We are living in tough economic times. Job cuts have become commonplace, the housing market crash affected thousands, banks are collapsing like dominos and entire countries are on the brink of bankruptcy. Things may seem bleak, but to every dark cloud there is a silver lining.
Faced with layoffs and pay cuts, workers have actually become more empowered to set up on their own as self-employed traders, service providers and professionals. A salaried position with a large corporation is no longer the safe and secure option it once was.
We are seeing a paradigm shift in attitudes towards work and life, perhaps the biggest to occur since the industrial revolution. An increasing number of people are abandoning the office and traditional 9-to-5 lifestyle and moving towards flexible working from home, freelancing and entrepreneurship.
It’s now easier than ever before to make a career for yourself and avoid relying on an employer for your monthly paychecks. The barriers to entry are practically zero and the web is full of helpful advice and tips to get you started. Got a WordPress site? Welcome to a world where economic freedom is well within your grasp.
The ideas are limited only by your imagination but in this article I’m going to cover a few of the most popular and easiest ways to make money with a WordPress site that you can get started with today.
Ten years ago, if you wanted to make it as a freelance writer you’d have to do it the hard way: pitch ideas to magazines, send your manuscript off to publishers, hire yourself an agent and so on. These days, advances in technology and communication have opened up the world of freelance writing to everyone and it can be one of the fastest ways to start making money online.
The explosion in numbers of websites and blogs and the trend towards content marketing means that demand for bloggers and copywriters is higher than ever before. And you don’t need a degree in journalism to apply for a job as an online writer – all you need is proof that you can write in a way that is entertaining and easy to read.
Where does that proof come from? Your WordPress site of course! The great thing about freelance writing is that you don’t need any previous experience. While having some testimonials from big name clients is nice, a few well-written samples published on your own blog is enough to get your foot in the door. A WordPress blog makes an excellent portfolio for a writer and provides an easy way for clients to contact you.
Always wanted to write a book? No better time than now – the self-publishing revolution has meant that writing the great American novel needs no longer be just a pipe dream. In fact, anyone who is willing to sit down at their computer and churn out enough words has a fair chance at becoming the next bestselling author to make headlines.
Of course, good writing is only part of successful publishing (and some would argue judging by some titles on the bestseller lists that writing talent doesn’t come into it at all!). Marketing your book is also hugely important and this is where your WordPress site comes in.
Forget traditional book tours and interviews – your blog is one of your most effective marketing weapon. As a writer, your WordPress blog can be used as a hub for building an audience hungry to read more of your work and who are keen to recommend your books to anyone who will listen.
2. Design and Development
Talented in Photoshop or Illustrator? Code wizard? Got a knack for coming up with innovative ideas for smartphone apps? As with writing, it’s now easier than ever before to market and sell your services via your website.
WordPress sites make great portfolios, whatever your specialism. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of WordPress portfolio themes available that are designed to showcase your work in its best light.
As well as using WordPress to create an online photo, it’s also really easy to add a blog. Blogging about your work is a great way to connect with prospective clients, draw in traffic through content marketing and search engine optimization and build your brand.
3. Theme and Plugin Development
Developing tools and services for the WordPress community is another great income opportunity for the designers and developers amongst us. WordPress itself has hugely increased the market for design and development services in the form of theme and plugin development.
Bespoke sites coded from scratch are becoming a less popular choice as clients realize that WordPress sites are easy to administrate and update themselves. At first consideration, this may seem to be a bad thing for web developers, but in fact the opposite is true.
WordPress offers a great skeleton on which to build a site right out of the box. What’s missing from that initial installation is an original, visually spectacular theme or a plugin that provides the exact functionality that each individual client requires.
When you’re developing products for the WordPress community, you have a built-in audience and marketing solution working for you. Premium plugins are easily advertised via the WordPress.org plugin directory (if you’re happy to create a free version) and there are also many third party sites which give designers and developers a platform to sell their themes and plugins.
The great thing about this business model is that it gives you the opportunity to start building passive income. Rather than traditional service-based businesses where you sell your skills for a one-time fee, by selling downloadable products you can keep making sales indefinitely, with minimal ongoing work needed in the form of administration and support services.
While plugins and themes you create for public sale will most likely be priced lower than a bespoke project, they have the potential to make you a lot more money over time through multiple sales.
4. Stock Photography and Illustration
Are you skilled in the art of photography or an artist looking for a new way to commercialize your talent? In the same way that you can commoditize a web design or development business by selling themes and plugins, you can do the same thing with graphics and photographs and by selling them as stock images.
While it’s easy enough to sell stock images through sites like iStockPhoto, it can be beneficial to sell your photographs and illustrations directly from your own website. Not only can you avoid the fees associated with third party websites, but communicating directly with customers helps to build your brand and allows you to be more flexible with pricing models.
To set up your own stock images site, an e-commerce theme such as WooCommerce, combined with a portfolio WordPress theme, works a treat.
Got a product to sell? Want to make a living from your arts and crafts without sites like Etsy taking their cut? While in the past a bespoke e-commerce site would have cost thousands of dollars to set up and as such would only be available to big brands with large budgets, there are now a wide selection of e-commerce plugins and themes making it easy for you to set up shop online.
With a WordPress store front powered by a plugin like WooCommerce, you can sell whatever you choose, take online payments, run coupon campaigns, manage stock levels, control shipping fees and more. While traditional e-commerce stores may be quite complicated to use and require a team of staff to administrate, WordPress e-commerce plugins are, as you would expect, very easy to use and suitable for small businesses or sole traders.
When it comes to marketing your products, this is easy to do via a WordPress blog incorporated into your store website. Optimize your blog content for search engines, write about your products, comment on other blogs and watch the sales come rolling in!
6. Affiliate Marketing
If you feel like you don’t have any specialist creative or technical skills, don’t have a product to sell, or don’t have the budget to buy stock, all is not lost. Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways of getting started making money online with no previous knowledge or capital required.
Affiliate marketing works on the commission model – if you refer someone to a website and they buy a product from that site, you’ll then be paid a percentage of the sale as a fee for referring them.
Affiliate programs exist for all sorts of products, from digital products and e-books to physical products, insurance, flights, business services and practically anything you can think of. Different programs work in different ways but in essence, you’ll link to a website or product with a special URL that allows the affiliate provider to track that the customer came via your site.
As becoming an affiliate marketer is as easy as signing up with an affiliate scheme and putting a link on your website, anyone can do it. You can include affiliate links within the normal text of your blog or set up a store front with product images that looks like an e-commerce store – the choice is up to you and whichever option you choose, it’s easily done with WordPress.
Start Making Money Online With WordPress
As the examples above show, there are numerous ways that anyone willing to learn can build their own income with only a simple WordPress website and a little research. A business built on any of these models is quick and cheap implement so does not carry the financial risk of more traditional business ideas.
What do you have to lose? Start a WordPress business today and quitting your job may be a real possibility in the not-too-distant future. Join the ranks of the self-employed, take charge of your own finances and change your life for the better.