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Practical SaaS: WordPress Plugins – Part One. 

Do ‘premium’ plugins cost too much?

For the myriad of WordPress plugins I have come across, it does make me wonder – How do they all survive, and is the SaaS business model an inevitable one for sustainability? 

Maybe Elementor, one of the leading visual web page editing plugins for WordPress might have an answer…

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First, What is Elementor Pro?

In spite of the sometimes risky freemium business model that many SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) companies adopt. It has to be said that, Elementor does provide a lot of value for free…

You can practically build a custom layout, full functioning website with basic but useful features and functions without having to reach for your wallet. And when you upgrade, you can really “push the boat out…”

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Image: Osman Rana

Quick briefing on Elementor Pro

Yes, Elementor is a simple to learn visual page builder for WordPress. Overall, it provides a feasible environment for website creators to produce custom websites and e-commerce stores to “spec” – for both clients, and personal projects.

Now, as opposed to the native WordPress editing environments, It’s the website page builder plugin that graphic designers and website creators will appreciate and find more familiar.

Of course there is also always the option of using ready made templates to speed things up, but what’s even better, is that you can readily share your own template designs between your different website projects. 

Finally, without knowing for how long, using the button below, a Pro version of Elementor plus cloud website hosting is at this time of writing, available with a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee at only $99/year. 

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XPro Elementor Addons

120+ creative widgets, 500+ templates, 20+ extension, free theme builder & much more.

What is Practical Software as a Service?

Although the SaaS (Software as a Service) and freemium business model may seem to be a natural approach for providing digital services via the internet.

There was a time when, you (well, maybe it was just me) would generally feel more comfortable with working directly from a standalone application downloaded to a computers hard drive.

Of course this hasn’t completely changed today, however, the acceptance for using web based applications has grown. 

 
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The advantage of web based Apps

The comparison between desktop applications vs web based applications, is that the availability of desktop apps are mostly determined by your computers operating system (although there are ways around…)

Now, on the other hand, working from a web based application, allows anyone with an internet connection to use the available software, regardless of operating system.

This is perfect for SasS providers, as web based applications are accessible to a higher number of people than computer (Operating System) based applications.

Now, with there being so many plugins that do similar, or the same thing, The competition must be pretty tense – right?

So how does a new plugin compete for popularity?

Well, it would seem that a combination of factors need to align for a plugin to gain popularity. One of the first things we look for in a plug-in is how well it is supported and what existing users are saying about it. 

The presence of an active online community is often a good clue. Any reviews or support material will give an insight to the experiences of existing users.

However, due to various reasons the occasional unicorn app escapes the sights of would-be users, at least for a while.

One obvious reason is affordability. And whilst there are 100s of free plugins, the best supported ones often come with an upgrade, or entry fee. Which can be restrictive with regards to the number of WordPress users that get to use or try out the plugins suitability with their needs.

Which is why, I suppose, the freemium approach appears to be the consideration of many SasS providers; Allowing the user time to try out and develop towards realising the real and tangible value with using their product, if of course there is one. 

So, are free Plugins any good?

Imagine you had to pay for every WordPress installed plugin you have running on your website....

Would that cause you to use fewer plugins?

I mean, there are so many plugins that provide useful, but similar, or very much the same function. So what you will generally find, is a website consisting of a number of plugins ‘glued together’ for each of the different tasks you require your website to perform.

Although, this may often not cause a problem for most users, however, conflicting plugins can occur and result in your site malfunctioning.

SaaS Justified Pricing and Purpose...

Another problem with some plugins being free to use, is that whilst being free, a user may build their entire website centred on the function provided by free plugins.

Now, when it come to upgrading to a paid version, this can sometimes prove to cost more than what a user may currently spend on both website hosting and the general managing and running of their website. 

Which can often render the option of upgrading as “impractical.” 

To express the idea of what can be considered as “Practical SaaS,” let’s take the popular free entry plugin Wordfence as an example of a software service that does provide acceptable value, and purpose. 

Wordfence provides premium website security related services. However, at the same time accommodates individual and small business as a way of helping ensure its mission of keeping WordPress websites safe.

What makes SaaS practical?

I think there is sometimes a little bit of a blinkered perspective from some SaaS providers regarding the pricing of their software. 

Where a better understanding of who their actual users are and how software fits into existing workflows may help provide ideas for a product that is attractive and more accessible to a wider audience.

Think of it this way; Let’s say your website hosting and all your essential website building tools cost you $100 USD/ Year. You decide to add a plugin to your website that allows you to create custom web forms instead of embedding code from an external web form builder.  

Okay…sorted there’s a plugin for that.

Now let’s say that although you can build your own web forms from scratch using software you already have. 

Instead, you choose to use a dedicated web form builder plugin because of convenience and access to 100s of ready-made form templates.

Now, here’s the crunch, the above user has the option to build their own web forms from scratch for no additional cost. Or, upgrade the free plugin to a paid subscription for $200 USD/year.

No seriously, a plugin for a single function can cost you more than what it cost to build and manage your entire full functioning WordPress website, with cloud hosting too.

Now, understandably not all circumstances and focus are the same. Nor are all budgets. 

With that said, here’s an example; 
As dealing with bookings and customer support is central to what a hotel business offers, you can expect a busy hotel that relies solely on receiving online bookings, to pay an acceptable amount for a professional standard Customer Relationship Management plugin solution.

Now, to round things up; for this issue on SaaS, our Noteworthy Business Tool is the Elementor Visual Web Page Builder, a suite of tools and resource that will allow you to build almost any type of website you can imagine, Elementor Pro starts with cloud hosting at *$99 USD/ Year.

*correct at time of writing.

Disclosure: We are able to provide our content free of charge due to our sponsor and partner brands. For which we are grateful to the readers who have patronised our recommendations. Please bear in mind that some of the links on this site may be sponsored links and if you make a purchase we may earn a commission. ( Website Creation Using Elementor )

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