The differences between WordPress Implementors and WordPress Developers.
WordPress is an incredibly versatile application, and there are many ways to make money with it. On this page I have listed the most common, but I'm sure it's not an exhaustive list. If you know of any others then please do let me know on Twitter.
Blogging is what WordPress was built for. Since its creation WordPress has changed a lot and it can now do so much more, but the original purpose was blogging, so let's start there.
Creating a popular blog is a challenge all on it's own - but if you can manage it then there are three good ways to monetise your now popular site.
Beware of selling links. If you don't add links as 'nofollow' then you may end up being penalised by Google. This practice has been frowned upon for some time but there are still companies trying to sell them. If you do decide to go ignore the nofollow tag then make sure you are rewarded adequately.
There's lots of blogs about blogging - and making a successful blog. If you're just getting started then the WordPress.com Blogging University courses are a good place to start.
You've built a WordPress blog and now you need to promote it, a great place to start is the Google Digital Garage - they will create a lesson plan customised to your business and run you through the basics of marketing your website.
The alternative to blogging is simply to use WordPress to advertise your existing business. It doesn't matter what your business is or what you do - all companies should have a web presence. For many people searching online is the first place they go when looking for a solution. If you're not online, you're going to make less money.
If you're creating a website for your bricks and mortar store then make sure to include your shop address on the site - a text widget in the sidebar or footer is ideal. This will make it easy for people to find you - and it will tell Google where you are, so that it can be relevant for local searches.
A good example of a business theme is Exhibit.
Once you've set up a WordPress website for your business you need to decide how you want to make use of it. There's little point having a website if you're not going to make the most of it. I have visited small business sites on numerous occassions (restaurants for example) and found out they are out of date (the menu is 3 years). This is incredibly frustrating.
Below is a list of some of the things you can do to help you maximise your sites potential.
If you're an awesome web designer then creating websites for others is an obvious next step.
There are many web design companies and agencies that make a lot of money creating websites for people from scratch.
There is also a growing trend towards 'implementors' people who buy ready made themes from sites like Pro Theme Design, or Creative Market, and then customise them for clients. This is a great starting point for less technical people who don't want to build a site from scratch but know enough html and css to tweak a site to meet a clients needs.
We've written an in-depth article on how to become a WordPress Implementor.
Alternatively you could sign up as a freelancer on sites like Codeable. They will take care of finding the work, and accepting payments. It's a great way to start for those who know WordPress inside out but don't know how to market their skills.
Many people have an existing site and need it to be maintained. For instance they might want backups, or tweaks to the existing site, installing plugins, optimizing servers, or help with optimising their sales. There's loads of things an experienced web developer could offer that would be relatively easy for them to do - and a big benefit to their customers.
For many this could be an add-on service to the Web Design and Development Services mentioned above. Once you have built a customers website why not offer them a monthly maintanence package? For a small monthly fee you would update their software and plugins, and backup their site.
This could add some recurring revenue with little additional work - and would be a great way to enhance the client relationship for future projects.
Of course it's not quite as simple as using these apps, if people are paying you monthly then you should provide value for money. You will need to make sure you regularly test and maintain the sites - but these sites can simplify the process massively.
People need to learn, and if you're highly skilled at something then sharing your knowledge can be a great way to earn money. Some of the things you could do include:
Sensei is a great plugin for creating online teaching resources in WordPress. It even integrates with WooCommerce so that you can create a paid memberships teaching site.
This is super popular. There are loads of theme shops around now, with good reason. I started Pro Theme Design in 2007, and we're still going strong however we're a long way from the biggest theme shop around.
In 2015 WooThemes (a premium theme company) was aquired by Automattic (the company that owns WordPress.com). The amount was undisclosed but it's rumoured to be over $30 million. That's a lot of money!
An easier game to get into - for someone starting out - would be plugins. The theme market is becoming saturated but there's a lot more scope to make useful good quality plugins. Pippins Plugins is one of the top plugin developers out there - creating the popular ecommerce plugin Easy Digital Downloads.
As of December 2018 the new WordPress editor has been merged with core. The introduction of Gutenberg means a whole new opportunity for developers to create blocks to enhance the WordPress experience.
To sell themes and plugins you could try the following marketplaces:
Alternatively you could always build and sell the themes/ plugins on your own site. In fact I would always recommend doing this since you will then be the one in control. You can set the prices and you own the customer details. Personally I really like Fastspring for selling from my own site, however there are many similar services out there so you can find the ones you like best.
If I was starting now I would create themes and plugins for a specific, underserved, group of users. I would then try to make the ultimate product for that group of users. This will make marketing much easier.
If you can build a loyal group of people who love the content you produce then you can create an info product. This would take the form of an ebook/ pdf that people can buy. The ebook would need to go into more detail than your website, and could also include videos or other supplemental data that can't be found anywhere else.
Often less technical people can get scared when you talk about selling things online however there's many services out there that do all the work for you. All you have to do is create the content and then upload it to their service. Below are a few popular services that could help you get started:
If you want you could also use a WordPress plugin to sell your digital products however I feel that often this is more work. You will still need to set up payment providers, secure certificates, and generally have more to maintain. If you use a third party service then all you have to do is link to your product on their server. This can work with any type of site (including those powered by WordPress.com).
However, if you want to go down this path, and you're hosting WordPress yourself, then the following are the top WordPress e-commerce plugins:
Website flipping is the act of creating (or purchasing) a website, improving it, and then selling it on for profit.
Creating a simple WordPress site, filling it with some content, and then flipping it - is relatively easy for an experienced WordPress developer. However if it's a basic site with no traffic you'll not get much back from your investment. What you need to do is build the website into a good property with decent traffic and Google rankings (and ideally income), and that's when the big money can begin.
The most popular place for selling websites is Flippa. You can find all sorts of sites on there - including some that you might consider bargains.
The alternative is to search through Flippa and find sites you think you can bring value to - and buy them. You will then have a pre-existing site that you can enhance. Once you've built it up you can always flip it on to someone else.
Blogging isn't for everyone. Many people understand the power of a blog, but don't enjoy writing, or simply don't have the time for writing. That's where content writing services come in.
Good copywriting can make an ok looking website an amazing resource - and so there's a big market for quality writing. This is a great way for less technical people to become involved in WordPress.
Another area of content writing services that you could try is proofreading and content editing. There's a lot of content around that makes a compelling story, but is poorly written and so finding clients who need help with this sort of thing can also make a big difference to the perception of a website.
The amount of people who run a WordPress website is growing massively. At the time of writing (March 2019) WordPress now powers over 33% of the top 1 million websites. That's a lot of power. But it also means there's a lot of opportunity. If you specialise in one particular area, then you could become a consultant to help businesses maximise their potential.
For example you could set up consultancies for:
All of these services (and I'm sure there's others), could have other products and services that tie into their offerings. For instance a WordPress performance service could offer a theme that is designed for speed, or a Marketing consultancy could have a block plugin that collects user sales data.
This article shows some of the variety of jobs available for WordPress users. It doesn't matter how technically minded you are. If you can apply yourself to your craft - and have some patience and determination then there's no reason you can't earn money with WordPress.
What do you think? Could we improve this? Let us know on Twitter.
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