regardless of whether you discovered the premium plugin upon the WordPress plugin directory or via a quick Google search, here are several questions you should ask before hitting the buy button.

Is There A Superior Non-plugin Option?

Improve WordPress SpeedNotice I said superior not cheaper option, as you can always find a less expensive plugin or solution (albeit sometimes with poorer results).

While WordPress users should always seek out the best plugins for their blogs, installing too many of them can increase the loading time of your site.

Before clicking the buy button, you should always look for a solution that doesn’t involve a plugin.

Example: Instead of installing Network Publisher (a freemium plugin) to handle posting links and posts to Twitter as well as Tumblr, it would be wiser to use FeedBurner (from Google) and Tumblr’s native post importer, respectively.

Can I Try It Before I Buy It?

Regardless of how you legally obtained your money, at the end of the day it’s your money and the last thing you want is to spend it on a bogus plugin (or anything bogus for that matter).

When searching out premium plugins, you should always seek out those that allow you to test out their product before you exchange your hard earned cash.

Many developers offer freemium plugins which give you the ability to demo basic features before upgrading to access more advanced services.

A few developers offer two different types of plugins (free and premium), allowing the masses to test out their free services to verify whether its worth purchasing the premium one.

Example: Disqus is a free WordPress plugin that offers freemium services while BraveNewCode markets WP Touch Free as well as WP Touch Pro (the latter which includes support for smartphones and tablets).

Is There Support After I Pay?

It doesn’t matter how awesome a WordPress plugin is if the support behind it is non-existent (or worse, extremely horrible).

Before buying a premium WordPress plugin you should always find out how much tech support the developers will provide, and (most importantly) whether they will help troubleshoot the plugin if it accidentally breaks your blog.

Usually the best way to find out about support is to ask previous users who have purchased the plugin, as well as read reviews about the plugin via a quick Google search.

You should also verify that you will receive support during the life of the plugin (i.e. throughout the current version) or until the company ceases to exist.

Always avoid “90 day warranty” support for your plugins, or those offering more support for more money (note: I am referring to premium/freemium plugins here, not free plugins).

Example: VaultPress by Automattic provides support (via email) for all of their users, as well as Ultimate Blog Security throughout the life of their plugin or service.

Do You Use Premium WordPress Plugins?

If so, what advice would you give to someone interested in purchasing one? And which premium plugins do you recommend based on past experience?

Feel free to share your advice in the comment section below!

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Comments

  1. Angélica Costa ) says: 1/25/2011

    Amazing. I have purchased some plugins and regret most of my decisions. I need to consider all the things you pointed. Thanks for the tips.

    Reply

  2. Julie says: 1/26/2011

    Thanks for this! I have purchased some plugins that are really buggy. Had one guy tell me that his forms plugin might have conflicts with other plugins and that’s why it is sending duplicate emails (on one test I got 17 emails – eegads) and that I should turn off the conflicting plugins. Hmmm. I need those other plugins. Really wish they would support a fix on this.

    One thing I really love about WP is how active the community is in giving feedback on plugins. I tried DNN on two websites and no one in the community gives any feedback or posts work-arounds which makes it really hard. With WP you can find answers and get help. WP is so superior to DNN in every way, I’ll be surprised if DNN is around in 2 years.

    Reply

    • Seth Shoultes ) says: 2/10/2011

      @Julie

      I am a plugin developer and I sell a premium event registration plugin.

      I have actually run into the issues you were having with multiple emails being sent from a form submission. It is true that this is sometimes caused by another plugin or even your theme. The reason this happens is because the developers of these plugin/themes do not abide by the WordPress standards.

      When the standards are not followed, you will get unexpected results. Such as the 17 emails from one form submission. Because you have a free or paid for a plugin installed on your site, doesn’t mean it is going to play nice with others. So usually the paid versions of plugins get the blame when something goes wrong. We should not be held responsible for the everyone’s shoddy themes or plugins when something goes wrong with our pliugins.

      Reputable theme and plugin developers spend many hours/weeks/months developing low-cost/open source solutions. Yet we are always the bad guy when something goes wrong with a theme or plugin that was thrown together in a few hours.

      Reply

  3. Brian Pate ) says: 1/26/2011

    I would recommend checking to see if there is a support forum for the plugin. Since the developers are often too busy to answer everyone’s questions, sometimes you can help each other out.

    Reply

  4. Pete says: 1/26/2011

    I bought a few custom plugins, just small ones. All except one went well and i’m happy with the end product. The big thing is to know EXACTLY what you want, be very very very very clear in your mind what you need, so you know what to insist on what questions to ask and how to answer the programmer’s questions. Nothing worse than paying for a plugin and finding out it needs an extra feature or doesn’t work in xyz situation.

    Always ask to see a working demo… “Don’t pay the ferry man until he gets you to the other side”

    Reply

  5. Ayron says: 1/26/2011

    Not just support if it breaks your site, but support for when WordPress changes versions. Are they upgrading the plugin to work with newer versions is an extremely important question I would have thought.

    Reply

  6. Roger ) says: 1/29/2011

    I only consider premium WordPress plugins if they will add real value to my blog. A main reason for considering premium, is for support. Free plugins get the job done sometimes, but don’t always have lasting support.

    Reply

  7. Sandal Wanita says: 2/5/2011

    Wow, this is what I’m looking for. Thanks for sharing and nice info.

    Reply

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  10. Batik Solo says: 2/8/2011

    Wow, I like this post. It gives me information that I never knew before. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  11. Flash plugins says: 2/23/2011

    Very recommendable advices. I think is very important that sellers can be offer a test version with watermark or somethink like that to allow customers prove plugins.

    Reply

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