Do you take CMS work even if it doesn't pay much?

According to a new report by DoNanza, the demand and budget for CMS projects is on the rise. Look at the average budget for WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal projects on DoNanza, and then discuss whether you're taking gigs for CMS work.

Not long ago, Content Management Systems (CMS) were a great idea that nobody used. Now, they're ubiquitous. They make sense because they separate content from presentation concerns. With the arrival of free CMS systems such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal (among others), almost every site that offers up anything but static content uses a CMS of some sort.

For my own sites, I use WordPress. I've even published several plugins and widgets for WordPress. But I have yet to make any money directly from installing, configuring, or customizing a WordPress site. I did have one offer, but the prospect didn't have any money. I guess he hoped that I would volunteer to do it gratis. It seems like there's always someone who thinks that, because the software costs nothing, working with it should cost nothing too. Fortunately, it appears that a growing number of companies may be beginning to realize that the value of what you can do with a CMS warrants an investment in those activities.

According to a new report published by DoNanza, a work-from-home job site, the demand and budget for CMS projects is on the rise. Projects listed on DoNanza's site for WordPress grew by 61% in the third quarter of 2010. Projects involving Joomla grew by 38%, and those for Drupal by 26%.

(images used by permission from DoNanza)

During the same period, the total number of projects on DoNanza grew by 30%, so the rise in demand for WordPress has been more than double that of other projects. Joomla has grown a bit faster than average, and Drupal seems to be falling a little behind.

The following graph shows the average budget for these projects:

Now I know why I'm not playing this course: there's not enough green. The average budget for a freelance project for WordPress on DoNanza is $455. That's not per hour, or even per week -- that's the whole bundle that's expected to carry you from requirements to delivery. I don't know about you, but I could hardly manage to repress my PHP gag reflex for that much, never mind getting anything else done. Joomla doesn't offer much more ($473). If you can land a Drupal project, though, you're living the high life because with a project budget of $915 you can afford to buy the expensive coffee.

WordPress jumped up a notch in the rank of most requested skills on DoNanza to #7, edging out MySQL. The only skills in more demand on DoNanza are PHP, Translation, HTML, Graphic Design, Website Design, and SEO, in that order. Both Joomla and Drupal slipped down the list a bit, but they're still #17 and #43, respectively. Obviously, a lot of people are looking for help with these CMS platforms -- even if they don't want to pay much for it.

How about you? Have you taken any gigs for work on a CMS? How well were you paid? Would you do it again?

By Chip Camden

Chip Camden has been programming since 1978, and he's still not done. An independent consultant since 1991, Chip specializes in software development tools, languages, and migration to new technology. Besides writing for TechRepublic's IT Consultant b...