WordPress plugins are great. They allow website owners to add features, style and functionality to their sites. You generally only need to click to install, and maybe check a few configuration options and you’re up and running.
Premium WordPress plugins generally offer more capabilities.
Developers write plugins to conform to pretty strict coding standards, and they need to be as ‘future-proof’ as possible. WordPress itself evolves over time. Underlying software programs such as php (the programming language on which WordPress is built) also change. All of this, as well as bug fixes means that plugin authors need to keep improving their software.
Free Plugins Good?
We all like free stuff – right? But think about it – how reliable is a plugin likely to be over the long term if the developer isn’t getting adequate recompense to keep it maintained? There are some really dedicated free plugin developers out there. However, it’s more likely you’re getting a robust solution, that’s up-to-date, and well supported if the developer is a proper business.
Here are my 3 reasons to buy premium WordPress plugins
- Support – You are far more likely to get a prompt reply to a support request if you are using a premium plugin.
- Security – Plugins are generally safe, but vulnerabilities do surface quite often. Premium plugins might be a little less likely to fall foul of a security risk. Plugin developers generally patch their premium plugins quickly. Earlier in 2016 a security vulnerability was identified in one of the 2 most used WordPress caching plugins. This plugin (which I’ll not name) has over a million installations. The developers took weeks to issue an update to the plugin, leaving potentially millions of sites exposed. Would a premium plugin have taken so long to be updated?
- Karma – good work deserves to be rewarded. Someone has committed a lot of time and expertise building a plugin you use to run your business. Would you expect to not pay your accountant, or not to pay business banking charges?
Here are a few Premium WordPress Plugins that I like
- Mailpoet – this is popular free newsletter plugin, that allows you to build lists and send mailshots directly from your website, rather than using an external service such as Aweber or Mailchimp. The premium version has some great additional features.
- Imagify – simple to set up, this image optimisation service works automatically within your WordPress site to optimise all images as they are uploaded AND can bulk optimise existing images.
- WP-Rocket – good caching plugin, written by the same people as Imagify. No complex configuration options, but can preload, work with CDN’s etc.
- WP Download Manager – if you need to offer your visitors a way to download files, maybe through a private area of your site, this is a good solution. The number of permutations available is daunting, but if you’re after a lot of options – WP Download Manager is for you.
In summary, you should consider your plugins as part of the overall cost of website ownership. We wrote about the costs of owning a website recently here. Don’t always avoid paid plugins in favour of free ones – often, the premium plugin will reap far more rewards for your site than their free competitors.
Often, premium WordPress plugins will only cost £10-£20 per year. If you’re worried that this is too much for your business, maybe you’re in the wrong business!
As always, try to source all of your WordPress plugins via the WordPress Repository (‘Plugins’->’Add New’ in your dashboard will show you these).