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12 Passive Income Ideas for Web Developers


Web developers are more in demand than ever before as the digital age has created hundreds of opportunities for developers to offer necessary services and apps for businesses. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of web developers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.” (source). This demand stems notably from the growing popularity of web apps and eCommerce. But you may be looking to trade your active job for more passive income.

How can you earn passive income as a web developer? The median annual active income for web developers was $73,760 in May 2019. However, in order to transition from active to passive income, web developers can implement ideas such as creating and selling web-based chatbots, running monetized blogs, flipping profitable websites and domain names, developing and supporting API bridges, and more.

Web development is a broad and extensive field that is ever-growing, so there are numerous opportunities for generating passive income in this space as a web developer. Here are twelve ways of earning passive income as a web dev. 

1. Chatbots

As a web developer, you can create and sell chatbots. Bots are used to perform useful customer service tasks like greeting visitors, collecting user information, answering FAQ’s and assisting companies to increase their productivity and enhance customer relationships. There are also up and coming AI/IoT opportunities for Bots as a Service (BAAS) with companies looking for bots that can effectively handle their most demanding and common tasks. With the right ideas, and while serving the right industries, you can earn a decent passive income creating and selling bots as a web developer. Learn more about how you can make passive income from your bot in our extensive guide to making money from web-based chatbots.

2. Blogging & Flipping Websites

If you already know how to throw a WordPress site together and source or write quality content, this may be an idea you have contemplated. But did you know that with the right strategies, blogging really can make $1,000 to $7,000/month or more in 24 months? Where most people get it wrong is that they blog about their day or what they’re doing. But what they should be blogging about is what people are actually looking for in Google. 

As a web developer, you can share your knowledge and skills on a topic you are passionate about through a monetized blog and make passive income. Valuable resources like Income School’s Project 24 offer essential strategies to help you achieve such passive income goals via a well-monetized blog. We are Project 24 Members and highly recommend their course, even if you are a seasoned internet marketer. You can also eventually re-sell or flip your blog for 10 to 35x it’s monthly income (depending on a variety of factors). You can learn how to make a profitable blog in our guide.

3. Flipping Domain Names

Some people make a decent amount of passive income by flipping domain names. The concept is rather simple, you just have to purchase a domain name you think will sell in the future, hold it and wait for a buyer to come along who is willing to pay a premium for that domain. As a web developer, you can monetize the service with ease. For instance, you can leverage existing clients, source old domain drop-offs or purchase domains in new markets. Check out our domain flipping guide for more information.

4. Developing & Supporting API Bridges (SAAS)

As you already know, API bridges are essential to make apps communicate together and render communication between software seamless for the end-user. However, some web devs do not realize that building such API connections can truly provide a stable source of monthly recurring passive income. Given the growing demand for API bridges (especially within small and large corporations), you can make quite a decent amount of income as a web developer. However, keep in mind that support and ongoing updates are essential, so make sure your pricing reflects this. You can always outsource the support and maintenance to third parties if you want to make your earnings more passive. 

5. Membership Sites

Membership sites provide a reliable source of monthly recurring passive income for many bloggers. As a web developer, you can use your skills to create a membership platform that suits your interests, passions and hobbies. You could also base your choice of a niche on your existing skill-sets. For example, you can create an online community of other web developers, who can share ideas, provide solutions, etc. Check out our guide on how to make passive income with membership sites.

6. Advertising on Your Client’s Websites

Online advertising is a very profitable form of passive income. Web developers can make some extra cash by creating and setting up ads to run on their client’s websites. You can promote your business by asking clients to host ads from other businesses you work with on their sites (for a price discount, small charge, monthly fee, etc.) This can especially be profitable in a local area where you can advertise on local merchant’s sites to other local customers within the same city or region. You could also request to place a link to your website in the footer as the creator of the site. Although backlinks do not have the same importance they did in the past, it’s always a good way to generate links to your website and to inform visitors of who created it (thus, advertising your services for free).

7. Reselling Web Hosting

This is a fairly common practice for most web agencies. Web hosting services are in demand and necessary for any web dev. Web developers can use their coding skills to either create platforms for web hosting services or resell third-party services at a premium. You can also offer SEO and SSL services as bonuses. However, it is crucial to ensure that you acquire the services from reputable dealers and actually deliver on the promises that you give your customers. Make sure to differentiate your product from others in the market, may that be with support or value for money. You can resell web hosting services as an affiliate. Learn more about affiliate marketing in this article on our blog.

