How Much Money Can You Make As A WordPress Web Developer (US)

How much money can you make as a freelance WordPress developer? If you're asking, many freelance web developers have been wondering the same thing. In this article, we'll look at how much freelance wordpress developers actually earn in the United States and what is typical salary for someone with different years of experience. We'll also take a look at which programming languages are typically most lucrative so that freelance web developers can start making more informed decisions about which languages to learn next.

What Was The Average Salary For A WordPress Developer In The United States In 2019?

Let's set aside the question of whether or not it's bad for you to get a raise. Let's look at salaried employees based on the statistics from the most popular job boards and directories.


Let's start with Indeed, which is the world's most popular job site, with over 250 million monthly unique visitors.

The average WordPress developer salary in the United States, as estimated from 310 workers, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed over the previous 36 months, is $58,254 per year. This ranges from about $14,000 to $137,000 each year.


According to ZipRecruiter, as of December 2, 2019, the average yearly wage for a WordPress Developer in the United States is greater than reported on Indeed and comes in at $63,478 per year. According to ZipRecruiter, the typical hourly rate for WordPress work in 2019 was about $31.


PayScale is a website that aims to help businesses and their employees discover the appropriate wage for each job. According to PayScale, the typical WordPress remuneration in the United States is $52,324 per year, with a range between $34,000 and $74,000 per year.

Of course, this number will vary by state. Salaries in New York are, for example, greater than those in Wisconsin. However, based on the data presented above, the average yearly wage of a WordPress developer in the United States in 2019 is approximately $58,000.

Just in case you were wondering, the hourly rate for freelance WordPress development is not that much different than it was when we ran this report back in 2016.

Back then, freelance developers reported an average hourly rate of $34 per hour according to our data. So there has been a slight increase over time but nothing drastic.

The good news here is that freelance rates are on par with what they should be and any web developer who takes their career seriously will avoid working for peanuts.

However, just because something seems too good to be true doesn't mean it isn't worth pursuing - even if your gut instinct tells you otherwise!

How Much Do Freelance WordPress Consultants Make Per Hour?

The average hourly rate for WordPress work on Upwork, Fiverr, and codeable is about $30 per hour as of December 2019; individual rates range from around $20 per hour up to $100 per hour.

Upwork provides some additional information about WordPress freelancer hourly rates. This data appears to be about two years old from 2017.

We frequently correspond with WordPress developers who are competing against everyone on the planet for jobs on Upwork. This is, in fact, a more interesting subject to explore, but it's also much more difficult to pin down.

So, there are a lot of WordPress consultants in the United States attempting to win projects on Upwork. Upwork is at the bottom of our list of suggestions for how to find web design clients. There are several reasons why it would be a bad idea to try and find work on Upwork. Nonetheless, we felt compelled to include some information regarding them due to their popularity.

A direct quote from Upwork's websites states:

Rates charged by WordPress developers on Upwork vary from $20 to $100 an hour, with an average project cost of around $194.


In 2021, how much will WordPress consultants charge in the United States?

Let's take a look at how much WordPress consultants should charge in the United States in 2021 to run a successful business, now that we've reviewed statistics on WordPress pay and hourly rates in the US in 2019 and 2020.

The Daily Workflow Of A WordPress Consultant

The most popular subject of discussion among self-employed WordPress experts is how to find website design clients. As a result, one of the most essential aspects to consider when trying to figure out how much you should charge as a self-employed person is that not all of your working hours are billable. In fact, I speak with people on a daily basis who will go for days, if not weeks, without producing any billable work.

The Wrong Way To Calculate What You Should Charge Per Hour

Assume you're aiming for $75,000 in yearly revenue. It's easy to compute your hourly rate assuming that you'd be working a 40-hour week just like if you were salaried. So, for example, you might want to add up these figures:

  • Work 8 hour days 5 days per week = 40 hours per week
  • There are 52 weeks in the year
  • 40 hours x 52 weeks = 2,080 hours in the year
  • Divide desired annual income ($75,000) by the number of work hours in the year (2080)
  • $75,000/2080 hour = $36/hour

With a few quick additions, it appears that the typical hourly rate for freelancers (as previously stated) is very close to where you need to be. This is far from the truth, however, because most self-employed web designers generally bill out less than 50% of their working hours on average. Other non-billable work like providing support and maintenance on client sites, as well as looking for new clients and opportunities, takes up the other half or more of their time.

How Much Money Do Self-Employed WordPress Developers In The United States Make?

Most self-employed WordPress developers I've spoken with charge around $35 per hour (on average). If they were completely billable, that would be excellent, since they'd be earning more than $72,000 every year! But the fact is that most self-employed WordPress consultants in the United States make little more than $30,000 to $35,000 each year. This is due to the fact that many of them work longer days.

What exacerbates matters even further is that many of these individuals I speak with also tend to work longer days on average. So, on average, most self-employed WordPress developers only charge for 35% to 50% of their time

Three Problems Limiting The Income Of Self-Employed WordPress Developers

The good news is that more than ever before, self-employed WordPress professionals have the ability to earn six figures running their own web design firm as a solopreneur.

The WordPress designers that make more than $100,000 each year have made three major changes in their firms when it comes to their thinking, company structure, and client outcomes.

