The official website for the new service, called Built by WordPress, alludes to a full-fledged service from design to development, boasting the headline "You want the website of your dreams. Our experts can create it for you."
What we know
Built by WordPress has actually been in the works for a while. Automattic, WordPress’s parent company, announced the beta version of the product in the fall of last year.
Upon the initial beta release, Marjorie Asturias, Product Marketing & Partnerships Director for WordPress.com at Automattic said
“Our premium website building service was developed with your needs in mind...Whether you need a fast and performant e-commerce 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.”
The website doesn’t have a ton of detail on what to expect with the service, but it does expand on the above language highlighting the three types of website that are the best fit for this service.
It’s not clear how custom the websites will be, based on the screenshots seen on the website it may be more of a templated website set up service versus full-on custom development.
The sites will start at a price point of $4,900 and are currently available by application only. The application is short and straightforward, and asks for things like budget, the type of website, and what your dream site would include.
It’s not clear yet how many applicants will be accepted, or if Wordpress plans to open up more capacity in the near future.
Built by WordPress introduces WordPress to a whole new competitive market: custom website development. This is exciting news for some who may have wanted to build a website on WordPress but were too intimidated to take it on themselves.
However the news was met with mixed feedback from the WordPress community. In the past freelancers, or even agencies, haven’t had to worry about competing with a large company like Automattic when trying to attract new customers.
But Automattic’s CEO, Matt Mullenweg, said that he didn’t foresee consulting business being negatively affected. Saying on Twitter:
“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.”
He went on to say that the program is set up to refer business out to partners, and that the service is still in the testing page and will continue to be fleshed out.
If you happen to be in the market for a new or refreshed WordPress website, this could be a good avenue to take. While there are still a lot of questions, there’s no harm in filling out the application right?
So what's next?
There are still some details that need to be clarified around the Built by WordPress solution. I would expect to hear updates in the near future as the service evolves. If you are interested in how this service develops, keep a pulse on the WordPress community and news releases.
The solution could make website development more feasible for small and medium-sized businesses looking for a straight-forward website set up on the WordPress platform. We will have to wait and see the effect it has on the partner community as it develops.