Over the past two years, I've developed a relatively successful WordPress plugin. It started out as a hobby project, but now I'd like to try and turn it into a business.
About the plugin
- Checks the users' site for broken links, missing images, redirects.
- Currently free, open source. There is a floundering premium version (more on this later).
- Over 50 000 active users.
- About 200 new users per day.
Things I've considered or tried
Offer a premium version with extra features. I actually tried this. The resulting conversion rate was an abysmal 0.22%. This is most likely because the free version already meets the needs of the vast majority of users. Well, there is of course always room for improvement, but the latest user survey hasn't revealed any low-hanging fruit in that area - in fact, at least 50% of respondents say the plugin is "good enough" or "perfect" as is.
Remove some features from the free version to make the premium version more attractive. This might work, but it would definitely generate a strong backlash from the user-base.
Drop the free version altogether and go 100% paid. The backlash problem applies here, too. It would also mean losing most of the word-of-mouth advertising the free version gets.
Offer a premium version with guaranteed support. Judging by the results of past user surveys, support is not a major problem/requirement for this plugin. It probably wouldn't be a good selling point for the premium version.
Turn it into a SaaS. Not sure about this one. On the one hand, it would yield better performance and less false positives (i.e. by optimizing the code to work great in a known environment instead of "good enough" on many different servers). On the other, users dislike giving up control.
Monetize with Flattr (or another micropayment service). The low adoption rate of Flattr and similar services makes this impractical.
Bundle some third-party tracker/adware with the plugin. Shady. I was was offered this some time ago, and rejected.
What's your take on these options? What avenues of monetization have I missed?