It’s a common idea that each project is unique and specific, bringing variety to the universe. Clients try to sell that idea when requesting a website and some web developers actually fall for that.
In theory, this is quite a valid point. Sites have different logos, and the content is unique. Some projects are indeed innovative, provide insight to undiscovered fields and define a new section of the human knowledge. The majority however (which might as well be 99.99% of the websites out there) is repetitive and routine.
It doesn’t mean it comes for free. It is still work, and it requires practice and repetitive problem solving to polish that skill, being able to evaluate and furthermore estimate a solution for a given problem. But it helps fitting it into an area that feels familiar and is proven.
There are tens of thousands of companies building sites with custom CMS platforms and frameworks (or from scratch) for everything in 2013. It’s bizarre, ineffective and impractical. Even if you’re the master of the platform, it would be a custom, limited solution, lacking given features and getting outdated with every single day. Platforms such as WordPress are open, collaborators provide patches to the core and develop plugins and themes for free (or for a small fee) that others could use. Latest trends are captured on time (whether it’s responsive and mobile, or integration with the latest social network), new employees could be recruited easily, matching the profile of a WordPress developer instead of “yet another PHP/Java/Python programmer working on our dumb platform that has 1/50 of the WordPress functionality but we still think it’s greater”.
Agencies tend to profile in WordPress development, covering particular fields and sections. WordPress.com, for example, built several verticals, providing template-alike solutions for: hotels, restaurants, weddings, bands and so on. Each sector outlines a subset of features that fulfills the major requirements of all related parties. Providing a platform for your vertical (with options for extension) makes you prepared and strict, efficient and cost-effective.
Becoming an expert in some of the best plugins out there and getting used to a theme framework (or a set of themes) is also a must. Exploring a different form plugin for every single project doesn’t make you much more efficient than using a different PHP framework for that. Picking a stable and reliable solution for ecommerce, form management, user management, social integration etc. would increase your judgement during the estimate process and accelerate the development process.
Code Cheat Sheet
Going pro with your plugins would still lead to some non-existing functionalities or customization. Keep track on those changes, either release helper plugins or store them in a diary/book/folder where you could pick them in one of your next projects and keep some time for the new challenges.
WordPress is the Right Wheel
Sticking to a reliable platform with a proven authority and increasing interest towards it is crucial for your business. It would bring more leads as you will be efficient and still flexible, modern and yet reliable and cost-effective but earning quite a profit out of the margin due to your existing expertise.