Have you ever wondered how to monetize a WordPress plugin? Or do you have one that’s been sitting on the market for quite a while now but it’s not making enough money?

Sell it – Premium

This first step is a no brainer and one that you already know. It’s no secret that in order for you to earn, you should create a Premium version that you can sell three ways – through your website or via marketplaces. Each of which has an upside and a downside.

Selling via own website

Pro: If you decide to sell through your website, you have full control over your earnings so you keep 100% of the profit. It also serves as a landing page when someone decides to buy the premium version after discovery through the WordPress repository.

Con: You have to work really hard on your search engine optimization (SEO) to beat your competitors on search results. Otherwise, your website will just be one big snore-fest.

Selling via Marketplaces

Pro: Instant exposure to a huge client base and a seamless payment system.

Con: The marketplace takes a cut whenever you make a sale. The commission is in exchange of using the platform and the massive exposure.

Below are the top marketplaces for plugins:

1. Themeforest – New authors keep 50% of all sales and 70% as you sell more.
2. CodeCanyon – An Envato market category dedicated to plugins.
3. Mojo Themes – A growing competitor of Themeforest with similar commission rates
4. Mojo Code – New but robust marketplace for scripts and plugins
5. WP Eden – A new player in town that allows you to sell themes and plugins where authors can keep upto 75% of sales commissions.

My advice to sell on both  Since having your plugin on WordPress repository is a common practice, you will need a landing page which is your website in this case. For added exposure, listing your product on marketplaces will give you instant access to targeted customers, which is something you cannot easily have if you are just a newbie seller.

Service as a Software (SaaS)

This is another great way to sell that gives you a steadier revenue stream compared to one-time monthly purchases when selling Premium versions. With a monthly recurring service, it’s easier to estimate monthly income using your existing customers and applying your churn rate.

Vaultpress, a WordPress site backup and security service, uses this model.


Perhaps, one of the most effective strategies of making money from plugins!

By giving your users a free taste of your product features, there’s a higher chance that they will move on the paid version. And since you’ve established the value of your product in the freemium phase, users are more likely to stick with you longer.

Check out WooCommerce and Ninjaforms, two successful services built on this model.

Support installations & customizations

For plugins that are more complex to set up (e.g. needs custom data inputs), it’s better to release it for free then charge for set up. IgnitionDeck is one of a good example. It’s basically a crowdfunding plugin for WordPress sites that need expert assistance to make it work.

Affiliate links & commissions

One of the lesser-known ways to monetize a plugin is by using services that reward you a commission for each API call. For example, a payment gateway might give you a commission per transaction. You can offer the plugin for free but earn through each sale. This particularly works if you have a large user base.

Final Thoughts

Each plugin monetization strategy mentioned in this article is no better than the other. Look at your situation and try one that you think will works best for you. Test it and if it doesn’t work, don’t hesitate to try another model.

And ultimately, make sure that you have an awesome plugin that is worth purchasing or subscribing to. You can make this happen by hiring an expert WordPress plugin developer from Cyberlobe to convert your idea to a tangible and profitable WordPress plugin.