Free vs. Paid WordPress Plugins – What’s Worth It?

One key trait that boosted the global popularity of WordPress.org is its free installation. You can run WordPress with zero costs, provided you own a domain. Expenses start when you need to customize your website with themes and plugins. Given that WordPress itself costs nothing, it would be only natural to ask: is there a reason to pay for plugins and other add-ons after all? And how to choose those that are really worth your money?

Free vs. Paid WordPress Plugins – What’s Worth It?

Actually there are a couple of reasons to invest some bucks on a good WordPress plugin:

  • 1. Superior usability. If you’re after a great plugin that would offer more than meets the eye, there’s a great chance you’ll find it among the premium ones. Most of the premium plugins are compatible with a wide range of WordPress versions and offer exclusive features, never covered by standard free versions. Also, seldom is a premium plugin without technical support for users
  • 2. Access to A-class business apps. Certain premium plugins are just the gateway for standalone web apps covering a wide niche of business functions. So is the plugin of Constant Contact marketing tool, AWeber email system, 123ContactForm WordPress contact form plugin. When you arrive on the page of such plugin, you will be informed that it requires a separate account, free or paid, for the service it links to. If your WordPress site is the core of your business, you surely want to make a head start by employing the finest web services to support its functionality.
  • 3. Helping the community. As exaggerated as it may sound, supporting developers financially is a really useful endeavor if you have the resources. Behind every plugin there stands a skilled team that coded day in and day out to finalize the widget you are using. Paying them back helps balance the market. Needless to say, it stands as an encouragement for them to keep up the good work.

Most premium plugins come at dirt cheap prices. For instance, Akismet, the utmost authority in anti-spam protection for WordPress, is basically free for personal use, while it gives you the means to donate up to $120 per year if you are willing to. Ultimate TinyMCE Pro, the visual page and post editor, has a PRO version that is available for prices ranging from $39.95 to $299.95. The fine WPMU DEV plugins for tens of uses come at a price of $19 for one plugin with one month of support, and $39 for full membership with access to all WPMU DEV resources.

Of course, there is the other side of the coin too. If you are on a real tight budget, you can put up your blog with its core functionality without paying a dime for any plugin. The WordPress Plugin Directory offers plenty of basic solutions for SEO, custom design and post management. Many plugins offer both free and paid subscriptions, but just the idea that a paid one is available can be a seal of trust.

So basically what is there to seek for in a premium plugin for WordPress?

  • - New technologies (HTML5 support, CSS3 effects, Ajax functions)
  • - Solid customer support
  • - Timely updates and seamless integration with multiple versions of WordPress

All in all, the beauty of WordPress resides in the variety of its enhancements – thousands of great plugins that wait to be discovered. When you are on the road of creating an outstanding website, the tools you pick can have a great influence towards your SERP success, as well as the amount of effort saved on your side and the overall attractiveness of your website. Choose wisely!

Image – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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