Making a living with WordPress in 2009
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Slides from a presentation given at WordCamp Toronto in May 2009. Subject is "Making a living with WordPress in 2009". ...

Slides from a presentation given at WordCamp Toronto in May 2009. Subject is "Making a living with WordPress in 2009".

The intended audience is designers and developers working with, or interested in working with WordPress.

The tips and advice come from our 5 years experience in doing things the hard way ;)

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    Making a living with WordPress in 2009 Making a living with WordPress in 2009 Presentation Transcript

    • Making a living with WordPress in 2009 Peter Flaschner (@flashlight) Lucia Mancuso (@lulula) The Blog Studio (@theblogstudio) design & development for the social web Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • #WCT09 #WPbucks Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Introductions Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Lucia Mancuso Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Peter Flaschner Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • The Blog Studio Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Founded in April 2004 Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Observed an opportunity to reach a global market Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Grew from just me to 5 full time people in 6 months with no funding, no debt (but also no profit) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Worked in-house (literally) for about a year. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Went virtual for a couple of years Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Moved into our current office a year ago Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Clients include Turner Broadcasting Unicef The US political right + over 100 more Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Positioned ourselves as a high end shop and concentrated our expertise on project management and service. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Specialize WordPress and Expression Engine Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Team • project manager • creative director • senior developer • front-end developer • regular freelance designers • regular freelance developers • p/t book-keeper/finance guy • p/t PR Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Market History Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Couple of things to consider: Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 1. Growth of supply side Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 2004 there were about 10 companies IN THE WORLD doing business oriented blog design Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • SXSW 06 “How to make money with your blog design skills” Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 2. Growth of demand side Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Growth of blogosphere Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 2M blogs in April 2004 Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • State of the Blogosphere / 2008 Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 3. Growth of our capabilities Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Increased sophistication of blog CMSs Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • + Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Move towards standards-based websites (away from flash) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • = Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Blog designers were really well positioned to do general web design Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • In other words: bigger projects & more opportunities Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 4. Introduction of viable “off the shelf” site solutions Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Good looking, well designed and put together, easy to customize via back- end Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 5. Fall 2008 market crash Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Clients looking to cut costs Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • So: Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • What does the market look like now? Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Shaky AND Promising Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • While $$ is tight, smart companies are investing on online Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Clients KNOW they need to be in this space Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Clients are less willing to take risks Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • There are lots of ways for clients to get a site Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Off the shelf Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Premium off the shelf Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Semi custom Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Full custom Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Local designer/ developer Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • “Off-shore” Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Job board (elance) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Given all of the above, how can we blog designers make a living? Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • We’re going to take a look at 10 strategies: Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 1. Full service Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • • Strategy • project management • IA • training • UI design • documentation • development • maintenance • CMS integration Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: Can land larger projects Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: Work on fewer projects at a time Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: Can exercise passion for social media, marketing, communications, design, development, etc etc Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: Can charge a premium for single point of contact Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: Overhead Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: Requires dedicated project management Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: Risk that a single large client doesn’t pay Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: Give up some flexibility Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 2. Develop premium themes Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: Work once, get paid while you sleep Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: No clients! Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: Did I say get paid while you sleep? Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: Support Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: Legality Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: Prices are coming WAYYYYY down. Competition is global Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 3. Develop premium plugins Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • There’s a lot of room in the marketplace for supported plugins . Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: the whole getting paid while you sleep thing Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: support & legality Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: upgrades and updates Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 4. Streamline your operations Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Create base themes Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Organize your code library. Snippets are your friend. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: efficiency & margins Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: takes time to actually organize Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 5. Specialize in customizing existing themes Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: MASSIVE market Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: Incredibly easy to get work Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: clients don’t want to pay very much Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: Client expectations remain very high, despite low cost Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 6. Do quick and dirty design/development (high volume) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: lots of work out there Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro AND Con: very low touch/low service Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro AND Con: Very form-based client communication Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: Low satisfaction client/supplier relationship Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: Client expectations need to be aggressively managed. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 7. Offer specialized service Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Just developer Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Just designer Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Just plugin developer Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Just project manager Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Just sales Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: specialists can usually charge a premium Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: you’d better like what you do Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: really dependent on your partners Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 8. Go super niche Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Just build sites for basket weaving tulip farmers Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Consider if you can reach your super- niche Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Trade journals, trade sites, conferences, etc Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: captive market Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: reuse hard-won knowledge Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: reuse strategy/ components/etc Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: limited niche size Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: sensitive to competition Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 9. Offer additional services Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Hosting Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Email marketing Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Social Media strategy Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Training Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Server maintenance Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • SEO Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: can generate ongoing revenue Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: You have to know what you’re doing Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • 10. Explore other platforms (less competition) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Expression Engine Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Joomla Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Drupal Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Yadda yadda yadda Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Pro: less competition Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Con: learning curve Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Our hard won advice Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Think beta Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Trust your instinct Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Learn which projects to avoid Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Good, Cheap, Quick: pick two Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Charge for your time (all of it) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Get your link on the footer of the sites you launch. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Consider your qualifications, your time, your safety-net, and most importantly, what are you passionate about? Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Be willing to work your ass off Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • In conclusion Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • There’s a place for everyone in the market Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Figure out what you’re passionate about and do it Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Consider your client’s needs, and be respectful of their time and money Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Let’s raise the caliber for everyone Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    • Thanks! Peter Flaschner (@flashlight) Lucia Mancuso (@lulula) The Blog Studio (@theblogstudio) www.theblogstudio.com Tuesday, May 12, 2009