We humans are inherently flawed when it comes to money. If it’s a new iPhone or a pair of sunglasses, we’ll dish out $500 in a heartbeat. But if you ask $40 for a year of managed WordPress hosting, a lot of people will look at you like you’ve just insulted their grandma’s crochet skills.
WordPress is fantastic because you can find so much for free, but at the same time it spoiled us. We expect fully functional themes and plugins to be free, with stellar support that has nothing better to do than to solve our every inane issue.
I do understand your side of business but still the wp market needs #opensource solution and not services that cost you more money
― An actual tweet to a WordPress SaaS with a functional free tier
It’s bad for the developers because they need to pay the bills. And it’s bad for you, because you’re sabotaging yourself with this mindset.
Why time and not money?
TL;DR answer: time is finite, money isn’t.
Let’s say you’re making $20/hr as a WordPress developer. You occasionally need to migrate a website for a client. You’ve got 3 options:
- Do it manually in an hour
- Use a quirky free migration plugin (instant, 50% success rate, have to do it manually if it fails)
- Use a robust premium migration plugin (instant, 100% success rate, costs $2 per migration)
By focusing on lowering the cost, you’re creating more work for yourself. You’re losing time that you can spend elsewhere, and it’s costing you a lot more in the long run.
This problem is evident in the WordPress maintenance market. Our estimate shows that almost 90% of WordPress professionals still manage websites manually, even though it’s 21st century and the civilization has gotten to the point where we have things like Amazon Dash and Roomba.
Ultimately, these people either give up on maintenance service because it’s not cost-effective, or they stagnate by letting 10 clients eat up all of their time, effectively preventing them from getting new clients. They literally work themselves into a dead end because they cling to every cent possible.
This is why we ended up giving the core ManageWP features for free for an unlimited number of websites, so we could remove money from the equation and show that there’s a more efficient way of doing things.
When it comes to time vs money, it’s down to these three thoughts.
Value your time
You have a finite amount of time in this world. Money can come and go, but time is constantly being depleted. If you want money, spend as less time as possible to obtain it. Automate and delegate as much as it makes sense.
Do the math
The migration table above was pretty straightforward, unlike most things in life. But in most cases you can do a bit of research, learn all the variables and make the right call.
So if a premium theme costs twice as much as its competitors but everyone’s leaving glowing comments about the clean code and super helpful support, it’s probably worth a shot: if they save you just one hour of your time, you’ve gotten your investment back.
Free is often not free in WordPress
Consider the setup effort and cost. Consider support and security; how much time you’ll spend fixing all those abandoned lines of code. Consider the client trust you’ll lose if you cut corners and make the calls solely on the price point.
If nothing above strikes a cord, I’ll leave this as your key takeaway:
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
― Anthony G. Oettinger