The straightforward and simplest answer would be because Freemius is a complete solution with no upfront cost. But there are a lot more than that which helped us to decide. First and foremost I would like to mention that we chose freemius over other alternatives like Easy digital download, woocommerce, gumroad, Appsero doesn’t mean that other solutions are not good, it is just that it depends on the personal requirements. I’ve discussed this in detail in the later article.
We are making commercial WordPress websites and plugins since 2016. We generally sell themes and plugins at a one-time payment and sale through the marketplace, woocommerce, or paddle. Eposo, our other WordPress project, we sell them through the paddle.
When you sell a product at a single payment, you need to provide updates and new features every now and then without getting paid. We still provide service to our 2016 launched themes, and the most troubling part is that we didn’t sell any copy of these themes since 2018. That’s why we stopped the sale of the theme and removed it from our website but still, we provide updates and new features for the current users.
The solution to keeping ourselves away from burn out is to make the products on a recurring revenue model.
Great! Now, we need to create the plugin and sell it through….. wait, but how to sell it.
Not that simple!
We were facing the problem that we want to control the product's licensing and create the plugin as a Saas product.
After searching for the best solution on the internet, we came up with some awesome solutions. But not everything is meant for us.
Things that we were looking for
- The solution can handle licensing and authentication
- Recurring payments
- update delivery
- customer dashboard
- better UI
Solutions that we found
- Easy Digital Download — Awesome, self-hosted solution, but the upfront cost is high. Best suitable for bigger studios who didn’t want to create their own solution and wanted a fully customizable experience.
- WooCommerce — Very similar to Easy digital download. Free to use but needs a premium add-on for the recurring payment and license control solutions.
- Gumroad — Hosted solution but don’t have a license control feature. But for license control and updates, you can integrate Gumroad with kernl.us and make a complete solution. The problem with this setup is that you need to have experience with kernl.us API handling. It is suitable for individual products and but not so suitable for multi-product sales.
- Snipcart — One of the best-hosted solutions for recurring payments and customer dashboard and the overall buying experience. But it doesn't have the licensing feature.
- Freemius — A complete hosted solution for WordPress themes and plugins sale. It includes everything that we’re looking for.
We chose Freemius for WidgetStack’s WordPress plugins because it is the complete solution for us.
But I would like to mention that freemius has some drawbacks too. Like -
- Its setup file is heavy.
- Fees per sale are high. It is not a big problem for a small studio, but for a bigger studio that generates $100k in revenue, I would suggest a self-hosted solution.
- UI and freemius forceful branding is a setback.
Not every solution is meant for everyone. So choose it as per your needs.