The WordPress Clientele is a growing business. You have theme designers and developers, which is a huge part of that market. You also have the plugin, tutorial, and the custom project market.
The way you approach this business will determine how well you do in the long run. More often than not, I wish I had stuck it out with Drupal for the long haul. My issues have nothing to do with the platform. It’s the type of crowd it attracts. In any event, we are here today discussing this incredible WordPress eco-system along with the dos and don’ts.
WordPress Theme Market
The theme business is enormous and can really change your financial situation in a positive way. The first thing you have to do is stay dedicated to your craft no matter how bad it gets in the beginning. You really have to be great at what you do in order to succeed if you are a one-person operation. If you are only great at one thing, try to partner up with others that are great in the other fields.
WordPress themes have evolved immensely. You literally have built in “WYSIWYG” (what you see is what you get) tools for the non-coders. Some of them can be challenging and literally require tutorials to use. I find this to be counter productive since WordPress is already incredibly easy to use. In spite of that, those are best selling themes.
WordPress Plugin Market
I have read several articles about developers that specialize in plugins only and they are quite content with it. I began writing my own plugins a very long time ago for one reason. Functionality! Some plugins are poorly written and conflict with other functionalities and vital scripts. Nine out 10 times a bad plugin will literally break your site.
WordPress is built on the idea of simplicity and efficiency. It is almost bare bone out of the box, but the right plugin from a reputable source can morph your website into just about anything. In spite of this flexibility, you have to be mindful of conflicting scripts and the level of support a plugin developer is willing to provide.
I would never identify myself as a hard-core coder, but I can hold my own. What I do know and understand is that the core of WordPress offers a flexibility that can only be rivaled by paid applications like Craft and Expression Engine.
WordPress Tutorial Market
I do not mean to come off negative or harsh, but any joker with a pulse and a laptop can fashion themselves a WordPress guru today. Why? The application is easy to use and you can build almost anything with it very fast. I’ve been to a few “WordPress Meet Ups”, where the host knew very little about the application, but was teaching it.
Keep in mind that we live in an age of short attention spans and instant gratification. WordPress offers that to an extent. I have seen people take advantage of that repeatedly. Hey! It’s easier to teach a novice how to use WordPress than how to write the most basic HTML and CSS.
I always tell clients, anything that is worth doing will take some time to get use to. On the flip side of that, if a person is entering a situation with a closed mind, they have already decided their fate before anything happened.
WordPress Customization Market
Dealing with a WordPress end user can be very rewarding and quite misleading. It’s like dating a very pretty woman that is poor. You are not sure if she really digs you or the very expensive car that you picked her up in.
The first thing I learned about customizing projects is to ignore the word “Custom”. Most of the end users you will deal with already have a theme they want to use in tow. Don’t bother offering them one of your themes. Your challenge is to bend and fold that theme they have to your will.
If your themes are really really good, you do not want to bother with end user clients. Some can be very challenging. I had one client that had 40 plugins installed on her site. She was only using about 10 of them. I disabled one plugin and the entire site crashed.
The majority of WordPress clients do not have a large sum of money to spend on their project. Some clients need a web portal and are not necessarily asking for WordPress. However, you end up building their project on the platform and they are eternally grateful. Why? The beautiful design and how easy it is to use.
If you want to keep your client happy, do not give them admin rights to their own site. Give them the ability to edit content. Therefore, they cannot break anything, ever. Most importantly, once the site is up and running and they love it, make a back up copy. The one thing I tend to overlook more often than not; use a child theme for whatever theme they use. One update from that theme will erase all your customization.
I skipped the part on why I do not provide links to various theme shops, plugin dispensaries, tutorial portals, and freelancer designers / developers. WordPress is the most used platform on the web. You will not have a hard time finding anything involving that platform. Happy hunting…