Is CodeCanyon a Good Place to Sell WordPress Plugins?

Is CodeCanyon a Good Place to Sell WordPress Plugins?

Hi! I’m Ben from Freemius. Imagine this situation – you arrive home after
a hard day’s work and you ask yourself- “what should I eat for dinner?” On one hand, I can cook something that will
be cheap but will probably take some time to prepare, and on the other hand, I can order
something that will probably be more expensive but ready to eat in no time without the whole
cooking hassle. But that creates a problem with my bank account… As WordPress plugin developers, we are faced
with many different options on how to sell our plugins, with some options benefitting
our bank accounts and some options hurting them. Many of us rely on marketplaces like CodeCanyon
as the most common and easiest solution available. But, will selling through CodeCanyon help you
create a significant flow of income? Is that really the best way to create a long
lasting sustainable business? In this video, I’ll go through the pros and
cons of selling on CodeCanyon and show you that selling your plugins on this marketplace
is definitely not the only way to go. Let’s plug-in! Before we get started, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel for future videos. If you’re watching this directly on YouTube, you can click the alert icon for notifications about new releases. CodeCanyon is a well-known plugins marketplace
that handles selling and distribution – and their platform has a huge base of buyers and
sellers. Many developers use CodeCanyon to sell their
plugins – some of them even have a seven-figure business running through it. Is it possible to sell successfully outside
of CodeCanyon? The answer is most definitely – YES! Before talking about alternatives, let’s examine
some of the benefits of using CodeCanyon. I know developers who have thriving businesses
selling through CodeCanyon. After all, we as developers usually enjoy
building cool products – that’s what we’re good at – not selling them. Many of us don’t like the hassle of marketing
and selling our plugins, and if CodeCanyon takes that burden off our backs, why not pay
a price for it? It’s a great “perk”. Another benefit of listing your plugin on
their marketplace is that they have a solid review process – so you get some professional
feedback when you start selling your plugins through it. The bad news is that the price you pay to
sell your plugins through CodeCanyon can be very high – not only in terms of the commission
you pay for their services – but also in other ways that will definitely eliminate the chance
of your business becoming a sustainable form of income that you can actually make a living
from. Don’t forget that because CodeCanyon is a
very popular marketplace, competition is fierce. As of the filming of this video, there are
more than 7,100 WordPress plugins for sale on CodeCanyon. In addition to that, customers tend to go
with the most popular plugins that are typically listed before others on the search result
page. With this approach to search results, popular
plugins stay popular – and new plugins like yours – which are as good as the popular ones
– are easily ignored… As a beginner seller – you won’t have any
other choice but to market and promote your plugins in addition to listing them on CodeCanyon
in order to get some traffic… This contradicts the whole premise of a marketplace,
which is supposed to completely take care of the marketing of your products. This brutal competition drives a “race to
the bottom”, making many developers lower their prices significantly. This kind of “race” makes sense since
CodeCanyon serves developers from all over the world. So, the cost of living can be very different
from one developer to another. Developers that need less money for their
living won’t have much problem lowering prices… The same thing goes for customers as well. Why should they buy your plugin if they can
find a similar plugin for a cheaper price in a click of a button? How can you make your brand stand out in this
ocean of products? A common technique is lowering your prices
to attract more attention. Even if you try this strategy and you start
driving more sales, due to the pricing structure of CodeCanyon, the lower your price goes the
higher the percentage commission you pay. For example, if you are a new seller and you decide
to sell your plugin for 30 dollars, you are left with less than half of it – even
before paying any taxes! Every WordPress plugin developer should ask
themselves if that is a price they’re willing to pay. Not only that, but CodeCanyon has a very strict
exclusivity policy that will milk even more commission out of you if you sell your plugin
elsewhere. This means that 30 dollars will become
only 9.5. If you lower your plugin’s price to 10
dollars it will leave you with a whole 50 cents… That’s 95 percent commission!! I can’t really imagine how it’s possible
to build a sustainable business this way. Another thing that makes CodeCanyon so limiting
is the fact that there are no automatically renewing subscriptions. Buyers pay once for downloading your premium
plugin, get six months of support, and a lifetime of updates. Customers have the option to extend their
support package, but in reality, most of them don’t. After a year or so you end up with a base
