WordPress Developers – How Do You Make A Living [Poll + Discussion]?

Posted by Artem Russakovskii on January 18th, 2010 in Wordpress

Updated: May 3rd, 2010

The Question

I'd like to pose this question to all WordPress developers – plugin, theme, as well as core ones:

How do you make your living?

And, for clarification, by this I mean: "what are your primary sources of income?"

Open Source

Open source is a beautiful concept but it often comes with a price tag or, rather, the inverse price tag: most of the time you are not being paid for your time (of course, there are exceptions, such as companies hiring dedicated open source developers and keeping them on their direct payroll).

Everyone has to make a living, however, and everyone has their ways.

Developers can benefit from such income sources as:

  • advertising on their sites, fueled by boosted Alexa and Google PR ratings
  • freelancing and consulting work directly related to their open source project
  • presenting at developer conferences
  • creating products based on the open source projects they're involved with, as the technologies should be very familiar to them


Since I've always been interested in WordPress development, I feel connected to the WordPress community and would like to get some insight into the lives of WordPress developers.

Therefore, in addition to the main question, I have some follow-up questions:

  • does Automattic pay WordPress core developers salary?
  • are there many WordPress core developers working for Automattic full time, besides Matt?
  • how about you, plugin and theme developers – are any of you successful enough that you can make a living off your plugins or themes?
  • what are your secrets?

So in your responses, please state whether you're a core or plugin/theme developer, and answer the questions above that you can.

Of course, it goes without saying that any extra bits of advice would be welcomed as well.

What is your primary source of income?

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Artem Russakovskii is a San Francisco programmer and blogger. Follow Artem on Twitter (@ArtemR) or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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