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Question: Income Potential for WordPress Developer?

Posted on 2011-03-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Greetings,

After developing custom web sites for more than 15 years, I'm (finally) adding WordPress to my mix of skills. I see great potential for this platform for all kinds of businesses.

However, just got off the phone with a friend (who does IT for a college)  who says he ...


"see's the market for custom developers shrinking (as more businesses offer free/low-cost templates sites OR simply use WordPress themselves and buy a theme)".

So...

1. Is there any truth to his statement?
2. What is the average income (or income potential) for Independent WordPress Developers/Consultants and...
3. Do you see this growing or shrinking in the future?

Any thoughts?

thanks,
sleeper
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Question by:the_sleeper
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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 100 total points
ID: 35212138
I think he's probably right.  When I first started as an electronic tech, salaries were good and opportunities abundant.  Now that is an everyday job for many of the same reasons.

Independent developers will see their opportunities reduced while companies will do better because they will offer services that a single developer can't afford to offer.  A company with a store front and staff will look more attractive to many businesses.  It's a pretty classical consolidation of business that happens to most industries.

Independent developers need an established clientele and credentials to succeed and grow.  As web sites become more like commodities, scrambling for the next job just gets tougher.  I survive because I have around 50 customers that keep coming back to me for jobs small and large.  All of my recent new customers are referals from old customers.
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jeremyjared74 earned 300 total points
ID: 35212320
I don't think so. I think that if anything it will create more work for individuals. I have worked with several clients lately, and most of them don't seem at all interested when I explain to them how simple it is to do themselves. What it boils down to is the people that need the website designed all have people working for them, but they already have jobs. Unless they find that one employee who is eager to get into the design world, they would rather pay someone and forget about it. Websites aren't just a one time job, it is on-going as I'm sure you know. Some clients try at first but eventually realize how much time it actually takes and decide to hire a designer anyway.
 
Then you have the ones that try on their own, and crash the company website. Once that has happened then you will be lucky to hire a designer and not a programmer which costs much more (not to mention the down-time on with the site).

I can fix cars, brick houses, operate hydraulic cranes, fix computers, design websites, and much more. Does that mean I am going to do all of those? No way, I get about 4 hours sleep as it is. I gladly pay someone to fix my car even though I can do it myself. Well worth it for time to do other things with the family. I think the majority of people feel the same way (and the ones that don't- do, they just don't know it yet).

I don't see any reason not to learn WordPress. If you get good enough you can make several thousands of dollars a month designing themes. They just keep selling and selling, all you have to do is provide a little support to the customers (if you document your theme well, you shouldn't have much support needed).

But, I can't tell the future. I can only use my own experiences and opinions (and sometimes listen to the voices in my head).

The voices say it'll be alright!!!
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by:Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine earned 100 total points
ID: 35212355
>> most of them don't seem at all interested when I explain to them how simple it is to do themselves.

This.  I have tried and tried to convince people that they are capable of doing it themselves and all it gets me is more work and more referrals.  I even raised my fees and that didn't dissuade most of them.

WordPress has allowed me to be a more efficient developer.  Many of things that I used to have to code for clients can now be handled with plugins or with simple alterations to plugins.  I do less per person, but I can juggle more people.  

Jeremy's also right when he says to get into the premium theme or premium plugin business (but theme is probably better).  There is such a huge demand for classy, professional, slick, and function themes precisely because most folks don't want to do it themselves that you could make a comfortable living if you are any good at it and at marketing.
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Author Comment

by:the_sleeper
ID: 35212517
I see value and wisdom in all comments posted.

@ DaveBaldwin >> "Independent developers need an established clientele and credentials to succeed and grow."

Agreed. I plan to do that through marketing and networking. Anyway, "Feint heart never won fair Lady"

@  jeremyjared74 >> " I have worked with several clients lately, and most of them don't seem at all interested when I explain to them how simple it is to do themselves."

Yeah, cant imagine some of my clients doing it at all. I can imagine some of my clients trying it, giving up (for whatever reason) then handing it back off to me.

@  jeremyjared74 >> " I don't see any reason not to learn WordPress. If you get good enough you can make several thousands of dollars a month designing themes."

Oh I have every intention on learning WP!! I Love it! I got interested in WP because of theme development, but as I have learned to use WP I fell in love with the platform.  I'm writing my own theme from scratch now (as a way of learning WP)


@  jason1178 >> "WordPress has allowed me to be a more efficient developer."

Bingo! This is what I have learned by playing with WP. It is an amazing platform, strong market with income potential, vibrant community, huge number of plug-in/themes, plus I can write my own and it-saves-time.

Great Advice all.
sleeper
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