Why Your Developer Should Use Premium WordPress Plugins

Do you run a WordPress site? With WordPress powering up to 25% of the World Wide Web and WooCommerce powering around 25% of all ecommerce carts out there1, WordPress is significant.  As such, with more people in Malaysia turning to WordPress to power their websites, it is crucial to understand why your developer should use premium WordPress plugins instead of developing something custom.

And to use premium WordPress plugins mean that the cost of your site goes up. Rather than fretting about the price, think of the actual cost of creating and maintaining a WordPress plugin.

Introduction To Premium WordPress Plugins

Most developers don’t like the concept of premium WordPress plugins. After all, having a premium WordPress plugin means that they need to rely on the plugin developer/author to add features that you require instead of them. More importantly however, is that having premium plugins would mean that you don’t need to pay them for the cost of coding. And most crucial is, if you can already get the features from the plugin, why do you need your developer?

1) Why Your Developer Should Use Premium WordPress Plugins : Best Practice

Ever had your developer tell you that they will develop your site for you? If you have and found that after paying them RM 30k or more (and in some more complex sites, RM 100k), you are stuck with the theme? That is, if you switch themes, there goes all your expensively paid for functions. And these functions could be anything from a special way to make WooCommerce work or perhaps just a way for you to sell tickets for your next show on your website.

With plugins however, you get the best practice of separating looks and functionality. While the theme should govern the look of your site, functions should always be put into plugins in order to keep portability if you would wish to switch themes in the future. After all, with JSON API and Javascript themes, the future for WordPress themes might just be so different than what we see now.

Thus comes the question, if your developer follows best programming practices and separates the functions into plugins, how much would it cost?

2) Why Your Developer Should Use Premium WordPress Plugins : Time And Costs

If you ever commissioned for a specific plugin to be built for your site, it could cost you in between USD 500 to USD 50,000, depending on complexity and things needed. However, if you compare that to the function you need, you might even lose out on features when compared to certain premium plugins out there. Why?

You see, when a developer builds a plugin, they usually have a team with them. Certain plugins like Gravity Forms, WooCommerce Subscriptions and even OptinMonster, would have one thousand or more programming hours invested. Some development teams would have spent two to three thousand hours adjusting, removing and adding codes to the plugin that might just cost you USD 199 per year.

A) Maintenance Costs Isn’t Cheap

However, lest you think it is expensive, if you were to hire someone with the base price of RM 50/hour, a 1000 hour job would easily cost you RM 50k. And that’s for starters. The very fact that PHP is evolving and WordPress evolves with PHP, means you need to keep your plugin updated, or face having vulnerabilities and a hacked website. Thus, if you factor in about 10-20 hours per month for the upkeep of your plugin, you would easily be paying RM 12k yearly just to get it updated.

And how about if you need more features? The best practice means that you need to create a separate plugin for that. With the cost of a single plugin at an average of RM 20-30k with recurring cost of RM 12k to keep in maintained, developing and maintaining your own WordPress plugins isn’t cheap.

B) What Happens If I Don’t Want To Keep My Plugins Maintained?

One regular question we’re asked is, what happens if I don’t want to maintain my plugins? As WordPress changes and as PHP becomes more corporate, programming in PHP changes from just kiddie scripts to proper structure. As such, certain codes that are used now might become obsolete within 3-6 months. And that will cause your site to have fatal errors, or worse backdoor vulnerabilities

C) But My Developer Says I Don’t Need Further Updates!

Well, either your developer is cheating you, or he doesn’t know what he’s saying. When we launched our first ecommerce store, I spent about RM 20k for the developer to do some customisation of the theme and the plugin. And it all worked well until… the day it stopped working. True enough, the developer previously told me that the plugin was future proof, but future proof meant NOT upgrading the WordPress installation and NOT upgrading to PHP 5.4 (and now, 5.5). With the plugin crafted during the heydays of PHP 5.2 (which was then abandoned as PHP 5.2 had numerous vulnerabilities), not upgrading also meant trouble.


While it is always great to have customisation done to your site, added functions should always be placed in a plugin which is actively maintained. If your developer decides that he rather not do so, you better find a good developer who would do so.

However, if you could find a premium plugin that does what you need, we recommend that you purchase this plugin or get your developer to install his developer licence for you. After all, under the developer’s licence, your developer can install their premium plugins to an unlimited amount sites, saving you a lot of money in recurring fees and hiring an independent developer.

  1.  http://trends.builtwith.com/shop 
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Leo Koo
I run a small agency building and maintaining turnkey and bespoke WordPress sites. I also review WordPress plugins and digital marketing tools while running this site and the WPStarters Facebook Group. Do swing by and say hi :)
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