What does WordPress developer get paid?

Understanding WordPress Developer Salaries

When it comes to hiring a WordPress developer or evaluating your own worth as one, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. A WordPress developer’s salary can vary greatly based on several key factors. Let’s explore these variables in depth.

Experience Matters

A junior WordPress developer is just starting their journey, with room to grow their skills within an organization. Naturally, they will fall on the lower end of the salary spectrum as they gain experience. Expect to pay $40,000 – $60,000 per year for an entry-level hire. In contrast, senior WordPress developers with 5+ years of proven expertise command much higher salaries, often ranging from $80,000 to over $120,000 annually. Their extensive knowledge justifies the premium compensation.

Types of WordPress Talent

Not all WordPress roles are created equal. There are developers focused on custom coding for plugins, themes, and integrations. These technical programmers can demand the highest rates. Designers and “themers” specialize in front-end implementation and styling, falling somewhere in the middle of the salary range. Those skilled primarily at using existing plugins and themes to build basic websites represent the lower end of the pay scale. The more specialized and technical the role, the higher the expected salary range.

Employment Arrangement

Full-time and part-time employees tend to command higher salaries than freelance developers, who can often charge lower rates due to inconsistent workload. Other factors like internships, remote work, temp positions, and freelance vs. full-time status can impact compensation. Companies hiring full-time developers also need to factor in costs like benefits, equipment, training and more.

Geographic Considerations

Cost of living varies drastically across regions, so salary expectations should be adjusted accordingly. For example, an experienced WordPress developer salary that might be $90,000 in a smaller city could be $120,000+ in an expensive area like San Francisco or New York City. Companies need to research appropriate pay ranges for their local market.

The WordPress Salary

Gap Interestingly, data shows that WordPress developers tend to earn 20-40% less on average compared to their Joomla and Drupal counterparts. This disparity may stem from several factors, including the perception that WordPress is easier to use (thus undervaluing advanced WordPress skills), the abundance of non-technical “implementers” in the WordPress pool, and the notion that Joomla and Drupal require more specialized, custom development work.

To bridge this gap, companies need to better understand the advanced programming skills required for complex WordPress projects, especially around custom plugin/theme development and enterprise-grade implementations. Compensating developers accordingly based on their technical abilities is crucial.

Freelance Rates

For small, one-off projects, freelance WordPress developers can be a cost-effective option – but you often get what you pay for in terms of quality and reliability. Freelancer rates can range anywhere from $5 per hour for basic tasks up to over $100 per hour for elite, vetted talent. Most fall between $25 and $75 per hour on general job boards like Upwork. More specialized freelancer platforms like Codeable that vet candidates tend to list higher rates, usually between $60 and $150+ per hour for experts. When hiring freelancers, be sure to factor in their overhead costs like taxes, benefits, equipment and other business expenses.

Full-Time Salaries

For in-house, full-time WordPress developers, various reputable job boards report average salaries in the United States ranging from around $50,000 for entry-level roles up to over $100,000 for senior positions. However, these numbers only provide a general benchmark. A developer’s precise salary should be determined by their skill level, role responsibilities, years of experience, tech stack expertise, and the company’s geographic location. Employers need to carefully assess their specific needs to determine an appropriate compensation range and package.

The Cost of Mis-Hires

Hiring the wrong developer can prove to be an extremely expensive mistake in the long run. Between job postings, interviews, onboarding costs, salary, benefits, and potential project delays, a poor technical hire can easily cost over $30,000 – or far more at large enterprises – before you realize they’re not a good fit. At that point, you have to restart the process, compounding losses.

To avoid this costly pitfall, employers should rigorously vet candidates upfront.

In summary, there is no singular answer for “what should I pay a WordPress developer?” Salaries hinge on multiple complex variables like experience, specialization, role, employment type, location, and project requirements. By carefully evaluating their needs against these factors, companies can determine competitive compensation ranges to attract top WordPress talent. Developers can likewise negotiate fair pay by quantifying their skills and expertise against current market rates.