Releasing A Commercial Extension? Top 5 Things Every Developer Must Know
Many business owners and developers have often toyed with the notion of releasing a commercial extension. With Joomla!'s large community and expansive reach, releasing a product can be a great source of revenue and exposure. All too often, though, many key details are overlooked.
In order to help business owners avoid this common mistake, I recently sat down with Joomla! Extension Directory editor and Anything-Digital Founder and CEO Vic Drover who helped identify the most important aspects to consider when releasing a commercial extension.
1. Don’t rush to release.
Extensions are complex items and need to be rigorously tested to ensure a smooth launch. Be sure that your product is error free by regression testing, make sure the UI and language make sense to users via usability testing, and get direct feedback by testing across a small control group before launching. Just because it works for your needs or a client’s environment or needs doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone.
2. Choose a great name.
The name of a product can have a big impact on whether people will find it, if they find it credible, and if they will remember it. Using keywords or parts of keywords can be a wise strategy, but make sure you’re not violating any trademarks, including Joomla!’s.
3. Choose a financial model carefully.
A carefully chosen financial model is what will support your company and future development of the extension. There are many models such as:
- Freemium - free core, pay for features
- One time buy
- Single product subscription
- Club (many product) subscription
As well, there are many variations of each based on support and other factors.
4. Submit to the Joomla! Extension Directory wisely.
More than likely this will be the lifeblood of traffic for your extension and will either make or break it. Because it can only be in one category, make sure to choose the right one and follow all terms of service. It will take anywhere from 3 - 21 days for approval and be sure to be cognizant of the these most common reasons for rejection:
- Wrong license type or terms of service incompatible with General Public License
- Lacking GPL headers in files
- Domain not Open Source Matters approved
- Direct download link not on own domain
Proper support is the most important factor of releasing a commercial extension. Clients who pay for extensions expect great support, even if you added a note to the contrary in size 32pt bold red font on every page and have a frequently asked questions section that addresses every query possible.
There will likely be a user who doesn’t understand your extension or Joomla! very well and guess who will receive the blame with a negative JED review for their problems. Make sure to have a dedicated support infrastructure fitted with speedy responses and well-defined processes to run as efficiently as possible.
Releasing an extension commercially is not an easy task, but if done properly it can be an excellent source of revenue and exposure.
What other tips do you have?