WordPress makes it easy to put a website together but it doesn’t necessarily make web development easy.

For many, WordPress works out-of-the-box and with the vast ecosystem of both free and low-cost plugins, beginners can patch together a reasonable website packing serious functionality within a short space of time, with minimal upfront cost.

The mission of the open source WordPress project is to democratise publishing and of course, in many ways it has achieved this goal. However, the simplicity and low barrier to entry hide the true cost of web development.

Mario Peshev wrote about value a while back after receiving an enquiry. The client outlined their requirements, to alter a plugin to include their bespoke functionality. The client laid out their expectations, “the plugin costs $25 so I estimate the change would probably cost around $15”. It’s clear this client undervalued the work involved in custom development.

WordPress is a great tool to get a project going quickly. It’s fairly rewarding to work with. A lot can achieved out-of-the-box and you can end up feeling that anything is possible! However, once you stray outside the basics of strapping a theme together with a few plugins and need something custom, that’s when you realise web development is complex and WordPress is no different.