From Post Status: “The Future of the WordPress Economy, and Why I’m Not Worried”

We recently linked to an article by Chris Lema on the evolution of the WordPress economy that I still think about pretty often. Here’s another quick piece on the topic, this time at the always essential Post Status.

It’s by Joshua Strebel, CEO of Pagely. Chipper headline aside, very little of it felt like a comforting analysis—at least, not to a developer, although perhaps to the CEO of Pagely. A few quotes that felt, uh, darkly memorable:

  • “The near constant flow of new entries into an already saturated market is outstripping demand. The WordPress pie overall is still growing but not quick enough to absorb the new sellers entering into the lower third of the market.”
  • “In the agency space, the buyers willing to spend capital (enough to sustain a high-end WordPress agency) on WordPress solutions are not buying $500 websites, or $5,000 websites as they once were. They are buying $50K-$1M custom-built WordPress backed applications. The resources and talent required to serve these clients is concentrated at a handful of established and well known shops.”
  • “In all channels, new market entrants or existing small shops are being out-gunned by the established players, or the buyers needs are being met upon install.”

So being not worried definitely seems to be in the eye of the beholder.

My own personal takeaway from this is, again, to raise your game up. For developers specifically:

  • Hone your skills: It seems pretty clear that the hardest-hit people will be implementers—people who set up websites who don’t touch code. If that describes you, either honing your technical skills, making a partnership with a full-on developer, or moving into an adjacent field makes sense.
  • Diversify in solutions: As new and easier-to-use technologies come in at the low end, diversifying into those technologies and getting comfortable with their closest analogues within WordPress seems prudent.
  • Diversify in value: Both Chris and Josh make the point that it’s very good to be someone who can make websites happen (a developer, implementer, or whatnot) and something else: digital marketer, SEO, PPC expert, graphic designer, copywriter, or another skill that very commonly goes hand-in-hand with making websites really succeed.

Anyway, food for thought!

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