How to make a living with WordPress – The Next Web

Matteo Duò is Content Strategist at Codeable, the #1 outsourcing service for WordPress providing top-notch WordPress experts to small businesses, agencies, and bloggers. Wanna know know more about WordPress and entrepreneurship? Check out Codeable blog.

In all of the Interwebs, WordPress plays a key role. It can lay claim to 60+ million websites, 65 percent of the CMS-powered websites market share and a vast community of enthusiast developers, designers, and advocates.

Because of this, it should be your choice to start an online business, whether it’d be about selling products or providing custom services. So, how can you earn money with WordPress?

If you think of WordPress as a way to make a living out of it, two things will immediately pop up in your mind: development and Web design. As the most widespread CMS in 2015, WordPress is a marketplace for developers and designers to capitalize on.

Building, developing and customizing WordPress themes and plugins is one of the first ways to start your career within the WordPress market. Even if you’re not yet ready to commit to a full-time freelancing working schedule, this option offers an effective way to gather experience, exposure and, mostly, new income.


If this is the business path you’d love to start with, your immediate goal should be to show your talent around and let prospects easily contact you. This means, your first efforts should be targeted to:

  • Make your website look professional
  • Publish a portfolio of your works
  • Create case studies
  • Write about your business

I know what you’re thinking right now: developing and designing WordPress plugins or themes is a broad market, and I’ll hardly earn money right from the start. That’s why I suggest targeting WordPress segments and be a WordPress expert in one of the following fields:

They say “find your niche” right? You now have three interesting ones that can get even more specific.

Nobody likes when things go wrong, and when there’s money involved, it’s even worse. That’s why savvy entrepreneurs know the importance of a recurring check-up of their online WordPress website and ask experts to look at several aspects.

If you’re an experienced WordPress developer, you’d be able to provide great value to those customers by offering services like:

  • Web servers, code and performance optimization
  • WordPress core, themes, plugins updates and compatibility check
  • WordPress premium support

freelancer work call

Again, if this is within your area of expertise but think it’s too crowded, you could target a growing market segment by providing security audit services and reviews for plugins and themes, like the Sucuri team is doing.

With its continuously growing adoption rate, WordPress opens up possibilities for hosting providers because business owners now look for WordPress optimized server hosting, also known as WordPress managed hosting. Think of WP Engine, Flywheel, SiteGround to name a few, but there are many more.

So if downtimes are your mortal enemy, you should go all in with WordPress managed hosting and start building your services around it.

While code and design are just half of the pie here, content is everything else. Journalists, bloggers, marketers, and all sorts of content creators can tap into WordPress market by adding their services and be sure to have a new flow of money coming their way.

More and more news sites and blogs are powered by WordPress and being able to work with this CMS will give you a leg up when compared to “standard” content creators who just know how to work, for example, on Word.

So if content is your area of expertise and want to start a WordPress business around it, these are some interesting ideas to look into:

  • WordPress news websites and blogs
  • Content marketing for WordPress-based businesses
  • SEO services
  • Product descriptions for e-commerce
  • Landing page copywriting

Want to know a market segment for content-related services that is booming right now? Ok, it’s a combination of copywriting, and a little bit of UX, all mixed with analytics knowledge: the name here is conversion rate specialist.

WordPress consulting services

Consulting is a great way to cash in some money, and if you’re a solopreneur or just need to scale your business, you should take advantage of outsourcing to get things done quickly by high-quality experts.


Since providing consulting services is a compound activity, you’d want to try a mix of several plugins but be sure to have one that provides you with the possibility to create landing pages. I’d suggest one of the following:

If you’re a consultant, you could also leverage the idea of productized services, which are services condensed into a product-like fix cost. This way you can keep your expenses low yet still provide value to your customers.

What do plugins, themes and ebooks have in common? They’re all digital goods you can sell through your website. And WordPress has a plethora of plugins that can enable this feature nice and easy, also by taking care of aspects like payment gateways, accepting credit cards and other “daunting” issues non-technical users might get scared by.

To start selling products directly from your WordPress website, you might want to have a look at:

If you wish to start selling easily and with just a couple of tweaks, these plugins are what you need.

I’ll come clean: if you want to make a living selling your themes and plugins through big marketplaces, it’ll be hard because you’d need big purchasing numbers, given the low prices items are sold. And don’t forget: competition is pretty high.

If you want to take this road, you should start with these:

The growing trend here (aka your WordPress market niche) is building and selling micro-niches themes, which are themes targeted to super-specific WordPress users.

Let’s say you have a thing for designing t-shirts. How great would it be to expose your piece of art outside your city and make it available to anybody in the world? That could be possible if you built your own e-commerce site.


There are plenty of solutions out there to empower your WordPress website, one of which is the well-known, recently acquired by Automattic, WooCommerce, and all its useful extensions to address further your needs.

So if you wish to build your e-commerce site on WordPress, check these out:

Ready to sell online in 3, 2, 1…

Another great way for you to start a new income funnel is by providing premium content to paying users who subscribe to your website. Best use cases in this market are businesses that provide lessons and paid subscriptions to access areas of your website.

Membership plugins can be used for many users’ needs like discussions forums, exclusive “areas”, premium content, and so on. So, if you’ve something similar in mind, go check these plugins out:

If you want to know more about membership plugins (and WordPress), add Chris Lema to your feed reader.

Anyone can use a template, or download a plugin, but it takes a WordPress expert to understand how to address effectively the technical issues and accomplish the desired goal.

With its fast-paced adoption rate, WordPress is the market in which you should move your entrepreneurial steps because an increasing number of users and businesses are looking for WordPress services and products. I shared some of the most interesting ways to kick-start your WordPress journey, now you need to get it off the ground.

Read Next: The 18 best blogging and publishing platforms on the internet today

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