How do you choose what features go to your "Pro" plugin version?

(Vova Feldman) #1

Hey, fellow plugin developers!

Selecting the extra features for your “pro” version vs. what features should stay in the “lite” version - it’s an art! I’m preparing a post to share my own formula to help fellow plugin developers make the process easier, and would love to collect your thoughts.

How do you choose what feature to put in the “pro” / “add-on” version?

I’m planning to include the responses in the post (happy to link to you, if you add your details).

Repeatable Fields
(Leland Fiegel) #2

It’ll always be a delicate balance.

You don’t want to water down your “lite” version so much that nobody bothers to use it, but you don’t want to make your “lite” version so feature-packed that nobody will need to buy the “pro” version.

All my plugins are either totally paid or totally free, but this is something I’ve thought about for themes.

One theme I have has a set of WooCommerce designs. If I were to go lite/pro with that, I’d definitely reserve the WooCommerce stuff for pro only.

Anything with a clear commercial intent is a good candidate to be a pro-exclusive feature, leaving enough base functionality in the lite version to make it worth trying out.

(Rhys Wynne) #3

First of all, I try and avoid taking features out of the “lite” version and putting it into the “pro” version. That’s just bad karma.

What I do try to do instead is think about the features. Does this feature have the potential to make the purchaser money? If so, it goes into the pro. Does it save them a significant amount of time? It goes into the pro version if so. Is this feature only really required for a small (20% say) amount of users? If so, it’s pro.

Also, a few of my plugins have some really specialised features that could go into support. For example: WP Taxi Me Premium has a feature where you can get realtime updates on how long a taxi will be and how much it’ll cost. This requires an SSL certificate, and as such could be a bit of a ballache to setup. This makes it a premium feature.

(Robby) #4

Hey Vova! Our situation with Beaver Builder was a bit unique, so I figure I’ll share it…

We launched the premium version of Beaver Builder before we decided to do a free/repo version. So we essentially had to “remove” features from the pro version.

One of the huge benefits to using Beaver Builder is it’s ability to create column based layouts. When we were deciding which modules to remove from the free version, we thought it would be best to include everything that would otherwise be available in the WordPress editor. So we left the text editor, photo, video, and HTML modules. Things like content sliders, icons, buttons, pricing tables, etc., we left out.

Our hope was, with the free version of Beaver Builder, one can do anything that could be done in the WordPress editor, but you get a handy drag and drop interface and the ability to layout content in columns. We thought this had enough value to make it a popular repo plugin without devaluing our premium offerings. 80,000+ downloads later, we’re pretty satisfied with the reach Beaver Builder Lite is getting!

Let’s be honest here, this is the real trick: provide enough value in the free version to get attention and users, then have an equally (if not more) valuable set of features in your premium product.

(Mark Senff) #5

I released my first plugin around a year ago. It did the trick with “basic” functionality.

Then along the way, people asked to add some features. Things I hadn’t thought of, or things I didn’t think people would want. So, little by little, I added these new features.

Now a year later, the plugin has a lot of extras, compared to the original 1.0.

In hindsight (as in, had I known that people wanted these features), I should have released a 1.0 with those basic features, and a PRO version that included all those extra features that were added along the way.

But, that’s hindsight. I had no idea what people actually wanted when I started out. Had I known, I would probably have done the free/pro thing.

(Andy McIlwain) #6

I want to call this out for extra emphasis. IMO: The further a product (theme/plugin/SaaS/etc) gets from a direct 1:1 relationship to making money, the more difficult it is to sell. (At a certain level, things that reduce overall cost/save time are comparable to “making money”.)

(Nicolas Lecocq) #7

Hello @vovafeldman, I created a lite version of my plugin Ultimate Widgets, this is not to push people to the pro version but rather an overview of the plugin, with the lite version, people can test the plugin on their site for free to see if there are no problems, then if the plugin please them, they can purchase the pro version which I have built many more widgets.
My plugin is a bad example because they are widgets, for the free version, I simply remove several widgets.

(Vova Feldman) #8

Thank you guys! Appreciate your answers. As many of you mentioned, I think that the key is to identify the features that have clear commercial / business intent. Features which distinguish between a “regular” blogger, who usually can’t afford paying, to businesses, who have the money to pay and $100 / year is not a biggy for them.

Once the post will be released I’ll share the link here. Thanks again :smile:

(Vova Feldman) #9

Just published the post, thank you all for the great answers!

How to Decide What Features in Your Plugin Should be Free or Premium