Free Joomla! Extensions VS. Paid Joomla! Extensions - which to choose?

in Uncategorized on 26 Jun 2015 having 0 comments

This question surfaces very often and if you are reading this article, it’s because you are tempted to choose a free Joomla! extension but you want to make sure you don’t hurt your business by doing so. And we are going to give you some tips on what to keep your eye on when you “shop around” for an extension.

Something to keep in mind: Free doesn't necessarily mean low quality

Some of you might think that free means low quality. That is not so, because what changes is the quantity and complexity of the tasks that the extension can perform and if you think about it: What company would risk their brand image with low quality free extensions? Free extensions can be of good quality, but meant to satisfy single, more basic needs.

Ask yourself these 3 questions before you make your choice:

Question 1: Are you self-taught or do you need a lot of support?

Free Joomla! extensions are not backed by professional support, but if you are self-taught, you will work easily in Joomla! by reading forums. We can recommend the Official Joomla! Forum; here you can find a helping community willing to give you a hand when you mostly need it. You can also find answers on the website of the developer where you purchased your extension from and let’s not forget the FAQ section as well.

If you don’t work easily in Joomla!, and you need a lot of professional support if you get stuck, then implementing what you read on forums will not be as easy for you and you might want to consider the paid version.

Question 2: Do you need the extension for a start-up or an already profitable business?

By all means, who is to say that your business idea is not going to be a profitable one? But if you have a start up, a new website, in the beginning you have to count your pennies. You can use free Joomla! extensions that offer the basic functionality that you need and switch to paid extensions once you are ready to move up the scale. When your business starts becoming stable and making profit, that’s the perfect time to start investing more in it, in order to increase your sales and make even bigger profits.

Whichever way you are leaning, don’t lose sight of the most important issue: your business performance. Whether you are a startup or not, this is an area in which you cannot compromise. So, to make sure you are satisfied with “what you get” you must first and foremost focus on what functionality a particular extension has to offer. Extensions are created for many purposes: social networking, checkout services, easy to set up photo galleries, you name it!

Before making a choice, read the product description and find out:
  • Technical specifications. What do you have to have in order for the extension to be installed and work effectively?
  • Features. Does the extension satisfy your basic needs for achieving your objective?
  • Possible integrations. What other add-ons is the extension compatible with? This is a good thing to know if at some point you discover that you need more from your extension. You can check out free RSJoomla! extension details here.
  • Extension reviews on JED (the Joomla! Extensions Directory). Make sure to check this out as well, to see what other users think about the extension. Keep in mind though, that JED says and I quote “users tend to vote and review free extensions more favorably”.
Question 3: What does your website development plan look like?

This is the last, but not the least important question because it is a known fact that paid extensions provide more integration options. For example, in the beginning you post articles on your website once in a while, but then your audience starts to build up and you want to migrate towards a blog with a larger volume of content, and then, you want a newsletter that sends out news of your new articles. My point is that when you choose a free Joomla! extension, you have to think about how it fits with your website development plan. And if you don’t have a plan, you should make one!

Thank you for reading, we hope this helps you make the best choice for your particular objectives and if you found this article helpful, by all means, share it with your friends!

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