I get about 10 emails a day asking me for help with a website, not a specific plugin error or something like that, but more general requests for help, often relating to my WordPress SEO article. In the past I just used to give this advice sometimes, for free. Recently I’ve begun treating those requests a bit differently: I’ll email back that I can do a site analysis and tell people what to improve, which plugins to use etc. But… I’m not going to do it for free, so I’ll also tell them that I’ll do an analysis like that starting from $500 for a ‘regular’ WordPress blog.
You see, while it’s of more benefit to one user specifically if I help him or her fix their site, it’s of way more benefit to the community at large if I spend the time I work for “free” by writing plugins or articles here on yoast.com or elsewhere, like my recent article on Smashing Magazine. A plugin or an article like that will help tens of thousands, if not millions, of people. A quick site analysis from me telling you what to improve is of no benefit to the community at large.
When I charge for it, and people pay me for it, I actually make more money (d0h), which allows me to in turn spend time writing those plugins and articles. Sounds fair, doesn’t it?
If you just realized you want me to analyze your WordPress site, and you’re willing to pay the $500? Go get yourself a website review then!
Update: the price and the quality of the analysis have both risen quite a bit, so much that I’m now charging $990 for a site analysis.