**This is part of a Facebook post that a lot of people, (12 or so), thought would be worth posting.**
I want to tell a story:
About 2 years ago I started diving into WordPress in earnest. I saw it as a vehicle that could make me some money while I finished learning all there is to know about mobile development so I could ultimately start a mobile development company. WordPress was a springboard in my eyes, because I WANTED to be a mobile, (specifically iOS developer). About a year ago I got totally turned off by the WordPress community. This is not a debate about “who is a developer and who isn’t”, but I AM a C#.NET developer, (which means I like to do things the hard way). But I saw it as, “I AM A DEVELOPER”, and “These guys are just button clickers”.
I was getting fed up with post, after post, after post about topics like:
“Is there a plugin that counts the number of plugins I have installed”
“Is there a plugin to tell me how long I’ve been on a site”
“Is there a plugin that recommends other plugins”
It seemed to me that the WordPress workflow was,
1) Get req from client.
2) Google plugins to achieve 100% of what the client wants.
3) If there doesn’t exist a plugin for a req then tell the client that that particular feature isn’t possible in WordPress.
I was angry because here I was doing cleanup work for clients who sometimes had 50+ plugins on their site. I was upset at the fact that I was spending 99% of my time doing small client cleanup jobs instead of creating new and wonderful things. I know that I am no one to nobody and I don’t expect anyone to remember but over the last 3-4 months I would get in this group for the specific purpose of trolling people. I had given up on WordPress and I didn’t care if I got kicked out of the group. SO, I figured, let me just troll people.
A couple of months ago I was approached by a company that wanted some work done on their website. I took a look at it and I was shocked. It was slow and it was messy. I thought for sure I was going to find 50+ plugins, but I didn’t. There were 8 and every single one of them was 100% necessary. I was also shocked when the client told me that they had originally paid 6 figures for the website.
I was floored to be exact. I had aspirations to make six figures PER YEAR as a WordPress/Web developer. I had no idea it was even possible to make 6 figures from 1 website. This project was a complete custom job, barely even WordPress at this point. The reason there were not many plugins is because the developer had written most of his own functionality right in the code.
Through the process of working with this 1 client I got a taste of what WordPress development could be. I learned that you don’t have to be an, “Install WP and add a bunch of plugins”, type of person. You could write code, it can be clean and it can be manageable. This code base was not either of those things but the point is that it COULD be. The problem with this particular project is that the developer went about it the wrong way. No separation of concerns. There were php files with thousands of lines of repetitive code. But it was a pretty neat implementation.
You will eventually make the move from dabbler to professional. When you reach that level, just for fun, go to a meeting with your next client and instead of the $500 you normally charge, throw out an outrageous number like $10,000. If they balk, tell them how you will help them get and retain clients. Tell them that Facebook and Youtube are cool mediums but they can’t always control what happens there like they can on their own website. If they still have objections then give them a card and tell them to feel free to do some research and they will find that $10,000 is a totally reasonable sum for a website. Tell them that if they want to pay $500, they had better put aside some money for updates and fixes and enhancements.
“There are people out there who will throw your site up and slap a few plugins in and call it a day. I know, I used to do that. You will end up with a decent website…that looks like every other website on the internet. Things will go out of date…quickly. If you have 10+ plugins chances are there will be at least 1 update per week. Your site will get hacked. You will be embarrassed in front of all of your clients when your front page says ‘pwned by Skeletor!’ all over it. Over the next year your $500 website will end up costing you thousands anyway. I am not out to engage in fear tactics, but please do your research and if you end up not selecting my company, please select a reputable one. Have a nice day.”
Then walk the fuck out. At worst you just lost out on $500; at best you just made $10,000 that day. And after you get your first large contract like that then more will come, its like a snowball effect.
And now for the rallying cry:
No longer shall you call yourself, “JUST a WordPress developer”. You are a Developer. You write code. You make websites for a living, (at least partially), and you are damn good at it. It doesn’t matter if you install WordPress core and then hand it over to the client so they can add their content and take your check and walk out. If that is what the client wanted then you have provided a service.
Stop lowering your prices when the client balks. Have you ever procured the services of a lawyer? You ask them how much and they say, $650/hr, and no one goes, ‘WHAT!?!? That is preposterous, you sir, (or madam), are a mad man, (or woman). No, you know that they have a TON of skill and a TON of experience if they are charging that much money. You don’t try and haggle them down and if you did they would probably just press a button on the intercom and shout, “SECURITY!” Shouldn’t we want the same for ourselves?
This is a great community. I am or was one of the more outspoken people tearing down others for “basic” questions. Yes I understand that this is advanced WordPress, but people sometimes ask questions just to strike up conversation. My mother calls me all the time and asks me simple computer questions that I am pretty sure she knows the answers too, just because we don’t talk as much anymore. If someone asks a basic question I think it is appropriate to say, “That question doesn’t really belong in this group so you might be better off asking in one of the other WP groups. But there is no need to bash them or put them down, (I am one of the worst at this and I have stopped).
If you feel like it and have the time why not just say, “Hey, this question doesn’t really belong in this group but I have some free time and I will help you in a PM. Is that OK?”
So yeah, we need to work together to bring WordPress development into the 21st century and make it better for all of us. So when you aren’t “working” on WordPress you should be helping others, writing about WordPress, reading about WordPress, etc.
I used to think that, “Man, all of the good developers get to go to conferences and make presentations and such”. I think I have had it wrong all this time. I think I had it backwards. Those developers are good developers because they took the time to go to conferences, give talks, read books, WRITE books.
I’m not sure how to close this off and I’m sure I have lost most of the audience and I’m probably rambling on like an idiot at this point, I may have even contradicted myself several times. So I’ll just end by saying this:
What have you done for WordPress lately?