GoDaddy's partner business president on building a lucrative career designing and developing WordPress sites

As digital transformation becomes more mission critical in our new normal, the world's most popular content management system is seeing even more use.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

As I mentioned last month, GoDaddy has been making a series of strategic investments into properties that are quite useful to WordPress administrators and developers. Between hosting and these investments, GoDaddy has a unique insight into the always-evolving WordPress business.

Also: Best web hosting services


GoDaddy's Patrick Pulvermüller

I had the opportunity to (virtually) sit down with Patrick Pulvermüller, president of the Partners Business at GoDaddy, to explore GoDaddy, GoDaddy's involvement with WordPress, and how WordPress professionals can succeed in our changing world.

Full disclosure: I've been a GoDaddy customer for as long as I can remember. I've registered hundreds of domains through their registrar service, and I'm also a customer of the Sucuri WordPress security service and ManageWP site management service, both of which I paid for well before GoDaddy acquired them.

And with that, let's meet Patrick.

David: Please introduce yourself and give us a quick personal background? Beyond GoDaddy, what's your connection to WordPress?

Patrick: My name is Patrick Pulvermüller and I am the President of the Partners Business at GoDaddy. Generally, what that means is that I am responsible for everything that falls under the company's global hosting line of business, including productivity and security product offerings and Managed WordPress. 

GoDaddy serves over 20 million customers worldwide and I am passionate about empowering everyday entrepreneurs with the right tools and services to grow their business. Especially now, it is such a critical time to support small business owners as they continue to rely on digital to keep their businesses open and thriving.

David: GoDaddy has invested significantly in WordPress. What do you see as the potential of WordPress going forward that makes it worth that investment? And what does GoDaddy, uniquely, bring to the WordPress community?

Patrick: WordPress truly provides efficient, streamlined and elegant approaches to site design and management. At GoDaddy, we want to uplift and invest in technologies that we believe make life easier for small business owners who use digital products daily. 

GoDaddy is a key player in the WordPress ecosystem and a very popular choice for WordPress hosting amongst small business owners, designers and developers. We offer Managed WordPress for every type of user, including plans specific to professional WordPress designers and developers to easily coordinate across multiple projects and clients. 

Additionally, GoDaddy's WordPress team is constantly innovating and developing the fastest growing resources in the WordPress community, with over 3 million active plugin installs available.

David: We're talking about WordPress careers. This relates to the previous question, of course, but what makes you see WordPress as a career direction?

Patrick: Over the last several years, there has been an acceleration towards more businesses relying on digital, whether it be creating a unique website, eye-catching marketing on social or sending out newsletters to customers to keep them informed on the latest. 

COVID-19 has further proven the importance and necessity of understanding web development skills related to WordPress. This presents an incredible opportunity for those in the WordPress community and those who use Managed WordPress to take on even more projects and clients. 

For many, the biggest benefit to designing or developing WordPress sites is that you can apply a valuable skill and turn it into either a full time career or as a side hustle. Ultimately, I see WordPress as an exciting career path in which you can truly turn your vision (or a client's) into a reality online.

David: Not all WordPress professionals need to be programmers. Can you list out various WordPress careers and what skills they require?

Patrick: While you don't need to be a programmer to use WordPress, if you want to pursue WordPress as a profession, you will want to have foundational website development skills. With these skills as a base, there are a multitude of career opportunities, such as designing and developing websites or managing blogs.

David: Do you see the skill sets differing if you're a lone contractor compared to working for a large production agency?

Patrick: Being a lone contractor is very similar to running your own small business. You will need to know how to attract and maintain clients, manage all aspects of your own projects, and promote your services. At a larger production agency, you'll be given clients and will have a more structured experience.

David: Let's say someone comes to you having used WordPress as a writer or blogger and likes the platform. What path do you recommend that person take to be able to make a living from WordPress beyond writing?

Patrick: We always love to hear when someone enjoys the platform and wants to turn it into a career path. Knowing WordPress opens up many career possibilities, such as the ability to be your own boss and run a WordPress business.

Specifically, if you found success as a writer or blogger, those same creative writing skills can be applied to content marketing. Now more than ever, small businesses want to produce valuable and relevant content that will resonate with their customers. Using WordPress and writing skills, you can help a brand home in on effective content marketing, and as a result, increase conversions, improve brand awareness, boost revenue and establish the brand as an industry leader.

Another option would be to teach what you learned about WordPress to others. This could be in the form of a webinar series or a YouTube channel. As many professionals are seeking alternate revenue streams or a new career path altogether, advice and tips on how to use WordPress are extremely important.

David: There are theme developers, plugin developers, those who build whole sites, those who offer support services. Are any paths better than any other and how should folks choose?

Patrick: No path is better than another. Choosing what you want to do within WordPress completely depends on your interests. For example, for a more technical-savvy person you may prefer programming and developing plug-ins, or if you're more inclined to work on designs, you may opt for creating themes.

David: I got involved with WordPress to operate my own sites, and that involvement increased when I developed some popular plugins. But I'd been a product guy and a coder for years, so my skills transferred almost organically. Do you think there are opportunities for those breaking into these markets, rather than just using existing skills?

Patrick: It's never too late to learn a new skill. Starting from zero isn't as daunting as one might think. GoDaddy offers a variety of resources if you want to go into WordPress and you have very little experience. From articles on the GoDaddy blog to helpful videos on the company's YouTube site, we want you to feel extremely comfortable and confident if you want to make the jump to this career field.

David: What about attracting clients? Do you have any recommendations for getting those first reference accounts?

Patrick: Attracting new clients takes work, but once you build up a strong client base, we can help you turn your skills into a thriving business. To do so, take advantage of career sites such as LinkedIn or freelancer platforms to find a project that uniquely fits your expertise.

Another way to find clients is through virtual networking events and webinars. There are many small business owners who struggle with managing their WordPress websites and digital marketing in general - they're too busy running their businesses. Networking presents a great opportunity to show other business owners how they can utilize the power of WordPress to make running their businesses easier.

[And WordCamps are wonderful, although for now most have gone virtual --DG]

David: So, bottom line it for us: how do you build a lucrative career designing and developing WordPress sites?

Patrick: In order to build a lucrative career designing and developing WordPress sites, I recommend you do the following.

  • Continue to grow your client base: Cultivate healthy relationships with clients and as a result, see if they would be open to sharing their positive testimonial and recommendation. You can share these with potential new clients as well as post as a permanent fixture on your professional website. 
  • Tap into the right tools: For WordPress pros, I recommend using GoDaddy's Managed WordPress offering. The platform makes it so easy and straightforward to keep tabs on different clients and manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Continue to learn: In order to stay fresh on the latest WordPress offerings, keep an eye on latest announcements or attend WordPress community events so that you continue to sharpen your skill set. Your expertise and what you can bring to the table will be what clients look for and how you'll gain more customers. 
  • Be passionate: Being a WordPress developer or designer is all about taking a unique and creative idea and bringing that vision to life. You have to have a passion for working with others to strategically achieve goals and ultimately drive business results. 

So there you go. Big thanks to Patrick and GoDaddy for taking the time with us this week. And how about you? What's your involvement with WordPress? Are you considering a career move into more WordPress-centric activities? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

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