If you noticed, we mentioned about spending USD 20k on building this site on our post on the WordPress plugins and themes guide. I casually mentioned the same thing this morning, during a sumptuous breakfast of nasi lemak and fried chicken, to a lady who was keen on starting her own website and perhaps her own online store.
“You spent so much on a website?”, she asked, while being startled
“Yes, we did. But it’s a worthwhile investment”, I answered
“But I thought it very cheap to start one, and you can easily make money it. All my friends who have an online store are rich!”, she replied, almost naively
“Very cheap to start one? What do you mean?”, I asked, curious to find out what she thought.
“Yea, just start one, and make a lot of money…”, she again answered
Indeed, starting a website might seem easy and free, but is it really so? A lot of times, people make the mistake of either using a free theme, or even worse, downloading a premium theme off the net for free, not knowing it has already been hacked with malicious coding. And most Malaysians won’t invest on premium WordPress plugins, because it seems too expensive.
Why not? : Free plugins vs Premium Plugins
Free plugins also comes with its share of problems. While some are good and frequently updated, you need to beware of those that are not updated and pose a security risk to your website. Many websites get compromised by hackers when their installed plugin either has a security vulnerability or hasn’t been updated when one if found.
1) Premium WordPress Plugins : Constant Improvements and Development
However, one of the foremost advantages of having a premium plugin is, the developer always has time to improve the plugin. Otherwise, someone else would develop a better plugin than him.
Take a look at Gravity Forms for example. It is by far the best WordPress form plugin, and new features are being added constantly, while the code is constantly reviewed and changed to avoid being deprecated (meaning to stop working).
This is because WordPress itself is constantly changing, evolving to be an application framework. As such, 10-15% of WordPress’ codes are constantly being changed in each update. 1 This makes WordPress an ever-changing platform, whereby plugins will get outdated if they are not updated.
We rewrite or refactor about 10 to 15% of WordPress in most releases, so that we can keep users getting updates and new features quickly, while doing the â€œground up rebuildâ€ incrementally in the background, fixing bugs and getting feedback as we go. Sometimes old functions hang out for a while… [such as] deprecated.php. Thatâ€™s because we try to be good about backwards-compatibility, so that people can upgrade to the latest version without worry.
Matt Mullenweg (CEO & Founder of Automattic)
Gravity Forms also has a number of features that only other premium WordPress form plugins have, namely things like multi-stage forms, conditional logic, auto responders, integration of Paypal, Mailchimp and aWeber among others. All these aren’t available on the most popular free WordPress form, Contact Form 7.
Which means, if you were to need a complex registration form, or if you wanted to capture details of your customer that you could not before this,Â it is not do-able, which leads us to our next point
Constant improvement by the Premium Plugin developers also mean that bugs get ironed out and you, as the website owner, gets to focus on your website, instead of bothering yourself with the heavy lifting of codes and debugging.
2) Premium WordPress Plugins : Adds functionality to your WordPress installation
Just like how apps from the iTunes App Store transforms your iPhone into a Japanese-English dictionary, or a Gameboy wannabe, Premium WordPress plugins brings functionality to your website.
Sure, you might argue that you could probably use free WordPress plugins and not be bothered. But premium plugins in most cases adds a dash of extra to your WordPress site, supercharging it to do things that perhaps would have cost so much more to build if you were to employ a Malaysian Web Developer to do.
For example, if you were considering building the next Jobstreet, you won’t need to spend tens of thousands of Ringgit in development and months of time in testing and deployment. You could purchase ready made ones off the shelf for only USD 99 or so, depending on the developer.
In comparison, if you were to develop something similar, you most probably got to put in hundreds, if not thousands of development hours. Lets say, if we cap the development the Job Board website at 1000 man hours, and that the fee for the developer is RM 50/hour, it would easily be RM 50,000 to get the same functionality.
In the same measure, I remember once asking a well recommended web developer who told me to stay off WordPress based commerce system, for a quote. We met at some nice coffee shop in Damansara Uptown, whereby he boasted of the various corporate clients he had under his wings, before we could even talk about our requirements.
When we started telling him that we needed auto email responders, good product filtering, product tabs and the various things that a modern ecommerce shop should have, he started with a ball park figure of RM 100k. And that is only for the first year. Maintenance and upgrading would cost around RM 30k/year. And I bet it wouldn’t look half as good, nor have half the functionality it has now.
But yes, as WordPress moves towards being an App Framework, you basically could do anything with it, for a price. But the price of programming something similar yourself would perhaps cost so much more.
Premium WordPress Plugins : Premium support for your website
Having a premium WordPress plugin would also give you a piece of mind if you need help. Most of the time for free plugins, the developer has to work and only is able to respond during his/her free time. But with a premium plugin, the developer would want to help you, as that would help you stay on as a customer.
They are able to help you cut down the number of hours wasted on trying to solve an issue by yourself, if it were a free plugin. Other than FAQs, some also offer live chat support, which helps you real-time on your questions and problems with the WordPress plugin.
If you are new to WordPress, or if you haven’t invested on premium WordPress plugins, you might want to start today. Granted, you might not need as many extensions as we do on TechGarage, if you are running an online store, but great premium WordPress plugins does a world of difference to your site.
- http://inside.envato.com/the-future-of-wordpress/Â â†©