How to make money with your WordPress plugins ?

WordPress is not only a simple blogging platform , but also a multipurpose web platform.
Plugins have taken WordPress to a superficial level. Wonderful plugins like Advanced Custom Fields, JetPack, BuddyPress,Easy Digital Downloads makes WordPress the most favorite and powerful website platform.

Are you a blogger? – Read how to make 5000 $ a month from blogging
Are you good at WordPress plugins ? What about making some money with it ? Let me introduce some popular WordPress plugins making pretty big money over internet and some popular personalities who makes money through WordPress Plugins.

Lets have a look at some make money WordPress plugins

I’ve divided this blog post about How to and how much money can you make with WordPress plugins into three sections.

  1. Top money making WordPress Plugin Developers
  2. Biggest WordPress plugins and their revenue.
  3. Premium Plugins from CodeCanyon


#1 : Top Money Making WordPress Plugin developers

1. Joost De Valk

Joost de

Joost De Valk is the owner and creator of very famous Yoast

Most popular plugins by Joost

1. Yoast WordPress Seo

Total Downloads : 22 million

Average Per day download : 25,000

Status : Free

2. Google Analytics for WordPress

Total Downloads: 10 million.

Average Per day download : 2800

Status: Free

3. Print Friendly and PDF Button

Total Downloads: More than Half  Million.

Average Per day download : 300

Status: Free

How does  Joost De Valk make money  through WordPress Plugins?

All the above mentioned plugins are free ones. So how would be Joost making money with these plugins ?.

Have a look at Yoast Plugins Page where they’ve listed their premium plugins. WordPress plugin repository doesn’t allows you to upload paid plugins. WordPress is an opensource platform and it will only support free codes inside its repository.

WordPress seo plugin Premium – 89$ Joost does sell the premium version of WordPress seo plugin  for a price of 89$.

Video Seo – 69 $ – Video Seo is another popular plugin from Yoast, this helps in optimizing your website videos to get more search traffic.

Local Seo – 69 $ – This helps to improve your local search results which should boost your offline/online business sales.

What Joost earned through the free plugins was just 400-500$ per month as donations, so he wanted to implement premium WordPress plugins to stay with the WordPress business .

Regarding the WordPress Seo Joost is following a freemium model . Freemium is like a balance between both free and premium versions. The Premium version of WordPress Seo have some additional features like,

  • Url Redirections – Redirect your old urls to new one.
  • Integration of Google webmaster tools.

Apart from these features, what you get would be awesome support from the awesome team of Yoast( installation,troubleshooting etc).

How much money does Joost De Walk make one day from his WordPress Plugins ?

What Joost does is driving traffic from Free version to its premium version. We don’t have any exact figures , but approximations are always possible.

Lets say the minimalist 1 percent conversion, like  if 1 percent out of 25000 people who download the free version of WordPress Seo every day upgrade to the premium plan (it would be 250 people).

Approximate Revenue Generating

1 Percent

250 x 89 $ = 22250 $ revenue Per day

0.1 Percent

25(people) x 89$ =2225 $ revenue Per day.

These are speculations, but you see the possibility right?

This is one great business model ,like building traffic initially (Joost have linked to his premium plugin page from his WordPress plugins page ).

wordpress seo plugin premium

Yoast does have a huge amount of traffic( Majority of traffic gained by Yoast have been driven from the WordPress Plugins page) and as you know website traffic is always a big source of revenue. You can always monetize traffic to a website. Joost, apart from plugins, sells Premium WordPress themes. Joost also does website reviews, through which the yoast team will review your website (providing improvement tips,showing drawbacks, improving site performance, loading speed , seo etc ) . The minimum package for website review is $699 and the maximum is $3,999. I strongly believe lots of people are using his top quality website review service , lots of money right?

2. Michael Torbert

michael torbert


Michael Torbert, very much like Joost De Valk has written a bunch of plugins in the WordPress plugin repository, of which the most popular one is All in one Seo Pack.

1. All In One Seo Pack

Total Downloads : 25 million.

