Hiring a WordPress developer is never an easy task.
The sheer number of developers that are out there can make it a real challenge to find someone who is both qualified and a good fit for what your company needs.
Since you don’t have a working knowledge of code, you won’t be 100% sure about the WordPress expert you’ll end up hiring eventually.
This is why we’ve set aside eight things that are worth looking for in your quest for a WordPress Developer: Portfolio, References, Budget Fit, Communication Skills, First Steps, Skill-Set, Personality Fit, and Flexibility.
1) The Portfolio
The most important aspect to consider when choosing a WordPress Developer is whether or not they will produce a quality product. Part of this means that you should expect your developer to be experienced in similar projects.
For instance, if you’re trying to start up an eCommerce store, it’s reasonable to expect that your developer will have experience developing other eCommerce stores.
Our tip: Make sure their portfolio contains projects that are comparable in size and scope to what you want to accomplish. Better yet, ask them to show you a specific example from their past that is related to your current project and comment on it.
Let’s say you needed to hire an electrician, but didn’t know of any off the top of your head. What would you do? Where would you start? You’d ask around! Family, friends, colleagues–any trusted individual who may have recent experience hiring one. The same concept applies to hiring a developer.
Previous work says more than anything about a company. So after you’ve checked out their portfolio, confirm that the work is actually done by them. Additionally, references can provide insights into how the company conducts business, their level of customer service, and whether or not they completed a project in adherence to the client’s specifications.
You can do this by sending a brief email asking if they’re willing to share just a quick feedback about how they felt working with the company you’re interested in. Examples may include:
- Was work delivered on time?
- Did the project stay on budget?
- How happy were you with the end result?
Our tip: In the same way you looked for a relevant portfolio, make sure that the references provided are relevant to your project.
3) Budget Fit
Depending on your company, this may be the most important aspect. However, it’s never a good idea to make a decision based solely on price. Have you ever heard the saying, “You get what you pay for”?
4) Communication Skills
Good communication skills are very important when you’re trying to hire someone to work on your WordPress website. Even the best developer or designer in the world will have you pulling your hair out if they are not good at communication.
Establish and agree upon communication guidelines before the project starts and hold them to a standard. If you want a response within 24-hours, agree upon this from the beginning. I’m not suggesting you should be able to email them six times per day asking for an update and get a response each time. But if you send an email on Monday, and it takes longer than 48 hours to get a response, you should probably start looking elsewhere.
Beware: I’ve seen so many project managers in this business who do the talking and selling but the team behind them may not be that qualified. So if someone is over-communicating or it sounds too good to be true, make sure you do your due-diligence when researching their portfolio and references.
5) Skill-Set and Scope
It’s a good idea to confirm that your developer and/or designer has the skill-set necessary to get the job done. Some of this assessment is going to require a degree of goodwill, particularly if you’re hiring someone who works with a team. These depend largely on the size and complexity of your project but typically, you’re looking for someone well-versed in:
- WordPress, themes and plugins
- Web hosting environments (specifically Linux, FTP and cPanel)
- Domain configuration
- Optional: Setting up and troubleshooting email issues
- Optional: Organic SEO
So what does all this mean? It means that a designer can help you create the overall look and feel of your website. Site architecture, layout, colors, fonts, design elements and more.
6) Personality Fit
Getting along with your developer or designer is important regardless of the size of your project. If you’re disagreeing on many levels early in the project, things will most likely get worse as things progress. Trust your gut, and if things don’t feel right, look for someone else.
7) What Are Their First Steps?
One of the best ways to figure out whether you’re hiring the right developer is to find out their next steps.
Do they present you with a contract or an honest conversation that covers contractual terms, milestones, deadlines, time to completion and ongoing support? When a developer brings these things up, there is a good chance that they’ve been down this road once or twice before and know what they’re doing.
Anytime a developer or designer seems eager to start your project and get a deposit in their hand before discussing all of the above; it should be a warning sign. You might want to dig a little deeper into their project and work history.
Any professional developer or designer will understand the importance of customer service and flexibility. Whether it’s setting convenient appointment times, choosing a method of communication or being generally available, a degree of flexibility on both sides will help to ensure a well-run project.
If your developer or designer tells you they don’t take calls from clients, look elsewhere.
Putting It All Together
Finding the right developer for your project doesn’t need to be complicated. Once you find out what kind of help you need, it’s just making sure you’re hiring someone who has the qualifications necessary to see each stage of your project through to completion.
Just because you don’t understand WordPress (or what the heck CSS is) doesn’t mean you can’t hire the right people to get the job done. If you follow these tips, we’re confident that you’ll find better ways to evaluate and find your next WordPress professional.