In order to make money as a WordPress developer, you need to do a lot of things right without wasting too much time. WordPress is the most powerful and popular content management system out there which opens doors to a lot of great opportunities.
In this article, I am going to walk you through all the viable ideas and options you can try starting today to make money as a WordPress developer.
Hint: Most of the don’t require you to actually build themes or plugins.
So, let’s get started.
Table of content
Become an intern at a web design agency.
Web design agencies are always looking for talented developers and designers. Since they don’t have to pay you as much as an experienced WordPress developer, your chances of getting a paid internship are bright.
They get to have an extra set of hands on the desk and you get to build your credibility in the industry and gain some experience in the process.
It’s highly unlikely that you won’t get paid even in your first internship, so, an internship at a reputable agency is the best way to lay some solid foundation when starting out as a web developer.
How do you find the perfect web design agency to start an internship?
I would strongly recommend in favor of a searching the local market as it is the easiest when it comes to daily commuting. You won’t be making 5-figures with this intership, so staying local will help you in saving some bucks before moving to some other place for better employment opportunities.
That said, if you have some money saved and are willing to move to a different location for an attractive internship opportunity, here’s a few places to search:
- Search Linkedin.
- Join a bunch of Facebook groups for WordPress Developers.
- Frequently visit some technical job boards.
- Search Freelancer.com for on-site job posts.
Remember, the aim is not to make a lot of money but to gain some real world experience in this field and get some testimonials from your employers.
These initial testimonials will help you in landing more clients in future without this level of hustle or grinding.
Start with Freelancing using UpWork or Fiverr.
There are a couple of bloggers who will advice you to stay away from freelancing as much as possible. To some extent, they are right. But, freelancing is not as bad as it looks.
You can easily make a couple of hundred dollars by spending just 2-3 hours daily. Most freelancers on Fiverr and UpWork either use a premium WordPress theme to build their client websites or modify a child theme to give it a unique look and feel.
If you already have an internship and think that you can spend a few hours after work on building some basic WordPress websites, give freelancing a try.
Furthermore, freelancing has taught me so much about running a business, managing my time, and solving even the most complex WordPress troubles on my own that I can start a WordPress business without a single employee.
That’s the power of freelancing.
With all the good things, comes a few bad sides as well. Freelancing is often referred to as the digital rat race in which you underprice your services to make a few bucks.
So, if you are willing to compromise a bit and make some money in your first month as freelancer, here are two of my personal favorites.
Freelancing with Fiverr.
Fiverr is the cheapest freelance platform. You can get someone to solve a tiny issue for just $5 or hire a pro for just $700+ to build a fully functional WordPress website.
Don’t expect them to build you the next Facebook, but if it’s fixing the font size on the homepage of a website, Fiverr is the right place to go.
The signup process is simple and straightforward.
All you need to do is verify your credentials, fill your profile with all the necessary information, and post some gig for your prospects to view, and you are all set.
You can either wait for some potential clients to contact you or you can start to reply to buyer’s requests.
Fiverr promotes promising Gigs on their homepage and on the search results page, so if you are a new seller, you may get some clients in the first few weeks itself.
Freelancing with UpWork.
UpWork is the matured, elder brother of Fiverr. It will probably take you a lot of time and patience to make it in this website. Unlike Fiverr, you have to bid on projects. Bidding is limited and most people wouldn’t want to work with a complete newbie.
To solve this problem, you can attempt a few WordPress tests to establish yourself as a skilled WordPress developer who knows what he/she’s doing. (UpWork has now removed the testing feature. Please take some skill tests from any third-party providers that you can use on your UpWork portfolio)
UpWork is more suitable for freelancers who are looking to build a long-lasting career as developers. If you don’t want to commit to this, you should stick with Fiverr where you’ll be able to make a few hundred dollars while solving WordPress issues and troubles.
Start selling premium WordPress themes.
If you think you are up for the challenge and have what it takes to sell some cool looking premium WordPress themes, more power to you.
Selling WordPress themes online is the most common way any experienced WordPress developer makes money.
The never ending lists of benefits include unlimited earning potential, owning your own business and scaling your revenue by adding a few more themes to your catalog.
All you have to do is build one decent looking WordPress theme and market it to millions of potential customers worldwide.
If you think this is a bit tiresome, you can collaborate with a few other developers to get this project rolling and share the revenue.
Sell premium WordPress plugins.
Just like premium WordPress themes, WordPress plugins have a market of their own. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that plugins sell way more than themes today. Plus, you could easily make recurring income with some premium plugins.
Plugins such as ACF, Backup Buddy, and Duplicator make money selling premium versions of their plugins. The latter two actually make recurring income by charging the customers on a yearly basis.
What type of plugins should you sell?
You could sell a variety of plugins including:
- Social media plugins for social logins, content locking, and social shares.
- WordPress optimization plugins to optimize images, Google fonts, and other assets.
- Shortcodes plugins for Gutenberg block editor.
No matter which option you choose to go with, make sure to build something that blows all major options in the market out of the water, or else you will have a hard time selling your plugin to anyone.
Nobody will want to spend their hard earned money on a below-par product when there are hundreds of quality products with a history of upgrades and regular patches.
Launch a WordPress Support Service.
This is how I started making money with freelancing back in 2012.
