Outsourcing A WordPress Plugin Is A Killer But Worth It
Do you have an idea for a WordPress plugin that you would love to see created for the benefit of WordPress fans everywhere and maybe for some profit too?
You couldn’t tell php from a PhD and outsourcing a WordPress plugin scares the bejeezus out of you.
That’s okay. Just because you don’t know how to code doesn’t mean that with some guidance (and certain protective measures) you couldn’t achieve the impossible and get your own beautifully coded plugin out into the WordPress world.
I’ve done it many times.
Sure, I’ve made mistakes along the way. I’ve lost a lot money (when I had none to loose) and I’ve gone to battle with some nasty-ass coders who lacked the skills to complete their tasks (and that was somehow my fault!)
In this series of posts, I hope to be able to help you do two things.
- understand the process involved in having a plugin developed (from choosing a coder to first version release)
- avoid the mistakes I made that could cost you money, time and your sanity
In this post, let’s talk about hiring coders.
There’s always going to be a trade-off between price and a quality experience and product.
When I started outsourcing WordPress plugins, I sourced cheap developers on Freelancer.com or similar sites. For many people starting out, with a tiny budget, this is the only option.
I don’t want to scare anybody off because this route can go smoothly
It can also go very, very wrong.
Prepare Yourself For The Worst
If you’re going to go the lower cost freelancer route, you need to get yourself into a particular mindset. Prepare yourself for possible bumps along the way (late delivery, coders going awol, budget increases) so if they happen, you don’t loose the desire to keep going.
While I always paid attention to reviews and rating on sites like Freelancer.com, I still had some awful experiences including a developer who couldn’t complete the job and when challenged, then threatened to release my product as his own.
What the …
Sometimes, it would take hiring three different developers to complete a single plugin (money, more money, even more money!).
The point is … you don’t give up.
After a lot of trial and error, I found one developer who was excellent, a guy from the Ukraine (Eastern European coders are the best IMO) and he went on to develop three great (and very profitable) plugins for me.
But… then he went to work elsewhere and was no longer available.
So because I had far more negative experiences than positive with the popular freelancing sites, when I developed my most recent plugin, Sprint Social, I made the conscious decision to find a professional WordPress developer.
My objective was to find a real, rock solid WordPress expert, somebody who knew code inside out. I wanted my payment protected too in case there were problems so instead of having to find another coder if the project went south and having to make more payments to the new coder, I could be re-reimbursed for non-delivery of the project or failure to complete.
In other words, I didn’t want to loose any money.
I wanted professionalism too; a dedicated communication channel, specified deadlines and everything that makes for a smooth development process between a code and non-coder.
After shopping around A LOT with companies in India, with specialist WordPress development companies and contacting individual coders I found via Google, I had no luck with securing a solution that felt right and fair.
Watch Out For The Ones Who Know You Can’t Code
Many sent back replies and estimates that even a non-coder could tell were BS.
Something like this ….
My final plugin, even with many extra features added at extra costs came nowhere near $4800.
And what’s with question 1 …. does it matter if I am selling it or using it for personal use? Should this affect the development cost?
After a week of searching, I finally hired on Codeable.io, a platform for hiring specialist WordPress developers. Codeable allows you to set an estimated budget. Once you post your project, coders may ask you questions and vice versa in an open discussion before posting a quote.
This was invaluable for me as before I had even accepted a coder, I had answers to some technical questions about my plugin that I thought might cause problems for during the development.
The final price for the project is the average of all quotes provided. In this way Codeable prevents prices being driven to the bottom.
Great for the coders, not so great for those doing the hiring …. except that the quality of the coders is guaranteed. Every coder is interviewed and assessed by the Codeable staff before being accepted into Codeable family.
I estimate my plugin development cost twice as much as I might have paid a developer on Freelancer.com but for the smooth experience and professionalism, it was worth it. I had many highly qualified WordPress coders to choose from.
My payment was held in Escrow until I was 100% satisfied with the project. We were easily able to agree a reasonable price for additional features I wanted.
And … most importantly of all (for non-coders releasing WordPress plugins)
The developer is happy to work on new features and updates in the future.
The extra cost I paid was pretty much to avoid the pitfalls I encountered on more popular freelancing sites; it can be hit and miss with good quality developers. They can disappear at any time. There is very little accountability built in or protection for you, your money or idea. Getting developers to continue to support your product is not always easy (they’ve moved onto their next project!)
The last thing you want is to be left with a plugin that you can’t update or support.
Again, I know that not everybody can start with the more expensive solution when outsourcing their first plugin so let’s end this post on a positive note.
Be Fearless. Be Committed.
When you can afford it, hire through a site like Codeable.io.
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Until then, remember this.
Several of the plugins I had created on Freelancer.com were profitable and made me money. The downside was a LOT of stress and not much follow-up from the developer. If you can handle the stress (keeping a punch bag in your office helps 😉 ) and you can find a workaround for ongoing development/support, you can have your plugin developed on a budget and make a success of it.
The people at Codeable work on all kinds of WordPress tasks, from small theme edits to full scale theme and plugin development.
Here’s $10 off your first project as a welcome gift from the guys over there Codeable.io.