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Selecting a Web Calendar – Part 3

This is a continuation of our series on selecting a web calendar. If you haven’t read parts one and two, you might want to start reading from the beginning.

Free Calendars or Plugins versus Commercial Calendars

There are a ton of free calendar systems and plugins on the web. From looking at the sheer volume of available options the immediate reaction is that free is the way to go. However, each model (Free, Paid, and Freemium) has advantages and disadvantages.

Free Calendars

While free sounds good, it’s usually got some major problems. They are:

  • High probability of abandonment. If the developer’s not making money, at some point they’re going to get bored and abandon the project. Statistics were recently released that showed that 50% of the plugins in the WordPress library haven’t been updated in the last two years.
  • Limited feature set. If software is free, the amount of time that can be spent adding features is going to be limited.
  • Limited or non-existent support. The free version of one popular plugin only responds to forum posts one day a week.

Still, if you have no budget, or very simple needs, free can work out. A better option might be the Freemium model.

Paid or Commercial Calendars

The advantages of paying for a calendar system are:

  • High level of commitment to product. If this is the developer’s livelihood, they’re probably going to keep providing updates.
  • Large feature set. If the developer is making money on the software, they can devote more time to adding features.
  • Better support. A paid calendar system requires recurring sales or renewals to be profitable. A key part of that is ensuring that customers are happy.

Generally, if the functioning of the calendar is critical to an organization’s web site or operation, some sort of paid solution is going to make the most sense.

Freemium Calendars

Freemium is an emerging hybrid model of software sales. Essentially, a certain amount of features are made available for free, but advanced features are sold either individually, or as a package. The advantages of the freemium model are:

  • Requires no financial investment to get started.
  • Same level of commitment as commercial calendars.
  • Advanced features are available for purchase.

The one area that this model suffers in comparison to a paid system is that if you’re on the free spectrum of the product, you may not get the same level of support as a paying customer.

Why We Chose Freemium for Connect Daily Events Calendar

With the Connect Daily Events Calendar, we have transitioned to the freemium model. The advantage to this model is that web developers and theme builders can include Connect Daily for free as part of their normal distribution. They know they’re getting a very stable, defect free, and feature rich product to incorporate into the sites they deliver. For customers, the advantage is that if they need to add features, they can continue using the same system and pay a small monthly fee to add only their desired features.

Conclusion

The web calendar market is insanely crowded. It can be really tough to sort out to match up the many offerings on the market with an organization’s needs.  I hope that this article series has helped you understand how to select a calendar that will best meet your needs.

To help you out in your search, we’ve made a calendar feature comparison checklist as an Excel worksheet that you can use.

Download the Excel Calendar Feature Comparison Worksheet.

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