WordPress is not rocket science. Like anything else in life, it can be learned in time. There are all kinds of people out there on the speaking circuit telling agents to build their own WordPress blogs. But, before you dive in to WordPress.org and start installing plugins & themes, configuring widgets, designing graphics, searching the web for answers to questions you have, and tweaking CSS, you should think long and hard about the ROI (return on investment) of the process you are undertaking.

How much do you make on an hourly basis selling real estate?

For the sake of this post, let’s assume it’s $50 an hour for a good agent in a decent market where the median sale price is above $150,000. In many cases, I would bet it’s higher than $50 for agents who approach real estate as their SOLE business. So your time is worth as follows:

  • 10 hours = $500
  • 20 hours = $1,000
  • 40 hours = $2,000

Or, assuming you’re making $25 an hour – you can halve the numbers above.

With that said, at what point does it stop making sense to build your own WordPress website? Pretty quickly if you consider the setup costs involved. To build your own WordPress website and having never done it yourself, I’d bet you are going to spend 20 hours at a minimum, and probably closer to 40 (if not more) when all is said and done. So, assuming you can get a quality site for less than $1,000 — how does it not make sense to outsource that task?

And if you are making less than $25 an hour? Yeah, you might be stuck building your own WordPress website. And it’s not likely going to be the professional web presence you want to demonstrate to your clients.

Case in point = me. I run marketing for Virtual Results, a firm that builds WordPress websites (update 4/13: I ran marketing for VR from late 2010 to late 2011 but they are now a Geek Estate recommended technology provider), and have setup multiple WordPress blogs over the past five years. I have literally spent several hundred hours in the WordPress dashboard, researching plugins, tweaking PHP and CSS, and configuring server settings for WordPress sites. And you know what? It’s not even the best use of MY OWN TIME to redo my own blog. Granted, I am now in the web design business and likely have higher standards for my own online presence as a result — but, when I do redesign my OWN blog (which has been on my todo list for quite some time now) – I’m going to pay my own hard earned dollars for the design and development of my new site to professionals that can do it up to my standards even though I’d prefer to save the money (who doesn’t like saving money).

[Update: I did have a professional designer/developer redesign my personal blog in December of 2011]

“Can I?” (yes) and “Should I?” (no) are two entirely different questions. My time is better spent on tasks that I’m good at, which does not include graphic design and CSS — and I know I wouldn’t be happy with the result of a self-made blog design.

For the average agent or broker who has never even logged into WordPress?

You do the math.

Note: Based on the Twitter conversation with Michael DunnJulie Ziemelis, Eric Stegemann, Yvonne Arnold, and Melissa Case — maybe the do-it-yourself route is going to continue to grow given the lack of productivity in this industry and the number of agents making less than $25 an hour. But if you view real estate as a career, the ROI of doing it yourself is just not there.

* Photo via Soshable.com