How to Become a WordPress Developer/Designer?

With more and more people seeing the importance of a web presence there are more people looking to become WordPress designers/developers.

WordPress is THE biggest platform for anyone who wants to build a new website and there are a lot of opportunities for interested developers/designers who want to make it big.

There are many skills needed to become successful in the modern web industry and within this article, we will discuss what is required to become a web developer and designer.

First of all, let’s cover what do you need to learn to be able to start your career as a WordPress designer or developer.

Table Of Contents

What Do You Need To Become A WordPress Developer?

  1. Strong practical knowledge about HTML
  2. CSS to design the frontend
  3. JavaScript / JQuery
  4. PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor)

1. HTML – Hypertext Mark-up Language Coding

HTML is the staple ingredient of any website design and if you are going to start a career in web design you must have an in-depth knowledge of this code.

It really isn’t that hard to learn once you start, it is mostly just logical. There are many ways in which you can learn HTML, you can attend lessons held within your local area, take a distance learning course in the comfort of your own home, at your own pace, or like most, you can use the many resources available online.

2. CSS – Cascading Style Sheets

CSS goes hand in hand with HTML to create beautiful and stylish websites. Just as the title suggests CSS coding allows you to style any website just how you or your customer likes it. CSS allows you to place images, content, and color schemes just in the exact place you want.

Just like HTML, there are many avenues available to help you learn this skill, once you have got the hang of it the key is to practice, practice, practice to really master those placement skills.

CSS is a very powerful tool with regards to website design, this tool is a must to know in order for you to create great-looking websites no matter how small or complex.

3. JavaScript / JQuery

Your customers at some point are going to require something a little more dynamic from their website such as drop-down menus, pop-up contact forms, and images that can be moved, this is where JavaScript comes into play.

JavaScript is a great tool for providing these dynamic effects and one of the most popular JavaScript libraries at the moment is JQuery. JQuery is a lightweight, fast and concise development tool that allows fast event handling.

This scripting code takes a bit of getting used too but again there are many great online resources available with code generators.

3. PHP or Hypertext Preprocessor

The popularity of PHP has grown dramatically in the past few years and is becoming very much a part of not just a web developer’s workload but a web designer’s too. PHP is a server-side language allowing many very dynamic and complex processes to happen. Modern applications such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal run using this processing language, websites such as Facebook also run PHP on their user interfaces.

PHP is completely free to use and has similarities to HTML in terms of coding. PHP when used within WordPress and Joomla requires an MYSQL database and is best suited to Linux servers, although they can run on Windows.

The main tools for a web designer are a code editor and graphics program. The most popular ones are Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop, although expensive to purchase you will reap the benefits of these professional tools quickly through productivity and good project management.

Starting Your Career As A WordPress Developer

There are a lot of things that you are going to want to consider before going out there and becoming a pro WordPress developer. There are a lot of things WordPress developers can do to achieve growth as well as success. Those options and tips are as follows:

  1. Be ready to start small
  2. Keep yourself updated about new technologies
  3. Create and sell templates
  4. Follow major design blogs out there
  5. Become a hosting reseller

1. Start Small

Just because you are good at website design does not mean that you will start making money from your work right off the bat. Usually, it takes months to years to get a good portfolio of your work.

Sometimes you have to do work for free, like with nonprofit organizations, to get some content for your portfolio. Of course, doing free work is not why you got into the business so try not to make every new project with nonprofit organizations….but do try to help out when you can because they have more loyal followers than a lot of small businesses.

Overcharging is a common practice for newcomers that know they are worth the amount, but do not have a following that can support that claim. Just because you can do the work for a certain price, does not mean that you should. 

If you are just starting out you should find your local and national competitors to see how much they charge and try to match or beat them. When you figure out how much you should charge you need to find out if it is more feasible to charge hourly or with a flat rate.

2. Keep Up With New Technologies

Internet technology is ever-evolving and sometimes escapes designers who get stuck in their ways. This could be a downfall for any designer because you may fall behind on security techniques, new flare, and new social outlets that are becoming the new rage.

You can take online classes to refresh your knowledge, you can buy new books that give lessons on certain technologies that you should know. Always look at your competitor’s designs and see if they know something that you may not.

