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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 ;)

Published in: Design, Technology, Business

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  • 1. 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
  • 2. #WCT09 #WPbucks Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 3. Introductions Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 4. Lucia Mancuso Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 5. Peter Flaschner Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 6. The Blog Studio Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 7. Founded in April 2004 Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 8. Observed an opportunity to reach a global market Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 9. 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
  • 10. Worked in-house (literally) for about a year. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 11. Went virtual for a couple of years Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 12. Moved into our current office a year ago Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 13. Clients include Turner Broadcasting Unicef The US political right + over 100 more Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 14. Positioned ourselves as a high end shop and concentrated our expertise on project management and service. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 15. Specialize WordPress and Expression Engine Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 16. 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
  • 17. Market History Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 18. Couple of things to consider: Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 19. 1. Growth of supply side Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 20. 2004 there were about 10 companies IN THE WORLD doing business oriented blog design Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 21. SXSW 06 “How to make money with your blog design skills” Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 22. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 23. 2. Growth of demand side Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 24. Growth of blogosphere Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 25. 2M blogs in April 2004 Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 26. State of the Blogosphere / 2008 Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 27. 3. Growth of our capabilities Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 28. Increased sophistication of blog CMSs Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 29. + Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 30. Move towards standards-based websites (away from flash) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 31. = Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 32. Blog designers were really well positioned to do general web design Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 33. In other words: bigger projects & more opportunities Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 34. 4. Introduction of viable “off the shelf” site solutions Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 35. Good looking, well designed and put together, easy to customize via back- end Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 36. 5. Fall 2008 market crash Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 37. Clients looking to cut costs Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 38. So: Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 39. What does the market look like now? Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 40. Shaky AND Promising Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 41. While $$ is tight, smart companies are investing on online Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 42. Clients KNOW they need to be in this space Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 43. Clients are less willing to take risks Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 44. There are lots of ways for clients to get a site Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 45. Off the shelf Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 46. Premium off the shelf Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 47. Semi custom Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 48. Full custom Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 49. Local designer/ developer Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 50. “Off-shore” Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 51. Job board (elance) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 52. Given all of the above, how can we blog designers make a living? Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 53. We’re going to take a look at 10 strategies: Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 54. 1. Full service Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 55. • Strategy • project management • IA • training • UI design • documentation • development • maintenance • CMS integration Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 56. Pro: Can land larger projects Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 57. Pro: Work on fewer projects at a time Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 58. Pro: Can exercise passion for social media, marketing, communications, design, development, etc etc Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 59. Pro: Can charge a premium for single point of contact Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 60. Con: Overhead Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 61. Con: Requires dedicated project management Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 62. Con: Risk that a single large client doesn’t pay Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 63. Con: Give up some flexibility Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 64. 2. Develop premium themes Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 65. Pro: Work once, get paid while you sleep Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 66. Pro: No clients! Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 67. Pro: Did I say get paid while you sleep? Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 68. Con: Support Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 69. Con: Legality Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 70. Con: Prices are coming WAYYYYY down. Competition is global Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 71. 3. Develop premium plugins Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 72. There’s a lot of room in the marketplace for supported plugins . Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 73. Pro: the whole getting paid while you sleep thing Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 74. Con: support & legality Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 75. Con: upgrades and updates Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 76. 4. Streamline your operations Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 77. Create base themes Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 78. Organize your code library. Snippets are your friend. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 79. Pro: efficiency & margins Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 80. Con: takes time to actually organize Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 81. 5. Specialize in customizing existing themes Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 82. Pro: MASSIVE market Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 83. Pro: Incredibly easy to get work Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 84. Con: clients don’t want to pay very much Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 85. Con: Client expectations remain very high, despite low cost Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 86. 6. Do quick and dirty design/development (high volume) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 87. Pro: lots of work out there Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 88. Pro AND Con: very low touch/low service Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 89. Pro AND Con: Very form-based client communication Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 90. Con: Low satisfaction client/supplier relationship Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 91. Con: Client expectations need to be aggressively managed. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 92. 7. Offer specialized service Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 93. Just developer Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 94. Just designer Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 95. Just plugin developer Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 96. Just project manager Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 97. Just sales Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 98. Pro: specialists can usually charge a premium Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 99. Con: you’d better like what you do Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 100. Con: really dependent on your partners Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 101. 8. Go super niche Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 102. Just build sites for basket weaving tulip farmers Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 103. Consider if you can reach your super- niche Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 104. Trade journals, trade sites, conferences, etc Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 105. Pro: captive market Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 106. Pro: reuse hard-won knowledge Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 107. Pro: reuse strategy/ components/etc Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 108. Con: limited niche size Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 109. Con: sensitive to competition Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 110. 9. Offer additional services Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 111. Hosting Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 112. Email marketing Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 113. Social Media strategy Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 114. Training Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 115. Server maintenance Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 116. SEO Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 117. Pro: can generate ongoing revenue Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 118. Con: You have to know what you’re doing Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 119. 10. Explore other platforms (less competition) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 120. Expression Engine Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 121. Joomla Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 122. Drupal Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 123. Yadda yadda yadda Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 124. Pro: less competition Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 125. Con: learning curve Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 126. Our hard won advice Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 127. Think beta Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 128. Trust your instinct Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 129. Learn which projects to avoid Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 130. Good, Cheap, Quick: pick two Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 131. Charge for your time (all of it) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 132. Get your link on the footer of the sites you launch. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 133. Consider your qualifications, your time, your safety-net, and most importantly, what are you passionate about? Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 134. Be willing to work your ass off Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 135. In conclusion Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 136. There’s a place for everyone in the market Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 137. Figure out what you’re passionate about and do it Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 138. Consider your client’s needs, and be respectful of their time and money Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 139. Let’s raise the caliber for everyone Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • 140. Thanks! Peter Flaschner (@flashlight) Lucia Mancuso (@lulula) The Blog Studio (@theblogstudio) www.theblogstudio.com Tuesday, May 12, 2009

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