Is CodeCanyon a Good Place to Sell Your Premium WordPress Plugin?

So, you’ve started out as a WordPress Plugin Developer and are looking to make it big. You may be looking for a means of successfully selling your plugin, or perhaps you’ve already been making efforts with little success to date.

If you believe the sales pitch, CodeCanyon should be the answer to your less-than-stellar sales. It provides a popular marketing platform that will enable an uncountable number of people to discover and purchase your plugin.

But does CodeCanyon really deliver? It’s certainly not the only way to succeed as a WordPress plugin developer, so you’d do well to consider your options carefully before making the next step. Keep reading to discover the pros and cons of operating within the CodeCanyon ecosystem; by the end, you’ll know what to do next.

What Is CodeCanyon?

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CodeCanyon is an online marketplace that enables WordPress developers to share their products with the world.

It hasn’t enjoyed the most positive reputation within the core WordPress community over the years (most concerns have focused on licensing issues and a perceived lack of quality in terms of the products sold), but that hasn’t prevented its huge success. CodeCanyon has an enormous customer base – big enough to enable some developers to build seven-figure businesses.

How Does CodeCanyon Help Developers?

In a nutshell, CodeCanyon enables developers to market, distribute and sell their products to interested clients. Can you do that without CodeCanyon? Of course. Would it be as easy? Probably not. Do CodeCanyon take a commission for providing you with a platform to distribute your products? Naturally.

Many WordPress developers are happy to give up a proportion of their sales income in return for a platform upon which to sell their products. This makes a lot of sense because most developers want to develop plugins, not market them. Development is what they’re good at and what they want to do, so if CodeCanyon can provide a platform upon which to sell products, the slice of the pie they take can be seen as a ‘necessary evil’.

Is CodeCanyon Right for You?

There are numerous factors that must be taken into account when you decide to sell your plugins. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using CodeCanyon as your primary marketing channel.

Pros of Using CodeCanyon to Sell Your Plugins

  • Publicity for your plugin.
  • A large customer base to tap into.
  • An established marketing and distribution channel.

Cons of Using CodeCanyon to Sell Your Plugins

  • CodeCanyon is a highly competitive market.
  • Brand recognition is difficult.
  • You’re bound by the CodeCanyon’s terms.
  • Auto-renewals are not an option.
  • The commission rates are pretty high by most people’s standards.
  • Communication with clients is only possible via CodeCanyon.

CodeCanyon clearly works for many people, otherwise it wouldn’t be so successful. Similarly, thriving away from CodeCanyon is certainly possible; there are more WordPress developers than I can count proving that fact.

With that in mind, choosing the right direction for you must come from you. You need to weigh up the pros and cons as they apply to your unique circumstances.

Having said that, we can help to point you in the right direction.

Choosing Which Way to Go

Whether CodeCanyon is the correct direction for you has a lot to do with (a) what stage your business is in, and (b) what business model you would like to adopt. Let’s consider three common circumstances in turn.

1. Established Businesses

Adding your premium plugin(s) to the CodeCanyon repository can be a nice way to boost existing sales, as long as you are comfortable that it will not adversely affect your existing income streams. However, many established businesses will choose instead to focus on building their own brand and platform rather than contributing to the growth of another.

2. First Timers With Premium Plugins

If this is your first time entering the world of online business and you only have a premium version of your plugin to sell, CodeCanyon is arguably the optimal solution. It provides a simple way of selling your plugin, and you can be up and running in no time at all. The alternative solution – creating a marketplace for your plugins (i.e. a website, payment processor, etc.) – might be too overwhelming to consider at this stage.

With CodeCanyon, first-timers can test out their assumptions in a real-world scenario with few downsides. Positive feedback and attention from an established customer base could give you the confidence you need to move forward.

3. First Timers With Freemium Plugins

If you want to adopt the freemium approach to selling plugins, CodeCanyon is arguably not the optimal solution. If you’re going to be relying on WordPress.org to supply a steady stream of potential customers via your free plugin, CodeCanyon would offer few additional benefits.

As an alternative, we would recommend that you check out Freemius. Let’s explore why it could be the best solution for you.

Building a Freemium Business Model With Freemius

freemius

In a nutshell, at Freemius we work exclusively with developers who want to adopt a freemium business model to sell their WordPress plugins.

Marketing and Distribution

With Freemius, developers can advertise a free version of their plugin on the WordPress.org plugins repository to their customers. As you are no doubt aware, the repository represents a huge opportunity to gain exposure for your plugin.

Optimal Migration

We enable your customers to buy the premium version of your plugin directly from their WordPress dashboard. In other words, we make the upgrade process as smooth as possible.

Low Commission Rates

Initially, developers are charged 30% of the price of the plugin through Freemius. This rate drops over time as sales increase. We support recurring payments with auto-renewals and enable developers to set up monthly, annual and lifetime billing periods.

Transparency

We handle all plans, licensing and payments transparently. We also give you full access to the customers you acquire by enabling you to export your contact lists at any time.

Conclusion

If you’re a developer only just setting out into the world of selling plugins, CodeCanyon can be immensely useful for promotion and accessing your customer base. However, if you are a more seasoned developer or you intend to offer a freemium plugin, it could be worth assessing alternatives to CodeCanyon, such as our very own Freemius.

What are your thoughts on CodeCanyon? Where do you prefer to advertise and sell your plugins? Let us know in the comments below!

4 comments

  1. Hello Vova,

    There are very less resources on the web which guides to sell wordpress plugins, fortunately I got this article that actually describes about “how to sell wordpress plugins” instead of “plugins that helps to sell”.

    Thanks for reviewing CodeCanyon, what is your opinion about https://www.sellwp.co ? Though it launched back in 2014 there is not a single useful review written about it? Is sellwp trustworthy? Are there any other platforms available to sell wordpress plugins or theme? The platform should be like automatically send the notification to theme or plugin buyers when we update the files. Thanks in advance.

     
    1. Thanks for the reply @Shrinivas. I think SellWP is a fantastic product. I’m a friend of John Turner, the founder, and learning from his experience to make Freemius better. Btw. we recently launched great analytics platform for plugin developers, you should check it out – Freemius Insights.

       
  2. Does the 30% commission include Insights or is Insights a separate charge? If it includes Insights, does that mean that if I had 20,000 active users in the WP repo, a pro version of the plugin, but no sales, then I’m not paying Freemius anything?

     
    1. Hi Marios, that’s correct! If you monetize with Freemius you get our Insights solution for free. As long as you don’t make any revenues, you don’t pay us anything 🙂

       

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