In this article, I'm going to cover the top 5 ways to make money developing chrome extensions.
Hi, I'm Rick Blyth and I've made over $500,000 from my chrome extensions which has meant I've been able to quit my crappy 9-5 corporate job.
Now, I share my knowledge and tips on how you can create passive income from Micro SaaS apps such as chrome extensions too so please consider subscribing if you want to see more articles like this.
So, let's look at the main ways to monetise your extension. Here are the topics that I will discuss in this article:
- Charge for the extension - Affiliate/Referral Programs - Advertising - Donations - User base monetization - Key Takeaways
1. Charge for the extension
The most obvious way to make money from your chrome extensions is to charge for them! If your extension helps people make more money or save them a lot of time, they'll happily pay you a recurring fee if there's a clear value win for them by doing so.
You can offer monthly, yearly or lifetime plans for your extensions and charge users for access. Monthly plans are the most popular since they have the lowest barrier to entry and usually represent the best value.
I suggest steering clear of lifetime deals wherever possible unless it's a simple Chrome Extension or there's another good reason for it. That's because it'll affect your eventual exit from the app as you've got a lot of "user baggage" you need to support for the lifetime of the app, even though they're not giving you any more dollars .... I'll probably make a separate more detailed article on this in the future.
To get people through the door, you can offer a free version of your extension with limited features or usage restrictions. Then, once they realize how useful your Chrome Extension is to them, they're likely to upgrade to a paid plan to unlock all the features they need.
Personally, on my Chrome Extension I had a "free forever" tier with limited features and then, through customer onboarding emails I was able to get them to upgrade to a premium tier and it worked really well.
2. Affiliate/Referral Programs
Another way to monetize your Chrome Extension is via affiliate or referral programs.
Using a few ideas from my 23 Chrome Extension Ideas PDF, imagine you've created the Amazon Enhanced Reviews Chrome Extension, which would overlay professional reviews next to the user reviews, providing a more balanced, professional, and accurate view of each product.
This could be monetized by adding Amazon Associates affiliate links to any potential purchases that aren't already using an affiliate link.
With millions of users shopping on Amazon every day, the Amazon Enhanced Reviews Chrome Extension could be a very popular extension amongst shoppers looking to get unbiased reviews on the products they're potentially interested in. Instead of charging for the Chrome Extension, you make your money from the sales that your extension drives for Amazon.
You don't have to limit yourself to Amazon either, you can use referral programs from pretty much any company.
For example, if you built another idea from the PDF, the Game Costcutter Chrome Extension - this would compare prices across several gaming sites and platforms, helping gamers save money on each game or expansion they purchase. You could monetize this via affiliate links to the various gaming marketplaces.
If you're not keen on charging for your extension but still want to monetize it, then placing ads in the Chrome Extension is an option too. You can use Google Adsense, or any number of other ad networks which offer competitive rates and/or targeted campaigns.
The key here is to ensure that the ads don't detract from the user experience. Placing an ad on a page that has nothing to do with it, or bombarding your users with too many ads will result in them quickly uninstalling the extension and bad reviews.
You need to find the right balance between monetization and user experience. If that's done properly, ads can be a great way to monetize your Chrome Extension without having to charge for it.
If you have a loyal following and have given your chrome extension away for free for the benefit of your users, then you can always ask for donations.
Relying on the principle of reciprocity, if your users have found a lot of value in your extension, then they might be willing to donate back to you so that you can keep working on the extension and also to keep it free.
Instead of one-off donations, you can ask them to set up a small recurring free, the equivalent of buying you a coffee or two every month to try and bring in some stable income.
This is by far the least reliable way of monetizing as it relies entirely on how generous your audience is but if done right, it could be a great way to generate a nice income from your Chrome Extension.
5. User Base Monetization
Finally, if you have built up a large user base and have proven that your Chrome Extension is valuable to them, then another way to monetize it would be to sell the extension to a business in that niche.
For example, let's say you've created a Chrome Extension that tracks stock prices, and users love it so much that it has been downloaded 1M times. You could then approach businesses in the stock market industry and offer to license your extension to them for a fee.
This approach would require considerable effort upfront, but businesses in the niche would likely pay handsomely to be able to capture the attention of so many potential customers within their niche.
We have run through several options available for monetizing your extensions:
- Charging a subscription fee
- Leveraging affiliate links
- Asking for donations
- Selling it to businesses in the same niche as you.
Which approach works best for you depends on the value you provide with your extension and the audience you have.
Don't forget, you can download my 23 Chrome Extension Ideas PDF if you need some inspiration as to what you can build.
Top comments (1)
Thank you for this very insightful writeup👍👏, who knows, i might start working on a chrome extension in the near future 😁