Average Per day download : 14,000

Status : Free

You might have noticed the similarities between the most popular plugins of Joost and Michael. Both are Seo Plugins. All in one Seo Pack have much more all time downloads than WordPress Seo by Joost De Walk but the per day download statistics of WordPress Seo is almost double of All in on Seo Pack. This means there was a downfall in the demand of All in one seo pack as people started loving WordPress Seo more. This is the key factor in WordPress plugin business, being an opensource community , people always go for FREE THINGS WITH MORE QUALITY.

Revenue Model of All in one Seo Pack

Michael uses the same revenue model of Joost De Walk (The Freemium model) .All in one Seo Pack has a pro version  for 79$ were you would get much more features than the free one. Michael also have linked to the pro version  and premium support from the WordPress plugin page.


#2: Big WordPress Plugins  working on the Freemium (Free download/ Revenue for Support,Customisations, Extensions) Revenue Model

1. Akismet

Akismet comes along with WordPress or in other words everyone who have installed WordPress have used aksimet. Eventhough akismet is free for personal uses ,it have a premium and enterprise plan through which you will be getting their priority support and usage license.

akismet pricing plans


I cannot guess the revenue Akismet is making, but I’m pretty confident that Akismet would be largest money making WordPress plugin.

2. Gravity Forms

Gravity forms is another popular WordPress plugin which helps you to make professional and stylish forms in your website without knowing any line of code. Gravity forms have been recommended by  Curtis McHale of twitter , this is what he said.

[blockquote source=”Curtis McHale,”]Man, the User Registration add-on for Gravity Forms made my life way easier[/blockquote]

How much traffic does have?

Gravity forms traffic


An  alexa trafifc rank of 8693 makes is crystal clear that they do have huge traffic to their website. GravityForms is not available in the WordPress repository . It can only be downloaded from the gravityforms website. What there is inside the WP Repo related to Gravity Forms would be some of their small extensions. Anyway,  this clearly indicates the authority of GravityForms. That much traffic to their website gives us a clear picture about the quality they are maintaining to their plugin as well as successful marketing over the internet.

Have a look at the pricing of GravityForms,

Pricing Gravity Forms

Approximate Revenue Generating

According to them, more than 1 million WordPress website uses Gravity Forms. So how much can we approximate that in terms of business?

1 million x 39 $ (The minimalist package) = $ 39 million in revenue!! ?

3. Easy Digital Downloads 

Easy Digital Downloads is another popular WordPress plugin working in the freemium model .   This plugin makes your WordPress website extended with checkout, downloads functionality. An alexa traffic rank of 18 K ensures they does have good amount of traffic. Their revenue is on customization, support and paid extensions of  Easy Digital Downloads plugin.

4. WooCommerce

WooCommerce could be said as a plugin that gave another outlook to WordPress. Woocommerce  was released during a time where shopping carts like Magento was getting damn popular. Woocommerce  made WordPress from a simple cms to a powerful user friendly shopping cart. Plenty of themes are released in themeforest based on the WooCommerce Plugin.

Woocommerce also work on the freemium revenue model, selling extensions and giving support. You can see a number of extensions listed in the Woocommerce portal. Most of them are premium ones, and are very much useful in real world scenarios.  This is how Woocommerce makes their money, they do drive an amount of free users to premium ones. I’ve purchased more than 5 Woocommerce premium extensions under different scenarios. Why did I buy them? Nothing but  I or my client was using Woocommerce. Perfect example of how a free product can make money following the freemium model.

On the other side, many developers make huge deal of money developing Woocommerce themes. Check the Woocommerce category  in themeforest and you’ll understand it. The Flatsome Woocommerce theme(priced $59) has made more than 18K sales from themeforest.  See , the dependent business is also huge right?


#3: Most Sold Premium  Plugins from CodeCanyon

CodeCanyon is a marketplace where you can sell your code. Envato, the parent company of themeforest is the very same brain behind CodeCanyon. You can list your plugin in codecanyon. Have a look at the most sold WordPress plugins in CodeCanyon.

wp plugins


I cant go in detail about every one of these plugins, I’ll do a short review about the most sold three plugins.

