Why Users Should Pay for My WordPress Plugin (Even When it’s Totally Free)

2 minute read

I recently created an Open Collective in order to fund development of my plugin Print My Blog. Here’s its pitch for why the plugin users should elect to donate to the collective. I’m posting here to gather feedback on my ideas, not so to extract money out of people who don’t even use the plugin.

Our purpose is to support Print My Blog, the WordPress plugin to print your blog in 1 click. Use it and your own web browser to create a paper, PDF, or even e-book copy. Preserve your blog in an easy-to-read format. Please see the plugin on WordPress.org
So far, the time/money required to make this plugin been donated by the plugin’s author, Michael Nelson, and a few helpful souls who have reported issues and helped test the software. But that’s not sustainable in the long-term.
Your financial support will help:

  • prevent “Print My Blog” from becoming another abandoned plugin (which are, by the way, the biggest security issue for WordPress sites)
  • fund new features and improve the software (see GitHub for the current issues and to have your say)
  • fund time to help users and manage the project
  • help preserve our blogs’ ideas for years to come
  • say thanks for the totally free, no-strings-attached, software.

By “totally free, no-strings-attached, software” I mean it’s is free to use and modify and redistribute. And no private data is ever collected about you. 
Why? You shouldn’t need to pay for anything silly, including to:

  • download the software, as that costs nearly nothing;
  • use the software, as your WordPress website can run it fine without any extra costs;
  • sign up for a web service to print your content or make PDFs, as your own browser does a good job of that too;
  • premium add-ons, as that limits their use, which makes them more buggy;
  • support, because ideally you shouldn’t need any, it should just work and be self-explanatory;
  • remove ads, because they’re annoying;
  • keep your data private, as having big for-profit companies giving things away for “free” should make you wonder;
  • or, have a watermark removed, as it actually takes effort to add that watermark in the first place.

However, it does take time/money to:

  • design, create, and test the software
  • keep the software up-to-date;
  • keep the software secure by immediately fixing any security issues noticed;
  • answer users questions, and create documentation
  • fix integration with WordPress’ ever-changing 50,000+ plugins and 20,000+ themes
  • add new features;
  • manage the project;
  • and, communicate about the project’s status.

And it seems fair to compensate contributors according to the market average for web developers, support agents, copy writers, and project managers. Just because software has no strings attached or arbitrary pay-walls doesn’t mean it should be valued less.
So, supporting the project will help keep it free and useful. But what does supporting the project get you, personally?

  • “backers” and “sponsors”-level contributors will get featured on our website (once they help pay for one!) and in blog posts
  • “sponsor”-level contributors get a phone call to discuss how to best use the software
  • more say in the project
  • a good feeling knowing your doing your share.

Thanks if you can! (And if you can’t, a 5-star review would be a great help too!)
If you have questions or comments, please reach out on GitHub, WordPress support forums, or my personal blog.

Leave a Reply