When I decided to start creating WordPress plugins, I started by creating 3 free plugins, BP Pretty Quotes, BP Post to Google Map and BP Expire Category. Despite the learning curve involved in making a secure plugin, it was fairly easy. Creating a premium version of my Google Maps plugin has been like starting a whole new business.
Writing the Code
The plugin code has been the easy part. Integrating the licensing system is more of a challenge. I’m using Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) and their Licensing plugin. Figuring out how it works and integrating it into my code was challenging, but after some refactoring I believe I have a reusable system.
Setting Up the Sales
I host my free plugins on the WordPress repository, so I needed an ecommerce store on my own site that would handle purchasing, the downloads and licensing. While EDD is easy to use, setting up a store, integrating the licensing, figuring out what the process is, creating the customer confirmation emails, etc, has been challenging. I had to let go of my self-imposed deadline to go live and be patient while I worked on getting my store up and running.
Setting Up Support
Oh yeah, a support system. I went with a forum-style support system. It is easier to use and most people are familiar with forums.
Plan on taking 2-3x more time writing your documentation than you think you will need. The screenshots, writing, reviewing and re-writing seem to take forever.
While testing the download portion of my new store I discovered new bugs in my plugin. This is a good thing, but it means more testing and more time. I’m spending 2 more days on testing just to make sure everything is working.
My Brain Hurts
Seriously. I’m dreaming about the plugin, the store, and the support forums. This process has consumed me for almost two weeks now.
On the Bright Side
Most of the work was getting the framework on place for selling and supporting plugins. Now that framework is in place I can concentrate on writing the plugins themselves. And that is a good thing because I’ve already thought up my next plugin – importing GPS/KML data to a post to display a line on a map (say a hike, walk, or trip).