15 Side Hustles to Start on WordPress (Skills needed + Difficulty)

start wordpress side hustle
Last Updated on: Posted inBlog

Are you looking for ways to make some extra money on the side and maybe grow a side hustle into your main business? You’re not alone.

Escaping the 9 to 5 rat race and managing your own time should be your number one priority.

For Stiofan and me, that’s exactly what GeoDirectory was meant to be. A side hustle to earn some extra cash.

I wanted to build an Italian version of “Yelp” on the side while still working with my SEO customers.

This was over a decade ago when Yelp was starting to launch in major European cities like Paris and London.

I knew they would eventually come to Milan and Rome, and they would probably acquire anything that could give them a head start. That was my plan. Build a database of businesses and reviews to sell to Yelp.

Stiofan wanted to rebuild his Hotels and B&Bs’ directory of the Scottish Island where he comes from.

Coincidentally, we found ourselves working on the same thing at the same time – a functioning Listing Theme for WordPress.

When we met on a forum and realized we could complete the task faster as a team, we started working together.

Once we finished the theme, we realized that many people would want to use what we created, so we started selling it publicly.

Business picked up quickly. I never even started building my Yelp clone, and Stiofan only puts in a few hours of work each year on his Barra Island Directory.

GeoDirectory has become a solid business that has not only sustained both our families since then but also grown into a team of twelve which is still expanding.

In summary, GeoDirectory started as a side hustle but has grown into a solid business, proving that making a little extra money on the side can lead to big things.

Opportunities like this are still out there, for those willing to take a shot.

WordPress now is a behemoth and with some very basic skills and some hard work, you could start making money working with it today.

Whether you want to supplement your income, make it a full-time thing, or just have a little fun, here are 15 great side hustles you can start today!

We’ll also discuss what skills are needed for each one, how difficult it is to get started, and recommend tools that make getting paid easy. So let’s dive in!

1. Blog Marketing

  • Skills needed: Writing proficiency + Basic SEO
  • Difficulty: Low/Medium
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting + domain, AdSense account (or any other ads network)

If you’ve got a knack for writing, blogging is one of the best side hustles to get started on WordPress.

You can start your own blog by picking a niche that interests you, writing high-quality content regularly, and using search engine optimization (SEO) practices to get more people to visit your website.

Some great free resources on picking up the basics of SEO include: Search Engine Journal, Matt Diggity’s videos, and the SEMrush blog.

Once you start generating solid monthly traffic, you can monetize this organic audience with ads, affiliate links, and sponsored posts, which is how most bloggers make the vast majority of their income.

With a plugin like GetPaid, you can sell text and image ads on your WordPress site based on the number of impressions, clicks, or by time on your website.

You can pick zones on your site to display these ads:

Alternatively, you can leverage your writing talents to help other people market their blogs.

45% of marketers say blogging is the #1 most important piece of their content strategy.

So if you have a good handle on what works in terms of writing and SEO, you can start doing freelance blog marketing for small businesses.

2. Affiliate Marketing

  • Skills needed: Writing proficiency, basic SEO, sales and marketing knowledge
  • Difficulty: Low/Medium
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting + domain, online merchant accounts.

From 2015 to 2023, google searches for “Affiliate Marketing” more than doubled. Why? Because it’s an effective way to make money.

All you have to do is create content about products and services that you already love and promote them through your blog.

Every time someone clicks on one of your links and makes a purchase, you will earn a commission from the sale.

  1. Find a niche that you are passionate about and that has a large audience.
  2. Research and partner with reputable affiliate programs that align with your niche.
  3. Create valuable content that promotes the products or services you are affiliated with.
  4. Utilize multiple marketing channels such as social media, email marketing, and influencer partnerships.
  5. Track your performance and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  6. Be transparent and disclose your affiliate relationships to your audience.
  7. Continuously educate yourself on industry developments and new marketing techniques.

3. Web Directories

  • Skill needed: Writing proficiency + Basic SEO
  • Difficulty: Low/Medium
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting, GeoDirectory, GetPaid

Sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Angie’s List are great for finding reputable services or businesses.

But did you know you can start your own directory on WordPress?

With a plugin like our GeoDirectory, you can easily create an online directory with custom categories, ratings, and reviews.

Once your directory is set up, the next step is to start getting paid.

Here’s how you can make money with a directory:

  1. Charge a fee for businesses to claim their listing in your directory.
  2. Offer memberships that include premium features like featured listings, priority support, and discounts on products or services.
  3. You can also sell text and image ads in different zones of your directory site.

With the GetPaid plugin, you can easily add payment gateways for listings and other premium features.

What would my online directory be about?

Your online directory could be about anything that you are passionate about and knowledgeable about. Here are a few ideas:

  • Restaurants, bars, and cafes in your local area
  • Local attractions or activities
  • Shopping services or stores
  • Home service providers like plumbers and electricians
  • Real Estate
  • Software
  • Medical services

For example, Coast Radar is a directory website that acts as a guide to the best beaches and coastlines in the UK.

