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Making More Money as a WordPress Developer

Making More Money as a WordPress Developer

wordpress developer

If you know your way around the backside of a website, you’ve got some great opportunities as a WordPress developer. Either as a full-time job or earning extra money as a side-hustle.

It sounds crazy, but 37% of all websites are WordPress sites. That’s over 400 million sites, and the number continues to grow. That’s a lot of opportunity for work!

And that includes big and small companies that might need a full-time developer or even beginning bloggers that just need some part-time help to get their sites up and functional. 

Either route you take, there is money to be made! How much? Let’s take a look!

How much does a WordPress Developer make?

The work done by WordPress developers is very broad, so the range of salaries is too. But ZipRecruiter says the average annual pay for a WP developer in the U.S. is over $65,000, with a high salary of $110,000.

And the work covers such a broad range, it’s not difficult to find the kind of work you enjoy doing. You could help develop entire sites, or you could choose to focus on one aspect you enjoy like developing themes or plugins. 

If you enjoy the variety of working on all parts of web development then great. But one of the benefits of focusing on one or two areas is that you can establish yourself as an expert in that area. Often times that allows you to charge higher rates. Fewer clients and higher rates are just what many people are looking for in a side job.

Let’s look at some of those areas that you could focus on.

Areas of web development

Core Development

Developers that work in core development handle creating, editing, and working with the WordPress core. Of course, WordPress has an official core team, and in fact, it’s directed by co-founder Matt Mullenweg. But because of the open-source nature of WordPress, anyone can contribute code. Some core developers work to come up with the next big feature for WordPress, while others focus on streamlining and improving what is already created.

Theme Development

Lots of developers show their creativity by creating new themes for the enormous WordPress theme directory. But you could also work directly with a client to come up with a theme that makes sense for their site and brand. You could also develop themes and sell them on a third-party marketplace.

Plugin Development 

Like theme developers, you could focus on plugins for all of WordPress, or for a specific client.

We mentioned that fewer clients can lead to higher rates which can increase your developer salary, but here are a few other tips.

Tips to increase your salary as a WordPress Developer

Strengthen your WordPress skills  

You may be really good at the area you’ve chosen to focus on, but technology changes like the wind these days. Continuing your education is always a good idea. Online courses are easy to find. Even reading basic books that your clients are reading will help you communicate with them better.

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Improve your basic core skills

We’ve all worked with that company IT guy or girl that was the smartest person in the building but was “less-than” when it came to dealing with people. If you’re going to be a freelancer, you’ll be responsible for a lot more than just technical know-how. 

Finding clients and communicating with them after you find them are also hugely important to your success. Improving your communication skills will help make sure that you and your clients are moving in the same direction. Setting expectations for both parties on the front end is important. And your client likely hired you because they don’t “speak computer,” so putting the project in terms they can understand is paramount, to avoid misunderstandings and bad feelings down the line.


Negotiation is another skill that you’ll need to either learn or brush up on. It sets the tone for your relationship with the client moving forward. Formalizing what you will provide the client, what they will provide you, the project completion date, and rates for the work, these are just part of what needs to be understood by both parties, and probably also put in writing.

Then once you start getting more clients, you’ll need to learn to manage your time, organize your systems and projects, handle the billing of clients, etc. Streamlining this process is key if you want to retain clients and grow your business.

The quickest way to lose a client is to not provide them what was promised. While there is a lot of web development work available, there is also a lot of competition for people wanting that work.

Final Thoughts

WordPress development is a booming business. And the good news is it shows no signs of slowing down. So finding the work should continue to be relatively easy. To become a WordPress developer or to increase your salary, just do a little research, start small, and continue to learn as you go. The possibilities are endless!

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