WordPress is one of the most prolific web authoring tools available. It’s versatile and, with the right plug-ins, you can use it as a full-featured content management system. If your technologically savvy, there’s an enormous market available, including casual bloggers, photographers and home-based businesses.
Since WordPress is licensed under the GNU/GPL, you can’t directly profit from the code. You can, however, use it as a launching pad for a respectable income stream. The only thing you need is a good understanding of the system as it relates to your specialty. Web designers should understand the templating system, and developers should know the most commonly used functions.
If you’re unsure of what your specialty really is, or if you’re just considering learning WordPress as a marketable skill, here are five ways you can make money with WordPress.
Installation and Configuration
Skills: PHP, MySQL, HTML, CSS
Time: 5 minutes to 2 hours
Pay: $10 to $100
To even the mildly Internet-savvy, it seems impossible that someone would pay to have software like WordPress installed. Many people do, especially when they’re creating dozens of sites at once. A standard installation involves getting the site working, adding the desired template and plug-ins and making minor settings adjustments.
Skills: HTML, CSS, WordPress templating, web design
Time: A few hours to several days
Pay: $50 to $500
WordPress theme design is an incredibly popular field among web designers. Since so many sites use WordPress to manage their content, the market is open for talented designers. You can create themes for contracted clients, and many designers create premium themes for resale. Premium themes sell for less than completely custom designs, but you can sell the same theme to hundreds of site owners to make up for the difference in volume. If you don’t have knowledge of HTML and CSS, many clients are willing to purchase designs in PSD format (for a discount) and hire a “PSD splicer” to create a coded theme.
Time: 1 hour to a few days
Pay: $15 to $250
Time: A few hours to several months
Pay: $25 to $1,000 (or more)
Custom plug-in development is without a doubt the most profitable WordPress profession. It requires extensive working knowledge of WordPress’ core functions and plug-in, widget and templating systems. Positions for a custom plug-in developer vary greatly. Some companies hire developers for a single short-term project, while others keep a developer on staff as an employee or contractor. Like theme design, you can also create custom plug-ins to sell to multiple customers, but you have to take care when doing this. Because of the WordPress license, there are potential legal problems associated with selling plug-ins that rely on existing WordPress code. If you plan on reselling a plug-in, all the code should be original.
Skills: HTML, CSS
Time: 5 hours to 40 hours, weekly
Pay: $10 or more, per hour
Companies that maintain several WordPress websites often hire a site manager. As a site manager, you’ll be expected to oversee the day to day management of the blog, including adding new content, updating themes and identifying errors. Site managers rarely need to fix bugs and perform modifications, but it is a valuable skill to have when interviewing for the position. Your pay will be largely determined by your experience and skills, the expectations of the position and the size of the company. Multi-talented site managers who can create content and correct errors typically earn more than those who can only publish premade content and identify errors.