Of course, you’ll also need to market your directory. Here are some of the best ways to do that:

  1. Optimize your website for search engines by incorporating relevant keywords and meta tags.
  2. Build backlinks to your website from other reputable websites.
  3. Utilize social media platforms to promote your directory and engage with your audience.
  4. Create valuable content, such as blog posts or videos, that highlights the businesses listed in your directory.
  5. Email marketing to reach out to potential customers and businesses and a newsletter to keep your audience engaged and informed about new businesses and updates to the directory– you can use automation tools like Mailchimp to make this easier.
  6. Use paid advertising on social media or google ads.
  7. Create a referral program to encourage satisfied customers to spread the word about your directory.

Click here for a full Directory SEO Guide.

4. eCommerce: Physical goods

  • Skills needed: Writing proficiency, basic SEO, sales
  • Difficulty: Medium/High
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting, GetPaid, Products to sell

Want to start selling physical goods online? With WordPress, you can easily set up an eCommerce store in minutes.

First, you’ll need to decide what type of products you want to sell.

Then, you can use the GetPaid plugin to add payment gateways for customers and manage orders.

For example, you can sell individual items or bundles with the “BUY NOW” button, which brings out an overlaying payment form.

You can also set up a blog on your site promoting your products. This is a great way to boost organic search traffic and generate more sales for your store.

Once your store is set up, it’s time to start marketing.

You can use SEO, paid ads, and social media to get the word out about your products.

Additionally, you should make sure that you’re offering quality customer service in order to keep customers coming back.

5. eCommerce: Digital goods

  • Skill needed: Writing proficiency, basic SEO
  • Difficulty: Medium/High
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting, GetPaid, one or more digital products to sell

Like physical goods, you can also create an eCommerce store for digital products.

Whether you’re selling digital downloads or subscription-based services, GetPaid makes it easy to set up a digital store and start selling.

Start by adding your digital products to the store, then use SEO and paid advertising to drive traffic.

You can also create promotional campaigns for specific products or bundles.

Additionally, you might want to consider setting up an email list so that you can engage with your customers on a regular basis.

6. Copywriting

  • Skill needed: Native-level writing proficiency, sales and marketing knowledge, basic SEO, and a good understanding of different social platforms
  • Difficulty: High
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting, GetPaid, and copywriting frameworks

Copywriting is a great way to make money online, and for many, it can be a lucrative side hustle.

Copywriters write the marketing material for advertising campaigns, websites, emails, landing pages, and other marketing materials.

It’s important to have native-level language proficiency and a solid grasp of search engine optimization (SEO) to create compelling copy that resonates with the target audience online.

To get started, you can learn with resources like the Kopywriting Kourse, Udemy’s Complete Copywriting Course, or The Copywriter’s Handbook.

Once you’ve become comfortable with the basics, you should set up a portfolio website on WordPress with samples of your work to showcase your skills, along with packages to sell your services using GetPaid’s service retainer feature:

7. Server Management Service

  • Skill needed: IT
  • Difficulty: High
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting, GetPaid

Companies need server management services for maintenance and upgrades, monitoring and troubleshooting, backup and recovery, compliance, cost-effectiveness, and security.

If you have IT experience, you can start a server management service – which requires advanced knowledge of networking, server hardware, and system administration.

This can be a lucrative side hustle for those with the technical know-how to manage servers.

You can use WordPress hosting to create your website and GetPaid to set up packages for your services.

Make sure that you include a portfolio on your website showcasing previous projects or clients that you’ve worked with.

Additionally, it’s important to have a good understanding of different social platforms so that you can promote your services and interact with potential clients.

Pro tip (applies to the service-based businesses in this article): When you’re selling a service based on specific business needs (as opposed to a standardized plan), you can send clients a custom quote through GetPaid to accept, from where it will automatically turn into an invoice. 

8. Security Researcher

  • Skill needed: Writing proficiency + IT security
  • Difficulty: Very High
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting, GetPaid, vulnerability scanners, malware analysis tools, debugging tools, network analyzers

If you’re passionate about computer science, and networks with a background in IT security, then security research could be a great side hustle.

As a security researcher, you’d be responsible for testing the security of applications and systems, identifying vulnerabilities, and recommending solutions to fix them.

You’ll need an understanding of the different types of attack vectors, how to detect and respond to malicious threats, and how to develop secure applications.

9. SEO/SEM Services

  • Skills needed: Writing proficiency + SEO/Marketing
  • Difficulty: High
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting, GetPaid, Ahrefs, Surfer SEO

If you have a solid understanding of search engines and digital marketing, offering SEO and SEM services can be a profitable side hustle on WordPress.

You can help businesses improve their search engine rankings, drive more traffic to their website, and increase conversions.

One of the best tools for SEO and SEM services is Ahrefs, which allows you to research keywords and backlinks, track organic traffic and competitors and monitor your own website’s performance.

Surfer SEO will help you optimize your content based on the keyword and competitor data.

The SEO industry is constantly changing, so it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends.

You also want a portfolio with a proven track record, since the space is known for many self-proclaimed professionals selling empty promises.

10. Web Design

  • Skills needed: UI/UX Design
  • Difficulty: Medium/High
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting, BLockstrap, Divi or Elementor

Web design is another in-demand side hustle on WordPress.

