WPCP 006: Monetizing WordPress…

When I first started working with WordPress 5 years ago the opportunities to monetize a business around WordPress seemed to be limited to a few areas. You could customize themes, create/code themes and create/code plugins. There were a few people out there teaching how to use WordPress, but many of those tutorials were limited to the installation process (the famous 1-Click install with Fantastico) and getting started. Anything beyond that was kind of up to you.

Monetizing WordPress

Fast forward 5 years and the possibilities for monetizing WordPress and creating a lasting sustainable business with WordPress have grown exponentially. In a way it feels like the possibilities are limitless (yea, yea, I know. I can be a bit of a Pollyanna..).
It really comes down to making a choice to step up your game, know what you’re good at and connecting with people who need what you have to offer.

I know this sounds super simple– and it is. But it’s not easy.

There is a HUGE difference between simple and easy. The crazy thing is that many things in life are simple, but we just don’t want to admit it. Example: If you want to lose weight you just need to eat right and exercise. Simple. Not easy. Or let’s take quitting smoking. To quit smoking all you have to do is stop smoking right? It takes more effort to keep smoking than not (you have to buy cigarettes, keep a lighter or matches on you, find somewhere to smoke since most places are smoke free now, deal with everything smelling like smoke, carry gum, etc.). One step to quit smoking, multiple steps to continue smoking. Quitting is simple. Not easy.

It took me a few years to figure out how I wanted to monetize my business and I can honestly say that going into year 5 I’m more clear than I have ever been. I chose to pay attention to what I enjoyed doing the most, where I got the best return (on both my time and investment) and where I felt most fulfilled.

For me, it’s the teaching and training.

I’ll get more into how I’m monetizing WordPress in a bit, but let’s jump into some of the opportunities that are out there for all you WordPress entrepreneurs (or soon to be).

7 Ways you Can Create a Business Around WordPress (that actually make money)

1. Themes
– Theme Development (premium themes, free themes)
– Theme shop
– Theme reviews

2. Plugins
– Plugin Development
– Plugin shop
– Plugin reviews

3. Website Design
– Customizing WordPress themes for Clients
– Creating custom themes for WordPress Clients
– Maintaining and supporting client sites

4. Writing
– Paid writing for tutorials /posts
– Kindle books

5. Teaching and Training (my favorite)
– Create courses
– Documentation
– FREE guides (yes, these can lead to paid work)
– Offline workshops and training
– Niche Training (topic)
– Audience specific training (ex: WordPress for VA’s)

6. SEO
– Optimizing Websites
– Teaching / training SEO
– Creating SEO Products
– Done for you SEO

7. Affiliate Marketing / Advertising
– Create a ‘news’ site that you use as an aggregate for WP News and monetize with Affiliate products
– Sell ad space on this site
– Do both of these on ANY WordPress site (not just a WP News site)

How I’m Monetizing WordPress

I wish I could say I did this sooner than I did, but it is what it is. Within the first 6 months of deciding to focus on WordPress I started taking client projects (new WordPress sites). It wasn’t too much later that I discovered StudioPress (pre-Genesis themes) and decided to only use those themes for client work. I’ve always taken client work (and will continue to), but it was when I taught my first Diving Into Genesis class that I knew I’d found my ‘sweet spot’. Not only did I enjoy the teaching (it really never feels like work), but I was able to connect with people on a different level.

I’m not teaching classes as often as I’d like to, but I’m working on that.  My goal is to teach one paid class a month and continue with free tutorials on the site. Because everything changes so fast online I’m not too worried about coming up with topics to teach. And the more content you create the easier it is to determine what your audience wants from you (and of course you can always ask them).

I’ve also partnered with my friend Steve O’Sullivan and we’re developing WordPress Plugins over at WP Plugin Lab! We have developers but we design the user interface, style, how we want them to work, etc. then they code them. We’ve spent way more time being test monkeys than I care to admit, but it’s all a learning process. We’ve got 3 premium plugins right now:

Webinar Engine

After Post Content

Icon Fontastic

I’ve got one Kindle book published, two more in the works and am also teaching a course on Kindle Publishing with Steve (we’re going into week 2 right now). You might be wondering how Kindle publishing ties into WordPress… well, my books are about WordPress! 😉 And regardless of the additional digital platforms and media that I use (like podcasting…) my priority will ALWAYS be my WordPress site!

Hopefully you’ve gotten some inspiration and ideas on how you can Monetize WordPress as a business or even add additional revenue streams to your current business where you’re using WordPress as your business site. Make sure to share what’s working for you below.

Links from this episode






WPMU- paid to write post


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  1. Awesome job Kim!
    Again this is one of those ironic Podcast for me because I have been thinking lately on ways to monetize and even though I am going to focus on WordPress at this time, the ideas on monetizing that you mentioned definitely cross over into where I want to focus. I also had a few question mark (hum?) moments when listening to the podcast. While doing a little research on how to accomplish a task, I ran across a video on Video Podcasting with iTunes. I know you mentioned Podcasting but I was thinking this could still be a part of training but using Video Podcasting to accomplish monetizing with Training (if you mentioned Video Podcasting-please forgive my oversight).

    You do a wonderful job of sparking ideas and in ways that are not complicated to figure out but no doubt will require putting in the time and work.

    By the way, if you ever decide to take on a Non-WordPress role, it should be a role in comedy because you are hilarious! That’s what makes your podcasts, blog, and overall Brand relatable and easy to listen to.

    On my end I will be using Training, Kindle Books, and Consulting in two niches that I have finally narrowed down to focus on and plan to add Podcasting to the mix hopefully sooner rather than later.

    Keep the great podcasts coming!

    1. Hi Regina,
      Thanks so much! Although I’m not sure about the role in comedy… unfortunately my humor tends to be the spur of the moment thought that pops into my head! 😉
      I’m glad you’re enjoying the podcast and are inspired to start your own. Just keep at the content creation one day at a time- and before you know we’ll get your podcast published. I’ve thought about video podcasting too (I didn’t mention it) but I’m having so much fun with podcasting and I do enough video on my site that I don’t see myself getting into that (at least not anytime in the near future).
      Can’t wait to see your finished Kindle book!

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