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Making a Living With WordPress

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With WordPress powering 8% of the websites in the world, the demand for WordPress related services is increasing exponentially. Not every WordPress website is owned by a developer. After the users get familiar with basic WordPress usage, they would need more specialized services to enhance the way their website looks or to add new features. If you offer your clients WordPress based websites or are involved in any WordPress based development, then this article is just for you.


Most WordPress site owners have got their website made by others, or have managed to somehow set it up themselves by reading few articles or using one click installation provided by most hosting companies. Once these users start understanding how they could leverage the website, they would need additional services to make their website better and more functional.

These things would be like a custom theme, plugin or just some basic theme modification work. This basic requirement creates a whole new market place which developers like me and you could cater to.

If you offer custom design or development, working with different clients and their requirements might have offered you a lot of experience. This can be used to create products or services specially targeted for WordPress users. Not only will this provide additional source of income if done well, but if it also addresses problems faced by WordPress users, then it can be the only thing you need to do to make a living.

In this article, we will try to identify these distinct WordPress services into different categories and see how few companies are dominating the market.


Examples of WordPress Based Services or Products

Theme Design

Unless you have a big client, the profit from a single custom made website project is not much. Most projects also end up as a disappointment, as clients sometimes reject good design ideas. Getting into theme development, gives designers the opportunity to work on their own time, use good design principles and create something they are proud of. Marketplaces such as ThemeForest.net offer between 50 to 70% of the sale amount to all theme developers. Considering a basic WordPress theme is priced around $40 on ThemeForest, even if 100 people download it, it would mean the designer earns $2,000. This is actually more than what most freelance designers and small companies in regions like India earn from a custom design project.

Some top theme developers like Orman Clark have around 18 themes with over 23,000 sales. If you do the math, it’s a pretty impressive number. Of course we would not reach that number in one day, but it’s better to start now, and if you have multiple themes for sale this could be a nice way to do what you love and earn money.

Plugin or App Theme Development

One of the plugins that I absolutely love and use for each single WordPress project is Gravity Forms. There are many free plugins similar to this and they are great, but I and many other users find this plugin to be the best. The developers have made one thing, and this one thing named "Gravity Forms" makes creating complex forms as easy as creating a WordPress post.

Gravity Forms charges just $39 for a basic license. Having a useful product such as this along with a low price has made Gravity Forms a market leader in the WordPress forms category. Low price seems less profit, but considering the number of WordPress websites, this can get very profitable. As of today this plugin is installed on more than 300,000 WordPress websites. As WordPress developers, some of us might have already created custom functionalities for our clients. Creating a premium plugin out of it can add a new source of income.

WordPress Specific Web Hosting

Over the last few years, WordPress specific hosting has become more than just a marketing gimmick. While most web hosting companies are using WordPress in their website promotion only for SEO reasons some companies such as WPEngine.com & Page.ly have become specialized WordPress hosting platforms with almost no competition.

Many web hosting companies offer one click installation of WordPress, but WordPress users do require many other features such as automated security updates, daily backups, one click restore, etc. which are not addressed by most hosts. Despite WordPress being easy to update, many users still ignore it or are unaware of it.

For such a market, selling WordPress specific hosting which allows users to focus on their site and content while security updates & backups are taken care of becomes more useful than a general web hosting account. If you currently charge $10/month for general hosting, then you could easily charge double for WordPress specific services with your hosting. Since there are very few companies like WPEngine or Page.ly, if you start now you definitely would be among the first few companies with less competition.

Premium Support, Backup & Maintenance Services

Like WordPress specific hosting you could package your after sales maintenance services as WordPress management to offer optimization, regular security audits, backups for a fixed monthly or yearly fee. Most companies have already started doing this but are not marketing it well. If you are able to promote this service and get good reviews, even doing general updates could add an additional source of income.

Services like ManageWP.com & WPRemote.com allows us to update WordPress core, plugins, themes & take backups remotely in just a few clicks. By using this as the tool to manage your WordPress customers, instead of logging into each customer’s website, you could remotely manage all WordPress websites through one single control panel. Considering these services cost as low as $0.02 per website and your few minutes each day there is no additional requirement to start offering WordPress management services and make decent profits from day one.


While being a WordPress designer or developer and working on custom projects gives a good income, the above business ideas would give regular income by doing exactly what you want to do and on your own terms. It makes sense to get started early and who knows you could be the next person to be featured on ThemeForest for reaching a million dollars in sales.

If you have any more ideas please share them in the comments below.

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