You should also try to gain knowledge in the field of technical SEO which will definitely help you in the future. Try to rank your portfolio website via SEO and get some awesome clients. Use tools like Semrush to grow your SEO knowledge. Here is how you can activate the Semrush free trial.

3. Create and Sell Templates

If you have a niche for creating templates for WordPress, Joomla, osCommerce, etc then you may be able to make a good income from designing and selling those templates.

You can earn a commission from every sale of a “well-known” template site like Theme Forest and Flash Den to name a few. Some designs go for over $30.00 and you get a large chunk of the revenue from the sale, a great way to get a steady income for one design.

4. Become A Fan of Major Design Blogs

When you are starting out you need to learn from the best in the business. Visit and follow the good blogs that you feel, enlighten you, and help you become a better designer. Soak up the knowledge they present you with and learn from them. They are where you want to be, they have become an independent designer that earns a living from their work.

The good blogs offer tutorials, top 10s, as well as informative posts regarding anything technology. I still read blogs every day to keep up with new technologies that I may be missing, learn CSS and HTML techniques, and so on. See, when you follow good blogs you can eliminate at least two things on this list.

5. Become A Hosting Reseller

Most hosting companies offer a reseller program that would allow you to earn revenue for selling their hosting plans. This is a good thing to do even if you do not want to deal with hosting a website for your clients, you can point them the right way and earn a commission from the deal. This could prove to be a steady income for you after the design is finished.

How To Increase Chances Of Success As A WordPress Developer?

1. Extend Your Portfolio: 

Your portfolio is one the most important tools in your arsenal, pick out a selection of your best work; QUALITY OVER QUANTITY, that’s right, don’t put everything you’ve ever done in there, it won’t do you any favors. 

Offering live links to web pages you’ve built is a great way of showing off your work, so try to have a few decent links in there. 

There are lots of ongoing arguments about paid web design contests and spec work, personally, when you’re first starting out I think they can offer a very positive experience for the inexperienced.

2. Have Patience

That’s the truth. Patience. For a new web designer or developer, it is a must to have a high patience ability. You won’t be finding much work or maybe won’t find any work at all at that start. But you have to keep yourself patient. 

The best thing, besides trying harder to find jobs, in these starting days is to build things that you are master of. If you are a web designer, spend time building an attractive portfolio of sample work. 

If you are a developer try developing some plugins, widgets, or other code snippets and share them in the community. Most probably your first job will be only a few bucks, accept it and work hard for client positive feedback.

How Can You Make Money As A WordPress Web Developer?

  • Once you buy software, you need to learn how to use it. You will become a better designer and improve your skills as you familiarize yourself with more sites. There are many sites that will pay you for creating custom logos, banners, headers, and themes.
  • Developing website themes can be a very effective way of getting your name out there and finding potential clients. When you create a website, your work is seen by millions of people. It will allow you to reach a very vast audience.
  • One of the most convenient ways to find work is using job bidding sites. Before you start advertising your skills, set up a portfolio website and show off your work. Some of the best sites to advertise your services are Craiglist, oDesk, and Elance. 
  • If you have your own website, include a questionnaire to find out what your customers want. You need to get an idea of their style, theme, and color preferences before you start working on their projects.
  • Another way to earn money online as a web designer is to develop desktop software applications. You can also create iPhone/Android/Windows Mobile apps. People are heavily interested in these products these days, so any shot you make in this area will bring you a steady income.
  • Web designers can also make money selling stocks, including icons, Vector images, WordPress themes, and Photoshop Brushes. 
  • You may also create unique designs that are less expensive but ready to sell to multiple clients after minor changes. Theme design gives you a lot of autonomy and a real feeling of mastery. Make sure you ask your customers to leave feedback and recommend your services to their colleagues and friends.

In Conclusion

You should keep in mind that starting a web designing business will take time, money, and effort. In order to achieve this at the right time, you must be consistent with your work and build rapport with your clients. You can always ask for a good reference from your satisfied and happy customers.

Becoming a web designer is a great thing to do but my one top tip is to keep learning, don’t just stop as the web is a forever changing place with new development tools coming along all the time. 

Design is also a big factor, keep looking at what other designers are up to and new ways to create graphics and you should be able to keep paying the bills.

Guest Post by Shubham Chopra: founder of Marketing Savior and an exuberant content creator with a great zest for providing insightful reviews about digital products that will help startups & SMEs penetrate into the online world easily.

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