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WordPress Launches Built by WordPress.com

WordPress Announces Web Dev Service Competing With Squarespace 

WordPress has announced the launch of its new website building service called Built By WordPress.com.

WordPress is perhaps the world’s most popular website content management system (CMS), with 39% of the Internet powered by their service.

It’s so popular that agencies and freelancers have made careers for themselves at doing exactly what WordPress wants to do now: custom building sites for clients.

But now there are fears that WordPress has just cut their feet out from underneath them. After all, why pay an expensive third-party web dev fee, when you can work with the platform direct?

WordPress had previously stuck to the enterprise space through WordPress VIP and failed to impress their VIP clients when they struggled to maintain plugins used by their VIPs back in 2019.

Despite this, they’ve now decided to plunge headfirst into the development world with this new offering. WordPress promise this will be a premium service, although it has kept its pricing fairly opaque.

An entry-level website will cost $4,900, but no further details are provided.

They have also kept capacity limited and will only be taking on a number of select customers, but once again, they didn’t highlight how many.

Agencies Or Squarespace: Who Is The Competition?

WordPress claim they are trying to compete with companies like Squarespace, and attract entry-level clients who don’t have the time or skills to create a site from scratch.

The new service is designed to get people who can’t build their own WordPress site to use their in-house development team before giving their business to players like Squarespace. For that reason, Built By WordPress will primarily be aimed at those who are building their website for the first time.

Although, in reality, many more will likely jump on board, should the service take off.

Marjorie Asturias, Product Marketing & Partnerships Director for WordPress.com at Automattic

“Whether you need a fast and performant eCommerce store for your products and/or services, a polished website for your professional services firm, or an educational website for your online courses, our experts can build it for you on WordPress.com, the most powerful platform for businesses and enterprises large and small.”

Agencies Are Not Happy

As we touched on earlier, this could be bad news for agencies and techies because it removes work from them and places it firmly in the lap of WordPress.

The company has positioned itself in the same market agencies and techies occupy – the $5,000 development market.

There were heaps of examples of concerned developers voicing their experience and worries on Twitter, which Automattic, the company that owns WordPress, CEO Matt Mullenweg said, wouldn’t happen.

Matt Mullenweg, CEO, Automattic

“I would be extremely surprised if this impacts anyone’s consulting business, if you do have a current or potential client leave for it please let me know — it should be all new-to-WP users who wouldn’t have been successful getting started.”

Costs & Suitability

Built by WordPress.com was launched in beta at the back-end of 2020, and will offer three different plans:

  1. One for eCommerce
  2. One for education
  3. One for professional services

That covers a reasonably large section of the web. Professional services could also include sites that serve bricks and mortar businesses, like gyms and construction firms.

For your money, you’ll also have a dedicated ‘engagement manager’, whose job it is to be the main point of contact while the project is being completed.

Marjorie Asturias, Product Marketing & Partnerships Director for WordPress.com at Automattic

“You’ll work with a dedicated engagement manager throughout the entire project, ensuring that your vision is carried through from start to finish — freeing you to focus on the other critical parts of your business.”

Businesses can sign up by following this link and filling out their details, including a project budget. WordPress says they’ll get back to enquiries in two-three business days.

However, at this point, due to supposedly limited capacity, WordPress cites that they will assess your requirements, rather than taking on all briefs.

There is some hope for agencies, though, as WordPress has implied at some point in time, it may look to build an outsourced network for projects, although only time will tell.

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