Approximate Revenue Generating from CodeCanyon

1. UberMenu – UberMenu is a premium WordPress plugin featured in Codecanyon. It is a plugin which makes your ordinary WordPress menu a stylish Responsive Mega Menu.  Very much configurable and flexible.

Approximate money made till date : 49,511(total sales) x 11 $(around 57-58% of plugin price (19 $)) = $544,621

2. Slider Revolution – Slider Revolution is a premium WordPress  responsive slider plugin. Unlike the normal free sliders it does have lots of awesome features like plenty of loop animations and parallax layers.  This is what make people interested in buying this plugin.

Approximate money made till date : 71,792(sales)x 11 $(around 57-58% of plugin price (18 $)) = $789,712

3. Visual Composer – Visual Composer is one of the coolest WordPress plugin I’ve ever used. It extends the default WordPress composer and takes it to a supreme level. Without knowing any bit of code, or hiring a developer you can easily drag an drop to build an  awesome page in WordPress. It does have features like Carousel, Slider,Accordion and lots of other stuffs to make your post/page composing sexy and superlative.

Approximate money made till date : 93,030(sales)x 20$(around 57-58% of Plugin price (33 $)) = $1,860,600 (Approaching 2 Million!)

That  makes visual composer the most money making  WordPress Plugin in CodeCanyon. When I first wrote this post (months ago), Visual composer was on second position and it is now on the first position.

The total number of sales for Visual composer was nearly around 27K when I published this post for the first time , and now nearly after 10-11 months it has reached more than 70K downloads which means an average of 136 downloads per day or in other words around $3,000 in profit per day(awesome! right?)

Keep in mind that all these are professional plugins that was not built in one single day. Start slow, don’t depend 100 percent on WordPress. Start a Website for your plugin and try popularizing it. Are you a programmer who don’t have enough time to develop an awesome WordPress Plugin? Have a look at my six easy ways for programmers to make money online.

Latest update(small players)

I just saw a recent post from The PortLand company, author of the Bulk Photo to product imported Wooocommerce Plugin and they’ve disclosed that the plugin is earning an average of $550 per month from its premium version.

The plugin looks comparatively new and doesn’t have much active installs(like 900), which indicate that the revenue might grow in the upcoming days. See, forget the big players I’ve mentioned above. This company does only have 4 plugins till date and this will be a great inspiration to small players/freelancers in the WordPress plugin development industry.


You can follow any of these methods to make money from your WordPress plugin.  Lets have a look at the summary of the major things you need to note(or can implement) in make money from your WordPress Plugin.

  • Try for a unique plugin – Write a unique plugin that is not available in the WordPress plugin repository and submit it to the repository. Don’t make a plugin in a saturated market, there is no point in making some plugin like Visual composer. Visual composer is huge and cant get more better. If you are making a new slider WordPress plugin(and submitting in codecanyon), you are very much likely to be rejected(unless it is that awesome) as WordPress slider plugin is a saturated market. Instead, try something that doesn’t exist. If you ask me to pick one, I’d say go for WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads Extensions. There are not much competence in that niche
  • Try the Freemium Model –  Release the main plugin for free but make the supplementary plugin premium. Most of the big players try the freemium model and has been a great success so far
  • Try submitting in CodeCanyon – Submit your plugin as a premium plugin in CodeCanyon.
  • Start a WordPress plugin development service – This area has lots of potential. Recently I was asked by a client to add Vendor store feature to WooCommerce and  I had to develop that. Like wise, custom WordPress plugin development have great demand. You may start your own online portal for that. You can also find WordPress plugin development requirement in Freelancer, Odesk, Elance etc. You can bid on them and develop plugin for the job poster.

Hope you guys enjoyed this blog post.

I have two questions

What kind of WordPress plugins have you developed?

How do you promote your plugins?

Do post your comments. 🙂

About the author

Linjo Joson

Linjo is a PHP developer who loves to write about online businesses and marketing ideas

1 comment

  • Hi Linjo great post by you here, I really want to start my wordpress plugin development , is there’s anything beside html,css,php that i should learn to accomplish that? is it necessary to learn Javascript and Jquery also?