All you need is a basic website to showcase your skills and hard working attitude.
I signed up with Freelancer and oDesk (now UpWork) as I had no other options to get some initial clients. Soon after signing up, I started getting small troubleshooting orders and eventually started getting some huge orders from designers and developers.
If you hate freelancing, you can start a WordPress blog and solve common and rare WordPress bugs that many bloggers and publishers face when running a WordPress website solo. This will bring quite a lot of potential clients to your website and help you in making some extra income without paying the 20% commission to your freelance platform.
Although there are many other players in the market, you’d be surprised that there’s still a lot of room for a better, optimized service provider.
You can also team up with a few developers and start your own team of awesome WordPress troubleshooting experts.
Make money as a WordPress developer by optimizing websites.
Don’t want to solve WordPress errors and just want to focus on one particular service?
Offering WordPress optimization service might be your cup of tea.
The best part of offering such a service is that you can also make some money with affiliate marketing.
Most newbie bloggers start out with poor, slow shared hosting companies and want to move to a much more powerful hosting. You can help them choose a good hosting.
Sending even 10 customers to Bluehost will land you approximately $700. That’s a $700 you’ll earn for doing virtually nothing.
Since the customers are coming to you and rely on your expert advice to make an informed decision when choosing their next hosting partner, you don’t have to spend hundreds of hours writing blog posts and promoting content to attract search engine traffic.
Furthermore, optimizing a WordPress blog is no longer a tedious task. You can use a few good plugins and achieve the 3 second load times without breaking a sweat.
Become a technical virtual assistant.
This may not sound as cool as the other options in this article, but people pay big chunks for talented and qualified virtual assistants.
You don’t need to be a developer to become a virtual assistant but having a background in programming and web development can help you land a lot of high paying clients who need help with updating the business websites, managing blog content, and social media posting.
Usually, people pay upward of $30/hour for a qualified virtual assistant in the field of coding and web development. So, if you think you can spend a few months as a virtual assistant in the initial days, go for it.
Get started with blogging and make money with affiliate marketing.
Blogging is one of the most talked-about revenue generation methods out there. It’s always been the most popular way of making a stable, recurring monthly income while being your own boss.
Many people don’t start their blogs assuming that blogging is dead and they will probably never see a single penny with it.
That’s not true. Blogging will never die.
If you are interested in learning why, read this article – Why blogging isn’t dead.
That said, blogging isn’t a get rich quick scheme where you’ll start making money overnight and by the end of the month, you will be able to afford a brand new Tesla.
Yes! Those YouTube videos about how they made 2 million dollars in 1 month with affiliate marketing are nothing but a scam to make you spend money on useless products.
Blogging only works if you are willing to work hard every single day until you reach a point where you can do with just a few articles a month.
There’s no said limit to how much you can money you could make with blogging.
It totally depends on your potential, niche knowledge, and networking skills.
Lots of complicated terms, I know. Believe me, when you blog for few months — slowing and steadily — you’ll start picking up new skills that’ll help you in establishing your brand new blog online.
Start a WordPress migration service for enterprise clients.
WordPress migration is a huge industry.
You may not have heard of it but there are so many agencies, developers, and bloggers who actively search for reliable migration services that anyone willing to dedicate a few hours a day moving websites from one host to another will be able to make a decent amount of money every month.
Unlike the old days, WordPress migration isn’t too complex or time-consuming. With a good internet connection and an A-Z WordPress backup and migration tools, you will be able to migrate even the heaviest WordPress websites in a few hours.
Write articles for WordPress publications.
If you have a knack for teaching people, the best thing to do as a newbie WordPress developer is to share your expertise with aspiring developers.
Two mediums to start teaching people for money is to write for popular WordPress publications such a WPBeginner or WPlift.
If you think you have some great WordPress workarounds and guides, get in touch with these publications, and start making money.
How do you get in touch with these blogs?
- Go to their website’s homepage.
- Search for the “Contact us” page.
- Fill in all your details in the “contact us” form or copy the email address mentioned there and send a direct email.
- Keep it short and simple.
Quick Note: Sending too many emails might get your flagged. To be safe, create a secondary email account for this outreaching activities.
Become a support executive for reputed WordPress developers.
Most freelance WordPress developers don’t have time to offer after-sales support or technical support. They often struggle with juggling multiple clients and eventually end up outsourcing to a third-party agency.
You can approach these developers and agencies with your support package proposal.
Since you already don’t have an impressive portfolio, many developers will ignore you.
But, don’t lose your hope.
If you aren’t getting any responses from freelance developers, try contacting some web design agencies.
Most of them will pay you on a per client.
So, if you get a bulk order, you will be able to make a lot of money without spending too much time debugging problems as most clients will not ever contact you with troubleshooting requests.
Conclusion: Make money as a WordPress Developer.
I am aware that there are more than 20 ways to make money as a WordPress developer but the above listed ones are the most promising ones.
Since most of them don’t require you to build custom WordPress themes, you can juggle a few jobs at a time and earn three times the money you would as a theme builder or a plugin developer.
I have also included WordPress blogging as an option in this list. Contrary to the popular belief, blogging is not dead and it still stands as the best way to showcase your knowledge while helping newbie WordPress users and aspiring WordPress developer.