of customers that stop paying, but they’re still eligible for ongoing updates, which
kind of forces you to keep supporting them forever whether you like it or not. Let’s say that you released an update for your
plugin with a bug that broke a few customer’s sites – which happens to all of us at some
point. What if you have a user who bought your plugin
3 years ago and the new update destroyed their site? Think of the damage to your brand if you refuse
to fix that issue for free. A great way to promote your plugin is through
affiliate marketing – which does exist on CodeCanyon but again – in a very limited form. The affiliate program’s terms are not attractive,
but you have no choice other than to comply with them. That means your chances of getting professional
affiliates to promote your plugins are very slim. The list of limitations when using CodeCanyon
to sell plugins just goes on and on… – you don’t have a direct connection with
your customers, you don’t even know who they are and you can’t contact them in case
you decide to move away from CodeCanyon! You also can’t create any promotion sales
or coupons for special occasions like Black Friday, for example… which really limits
you on the marketing side. Do you think you’ll be able to create a
sustainable business that can thrive within the rigid limitations set by CodeCanyon? It is definitely not easy to choose the right
path for your business. I think that the best starting point for deciding
is to ask yourself “what’s the stage of my plugin business?” Am I just starting? Do I already have some plugins on the market? Is my business well-established? Do I want to try using a different business
model to grow my sales? If you are just starting your business and
want to sell premium-only plugins – CodeCanyon might be a good option for you. It is a great platform to “test the waters”
and see if there’s a market for your plugin. Getting feedback from CodeCanyon’s review
team and attention from customers might give you the confidence you need to move forward. It’s relatively easy, it’s fast, and it might
be harder to open and maintain your own online store. But remember – every business has an opportunity
to grow and become more successful by its own right. I’m here to show you that there are other
options if you don’t want to limit yourself to marketplaces like CodeCanyon in the long-term. There are several great monetization services
that you can use to sell your plugins including Freemius. These services will allow you to focus on
building awesome WordPress plugins while handling all the eCommerce aspects of the payments,
licensing, subscriptions, EU VAT, and more… This creates total freedom for you in controlling
the pricing and licensing of your plugin, and new users are introduced to your brand
with full transparency of all your offerings. You still have to find an alternative distribution
channel for CodeCanyon. You can explore common marketing practices
like SEO and paid ads, which obviously comes with a learning curve. Or an easier approach – just create a free
version of your plugin and submit it to the plugin repository. This will expose your product to at least
five times more potential customers than CodeCanyon and it will help you generate that initial
traction without investing too much into marketing. After you’ve done that, you can promote
the paid version within the WordPress dashboard settings of your free plugin, and if you end
up choosing Freemius, you can even let users upgrade to your premium version directly from
the WordPress Dashboard. Creating great plugins is only the first step
of the way, but by using the right strategy for selling your plugins, you can secure your
success and make your business a lot more sustainable so that you will be able to make
a living out of it for many years! My advice to you is – don’t always go for
the quickest or easiest solution! Using a service that puts your business’
benefit in front and enables you total freedom can be the right way to thrive and grow! Remember – ordering take out for dinner is
easy, but in the long run it will not sustain your bank account… If you liked this video and want to stay up
to date with the best practices for selling WordPress plugins – be sure to subscribe to
our YouTube channel and to the Freemius blog on See you next time!

6 thoughts on “Is CodeCanyon a Good Place to Sell WordPress Plugins?

  1. I've been selling WP themes on ThemeForest for 7 years of now. And I can agree that Envato marketplace is a horrible place to start your business. It was ok before 2013 though, many authors left since. They introduced the new subscription platform called Elements and spam banners on all pages promoting it, which drives all the traffic away and pays authors cents from each download, if you're an author on Elements. To get more sales nowadays you require to run ads outside of the marketplace, which is pointless, since users will click the Elements banners and leave the marketplace. As a result you help them to promote their subscription platform with your money and don't receive anything in return. This was the main reason that we started to build our own theme shop outside of Envato with the help of Freemius.

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