Developing A High-Value Mindset

The first, and perhaps most essential, change to make is to develop a high-value attitude. If you're a WordPress consultant who works with a local company, you need to believe that there's no better use of your client's marketing budget than to spend it with you.

The reality is that if your customer wishes to establish and run a successful business, they will need to invest in some form of marketing. There's no better bang for the buck than for your client to pool their resources with you in developing an online marketing plan for their firm today, with all of the tools, plugins, and platforms available. Seriously, what else can they do that would be any more effective? Advertise on radio stations? Put something in the classified section?

When you fully comprehend and accept this reality, it becomes obvious that you have the greatest and most effective thing your clients require, even if they can only afford to pay you for a few hours each week. Because it provides the best results for the lowest initial investment, it's the greatest thing they could do for their business.

Developing a high-value mindset necessitates adopting two new self-concepts and business beliefs.

To begin, you must first comprehend and believe that there is no alternative than for your clients to hire you to assist them develop their business.

Second, you must comprehend that good design isn't only required for websites. You must start incorporating other online marketing strategies like creating landing pages, producing email marketing campaigns, branding social media platforms, and developing lead magnets in order to grow email lists.

To put it another way, today's web designers don't just create websites. They must also be capable of producing business-oriented outcomes for their customers.

Implementing a High-Value, Long-Term Business Structure

The second step is to get away from one-and-done projects. You'll never be able to grow your business to a six-figure level unless you build streams of recurring income by growing long-term partnerships with your customers.

The approach we take is to break a project down into two parts. The first phase is the initial online launch of the customer's business. This includes their website, text for their site, photographic and graphic acquisitions, branding, consistent social media channel creation, and so on.

It's a lot of effort. Expect to spend 4 to 6 weeks on this, and charge accordingly. This implies you'll be charging between $3,000 and $10,000 for the build-out phase.

Then you go into the second stage of the project, where you'll work with the client for between 10 and 40 hours each month.

The average cost per hour should be about $85. So, you'll have to budget for several monthly retainer packages that include everything from technical services such as hosting, plugin updates, backups, and general site upkeep to your clients' every month needs such as web design.

The retainer is based on the marketing and business development you'll conduct for your clients. Your monthly costs will range from $850 per month (for around 10 hours of work each month) to about $3500 per month (for approximately 40 hours of work each month).

Keep in mind that if you charge $850 for 10 hours' labor or less each month, you'll be making over $10,000 annually. This is just taking you 2.5 hours each week in terms of your overall workflow. Assume you have five clients on board and that they all pay like this. Now you're earning over $50,000 a year in recurring revenue and it takes only 2.5 hours per day 5 days a week to fulfill the contract.

Consider a situation where you have ten clients. You're now making more than $100,000 each year and it takes you only 5 hours per day to complete. This is also based on the premise that all 10 of your customers are on your smallest package. In the real world, you'll be walking your clients up the value ladder and delivering results for them. As a result of this, their revenue will rise, allowing them to hire you for additional services. So no matter how many clients you have, it's never too many! To make a six-figure income, generally speaking, you just need about 6 or 7 clients.

The end result of this is that you've eliminated the biggest expense and misery of your company, which is attracting new clients. You don't spend hours hunting down new clients when you could be working with the ones you already have instead. This is beneficial to you in a variety of ways. It's also better for your customers because they get more time on their billable hours. Everyone benefits from it.

Creating Outcome Oriented Marketing Materials

The third shift is moving the focus of your business. It's no longer a website, social media management, branding, or anything else. You still utilize those skills, but the emphasis now lies on the outcomes of doing them successfully. To put it another way, you're now handling two things at once. First and foremost, you're offering company consulting and leadership. Then you have technical know-how to execute what you recommend.

When you're marketing your company, you don't build a website that looks like an online resume that list all of your technological talents and services. Instead, you describe the OUTCOMES your clients are searching for. One of the key elements to expanding your marketing is to focus on this new outcome-oriented approach.

Take a look at who you want to work with and what you can offer them. Increase your skill set so that you feel at ease and confident working with a variety of internet marketing technologies and platforms. After that, develop your marketing plan around all of it so that the clients your new marketing message entices will be seeking for you to provide a multi-skillset answer on their behalf.

The bottom line is that if you change how you define yourself, you will attract people who are more aligned with your new identity.

Wrapping Up

There are several WordPress developers who are putting in excessive hours without achieving the levels of income they desire, which is both self-inflicting and self-sabotaging.

Consultants who understand and have adapted to the changes in today's new economy are creating lucrative six-figure enterprises.

Today, the online design market is saturated with low-cost developers and ever-improving do-it-yourself website builders like Wix and Squarespace. So if you're out there trying to sell websites like it was 2001, you'll have a hard time finding clients.

You just need 5 – 10 clients and a 6-figure yearly revenue as a WordPress consultant in the United States if you adapt and put long-term client relationships, a high-value attitude, and an outcome-oriented marketing plan into practice.

About the Author
David Attard
David has been working in or around the online and digital industry for the last 21 years. He has vast experience in the software and web design industries using WordPress, Joomla and niches surrounding them. He has worked with software development agencies, international software companies, local marketing agencies and now is Head of Marketing Operations at Aphex Media - an SEO agency. As a digital consultant, his focus is on helping businesses get a competitive advantage using a combination of their website and digital platforms available today. His blend of technology expertise combined with a strong business acumen brings a competitive edge to his writings.

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