What is WordPress?
WordPress is a powerhouse in the web development space. It’s one of the easiest content management systems (CMS) for users that have little coding experience. This has resulted in it becoming an incredibly popular platform for a whole host of companies – from small independent stores to media conglomerates.
There are two different ways to build a website using WordPress. One option is to build your website on their own servers – this is similar to opening up a blog. This is actually free if you’re fine using the most basic service. But for a dedicated URL, email functionality, and total freedom over the design, you’re better off going for the paid plan.
The cheaper, and more popular, choice is to download the WordPress CMS onto your own dedicated website. This takes a little bit longer as you’ll need to purchase your own URL and find a decent web server, but it works out more cost effective. Since it’s a little more complicated, this is why many companies hire a WordPress developer.
WordPress developers specialize in using the CMS – but this often requires a whole host of skills. At the very least, you’ll need a basic understanding of coding, as well as web content and design. This is one of the easiest ways to get into development, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a bit of a learning curve.
It’s also super customizable! Experienced WordPress developers can design their own themes, shape how the user uploads content and build plug-ins to improve functionality. It seems pretty restrictive when you start out, but gain a solid understanding of coding and the options are truly endless.
How is WordPress used in web development?
WordPress is arguably the most popular content management system out there. A content management system is how web designers manage the appearance of a website. This is where you upload images, write text, and arrange widgets. They are designed so even those without significant coding knowledge can manage websites.
The reason WordPress is so popular is due to how easy it is to use. Originally designed for blogging, it has been adapted enough times to now allow all kinds of websites. Content is king online – whether you’re a publishing house or a small business. It’s impossible to have a substantial digital marketing campaign these days without paying attention to content marketing.
WordPress web developers will have a bit more experience and knowledge than the average user. You’ll likely have to know more about coding and web development generally. Companies tend to hire WordPress web developer freelancers on a one-off basis to set-up the website, so you’ll probably find yourself switching jobs frequently.
The great thing about WordPress is how adaptable it is. It comes with a whole host of themes and plug-ins that change how the website works and its functionality. Everything from e-commerce to community building can be done through a WordPress website these days.
What’s also great about the plug-ins and themes is you’re not limited to what’s already available. Many WordPress web developers don’t even work on the websites themselves – instead, they’ll build custom add-ons to help businesses modify the website to their needs. This is a great way to find repeated work within the field.
How to become a WordPress web developer?
First things first, you’ll have to learn the basics of using WordPress. If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend opening a blog on their website and playing around with the basic functionality. You’ll need more than this to actually become a developer, but it’s important you understand the basics before diving right in.
You’ll also need to learn about how websites upload WordPress onto their own server. If you already have your own website, try switching it over to a WordPress CMS. Otherwise, find an inexpensive domain and host to play around with. Again, this is pretty basic, but it’s the bare minimum you’ll need to know before working as a WordPress developer.
After all of that you’ll need to get into the heavier stuff. PHP and MySQL are essential skills for WordPress developers. You’ll need to know the fundamentals of coding to use these. There are plenty of excellent classes online, many of which are specifically designed for WordPress development. These will give you more structure as you learn.
You should also join an online community. WordPress is so popular that there are thousands for you to choose from. This keeps you updated on the latest developments, and is also great for troubleshooting.
What jobs require knowing WordPress development?
Every web developer will need to know WordPress development. It’s such a widespread CMS that you won’t get very far without learning how to do it. Ironically, most web developers learn the harder skills like coding and building a website from scratch first. WordPress is absolutely a short-cut which is why it’s so popular in the first place!
Beyond web developers, this is also a great skill for digital marketers, content writers, and media professionals to have. So many businesses and publications use WordPress that learning how to develop a WordPress website – as well as themes and plug-ins – will really let you stand out from the crowd. Chances are, you’ll encounter a WordPress website at least once in your career anyway. Learning how to build one from scratch will give you an early foot in the door.
Ultimately, you’re unlikely to find a career that only involves WordPress development – either you’re a full stack web developer, or you’re working on the content end of the business. That being said, if you’re going down the freelance route it’s a fantastic way to supplement your income. WordPress development takes less time than building a website from scratch, but many organizations pay the skill just as well.
Speaking about that – if you’re setting up your own business you can save a lot of money learning WordPress development. This is hands down one of the easiest ways to set up a website. Don’t get us wrong – there are some slightly easier platforms that offer domain, hosting and design in one package (including WordPress itself). You’ll still save a lot of money learning how to do it all yourself. The CMS is free, so learn how to actually use it.
Average WordPress web developer salary with various levels of experience
As we mentioned above, you won’t find any remote jobs that are just in WordPress development. In general, a web developer can add around $3-10k per year to their salary with WordPress development skills. This works out at around $56k average, going over $150k with plenty of experience.
It’s a little bit different for digital marketers. If you know how to develop a website, you can add anywhere from $10-30k to your salary, but this doesn’t just apply to WordPress. Take a look at your industry, and if WordPress is the most common CMS, then it’s a super cost- effective way for you to boost your income. This puts the average salary for a digital marketer with web design up to $60k in the United States, reaching around $140k+ with experience.
And what about freelancers? It depends on whether you’re a WordPress developer or a WordPress implementer. The latter takes less work, but many companies consider it the same thing. Those that do distinguish will pay it at a slightly lower rate as it does not require coding. Expect around a $22/hour rate on average.
For those with coding experience, the entry level rate is $28/hour. This can reach up to $150/hour with lots of experience under your belt. As always, we recommend using the hourly rate as a base but actually charging per project or per day worked. As you build experience, you’ll figure out how long it takes you. Add an extra 33% onto this for troubleshooting and other fixes that might come up.
How common is using WordPress development amongst digital nomads?
It’s not the most common skill overall, but it’s probably the most common web development skill. WordPress is so widespread that most digital nomads will encounter it at some point in their work. Even if you’re not a developer there’s a good chance you’ll use it with content writing and social media.
What we will say is that a lot of digital nomads think they’re more experienced than they are. It’s one thing to create a WordPress website (which requires no coding) and another thing to develop one (which requires heaps of technical knowledge). Make sure you’re clear about your exact skills whenever you’re applying for work.
WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world. By learning how to develop WordPress websites, you are opening up a huge range of career opportunities. It’s so popular, though, that lots of people know how to make a WordPress website. Make sure you learn all of the skills necessary to stand out from the crowd.