With a good eye for design and a solid understanding of UI/UX, you can create beautiful and functional websites for businesses, nonprofits, and individuals.

Our newest Blockstrap theme (+ plugin) is free and you can build any kind of website with them using the Bootstrap framework, without writing one line of code.

Alternatively, two popular WordPress page builders are Divi and Elementor, which allow you to create custom designs without writing any code as well.

They also have a library of pre-designed templates that you can customize to fit your client’s needs.

11. Custom Back end Development

  • Skills needed: Programming
  • Difficulty: High
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting, PHP, MySQL

Got strong programming skills? You can offer custom back-end development services on WordPress.

This includes creating custom plugins, integrating with third-party APIs, and optimizing database performance.

You’ll need to have a solid understanding of PHP and MySQL to be able to offer this service.

Additionally, you can use tools like the Query Monitor plugin to debug and optimize your custom plugins and functions.

12. Hosting Provider

  • Skills needed: IT + Large Capital
  • Difficulty: Very High
  • Tools needed: Data center infrastructure, cPanel, WHM

If you have a strong background in IT and a significant amount of capital to invest, you can start your own hosting provider business for WordPress.

Being a hosting provider requires a significant investment in data center infrastructure, servers, and networking equipment.

You can offer a variety of hosting services, such as shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting.

You will also need to have a good understanding of cPanel and WHM, which are popular control panel software for managing web hosting accounts.

It’s a difficult business, as it requires a significant investment in time and resources, but it can also be a highly profitable business as the demand for web hosting services continues to grow.

As a hosting provider, you will also have to demonstrate great customer service and technical support, as well as a good understanding of security, in order to keep your customers’ websites safe and secure.

Additionally, you will have to continuously monitor and upgrade your infrastructure to ensure that your hosting services are always running at optimal performance.

13. Plugins Development and Distribution

  • Skills needed: Programming + Basic SEO
  • Difficulty: High
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting, GitHub, CodeCanyon

Developing and distributing your own plugins for the biggest open-source content management system in the free world can be pretty lucrative. 

Creating a WordPress plugin requires mastering the art of PHP, JS and MySQL programming.

PHP is the backbone of WordPress plugin development as it allows interaction with WordPress functions and APIs.

Javascript and ReactJS in particular as becoming more and more prominent as the new editor is built with it.

MySQL, on the other hand, is used to store and retrieve data for the plugin, such as user information and settings.

You’ll also need a deep understanding of WordPress plugin development guidelines, actions and filters, and best practices are crucial to create a plugin that seamlessly integrates with the platform and provides an excellent user experience.

And if you’re looking to add more advanced features to your plugin, knowing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript will definitely come in handy.

You can distribute your plugins using the Freemium business model using the WordPress.org plugins repository and selling premium addons (like we do) using a plugin like GetPaid and its license manager plugin.

Or you could use a platform like CodeCanyon, which is a marketplace for commercial WordPress plugins, and allows you to focus on developing and providing support, while they take care of every other aspect of the business for you.

14. Themes Development and Distribution

  • Skills needed: Programming + UI/UX Design + Basic SEO
  • Difficulty: High
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting, GitHub, ThemeForest

Just like developing and distributing your own WordPress plugins, more design-focused and artistic individuals can do the same for WordPress themes to make good money. 

To design and develop WordPress themes, you will need to have a good understanding of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and MySQL, as well as knowledge of WordPress template hierarchy, template tags, and action/filter hooks.

With a good eye for design and strong knowledge of web design frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation, you can create beautiful and functional themes that help businesses and individuals improve their website’s performance and functionality.

You can distribute your themes on WordPress.org or on ThemeForest, which is a marketplace for commercial WordPress themes.

15. Website Maintenance Service

  • Skills needed: Basic IT, Programming, and UI/UX Design
  • Difficulty: Medium/High
  • Tools needed: WordPress hosting, UpdraftPlus, WP-Optimize

Website maintenance is an ongoing task that needs to be done in order to keep a website running smoothly and to ensure that it is always up-to-date.

If you have skills in IT, programming, and UI/UX design, you can offer website maintenance services on WordPress.

You can use tools like UpdraftPlus to make sure that your client’s website is backed up regularly, Wordfence to keep it secure and WP-Rocket to keep it fast and efficient.

You can also offer services such as plugin and theme updates, security scans and monitoring, and other performance optimization.

Parting words

Starting a side hustle on WordPress can be a great way to make money while also honing your skills and gaining experience with the platform.

Whether you choose to develop plugins, and themes, or offer website maintenance services, there is a range of businesses that you can pursue on WordPress.

What are you waiting for? Get started on your WordPress side hustle today!

Good luck, and enjoy the ride!

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Published by Paolo

Paolo Tajani, co-founder and marketing lead at AyeCode LTD, works alongside his business partner Stiofan to develop key WordPress plugins such as GeoDirectory, UsersWP, and GetPaid. Starting his journey with WordPress in 2008, Paolo joined forces with Stiofan O'Connor in 2011. Together, they have been instrumental in creating and marketing a range of successful themes and plugins, now actively used by over 100,000 websites.

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