8. Leasing Dedicated Servers

This may be outside the scope of some web developers, but if you have the skills, you can always earn passive income by leasing dedicated servers to clients. Companies find it more affordable, secure and reliable to acquire private servers that are supported by local agents. You can use your skills to install and run servers for the companies and then make a recurring monthly income from those servers. Keep in mind you will have customer support unless you train your clients to manage the servers on their own. You can also always hire a virtual assistant. 

9. Finding Security Flaws & Hacks

Cybercrime is a very serious threat to businesses. You can earn passive income by finding security flaws and threats on behalf of online-based companies for a fee. You can use your web development skills to hamper the efforts of black hat hackers, as a white-hat hacker. Your main role would be to test the company’s security infrastructures and offer data protection services. This can be demanding in time, so you have to consider automating or outsourcing part of the work to make it more passive. 

10. Creating & Selling Web Themes

This is a fairly popular way for web developers to make passive income online. Web developers can earn a decent amount of passive income by creating and selling web themes. Themes are a fun way of customizing and designing web pages. Your themes can be made for WordPress, Shopify and other popular CMS platforms. Clients often search for themes per industry, so you may want to customize your offer for retail, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, or other industries you are interested in. Just make sure they’re beautiful and user-friendly since those factors are usually what is most important for front-end users.

11. Creating & Selling WordPress Plugins

This is another very popular way that web developers make passive income online. With the right plugins and marketing strategies, you could make a decent amount of passive income by creating paid or subscription-based WordPress plugins that help cater to common WordPress shortcomings. One way to find out what users need is by reading WordPress forums and relevant Reddit feeds. Once you find something that could be a winner, try to create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and test it out in the market. When creating a WordPress plugin, it’s best to offer real-world solutions to problems people actually need to solve in a very simple and quick way. 

12. Creating & Selling Widgets

Widgets are always in high demand as people look to improve the functionality of their websites. Web developers can earn passive income by creating or customizing widgets to suit users’ needs. If you want to sell your widget on a recurring basis for passive income, opt for functionality and the current demand in the market. 

Related Questions 

How do Web developers create passive income?

Web developers can create passive income in a variety of ways from creating and selling web-based chatbots, running monetized blogs, flipping profitable websites and domain names, developing and supporting API bridges, creating and selling WordPress plugins, themes and widgets, leasing dedicated servers, reselling web hosting and more.

Can passive income make you rich?

Passive income can make you rich for a number of reasons including the lack of income cap, the ability to no longer trade time for money, and the power of leverage. However, making passive income is not an overnight success for the vast majority of people and it takes time, effort, skill, and often a financial investment to create a profitable passive income stream.

What are Passive Income ideas for web developers?

Passive income ideas for web developers include creating and selling web-based chatbots, running monetized blogs, flipping profitable websites and domain names, developing and supporting API bridges, creating and selling WordPress plugins, themes and widgets, leasing dedicated servers, reselling web hosting and more.

How do developers create passive income?

Developers can create passive income in a variety of ways from creating and selling web-based chatbots, running monetized blogs, flipping profitable websites and domain names, developing and supporting API bridges, creating and selling WordPress plugins, themes and widgets, leasing dedicated servers, reselling web hosting and more.

How can I make $1000 a month passive income?

One way to make $1000 a month passive income is by blogging about things people are actually searching for on Google, and that do not have relevant or high competition results. With the Project 24 method, there are 60 steps to follow in order to make $1000 to $7000+ passive income within 24 months.

Learn how to make $1,000 to $7,000/year or more here.

How much passive income can I make as a web developer?

This depends on the type of passive income stream you are able and willing to carry out. Some passive income streams earn more money than others, and so it is important to choose a stream that corresponds to your talents and interests. Also, you can combine two or more streams (e.g., you can run a monetized blog, YouTube channel, and sell software) and earn more passive income in the process.

Beginners Passive Income

It takes time, effort, perseverance, motivation and skill to build profitable, sustainable passive income streams. We hope to inspire you and provide you excellent passive income ideas along your journey to financial independence.

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