A custom-designed WordPress site is a fantastic way to showcase everything your business has to offer. With almost 7.5 million live sites in the United States alone, it’s by far the most popular website platform around the world. And for good reason—WordPress sites look great, run smoothly, and allow for lots of flexibility in design.
Creating a website by yourself requires a lot of technical know-how, but hiring a developer can also be a daunting (and expensive) process. If you’re hoping to hire a WordPress developer to build your site, it pays to know what to look for ahead of time.
Here are our top tips on how to sort through all the WordPress professionals out there to find the one that’s best for you.
Start with a Plan
Before you ever start looking for a WordPress developer, take the time to list out all of your project details. It sounds simple, but this step is vital to finding a developer that fits your needs. Here are some of the items you should include:
- Wireframe – a detailed sketch of your website’s user interface
- Target audience – a description of your ideal customers
- Business goals – what you want your site to accomplish
- Budget – make sure you have the funds available to pay a quality developer
- Branding – the specific colors, graphics, fonts, and logos that make your site recognizable
- Project scope – the exact goals you need a developer to accomplish
- Timeline – starting date, milestones, and a final launch deadline
Along with the aforementioned suggestions, make a list of “must-have” and “nice-to-have” website features. This will help you find a developer capable of building and integrating essential plugins, widgets, and custom code.
Prepare Your Content
Want to develop a great working relationship with your developer right from the start? Have all of your website content prepared before you hand the project off to them. As soon as you’ve completed your wireframe, work on gathering and finishing up your page titles, menu options, base copy, and images.
This is important for a couple of reasons. First, giving your developer all their required materials ahead of time keeps the project moving along on schedule. Second, it minimizes the need for revisions later on due to small errors like low-resolution graphics.
While preparing your content may seem like a lot of work on the front end, it makes your developer’s job a lot easier.
Look for WordPress Professionals in the Right Places
Not all platforms are equal when it comes to finding top-quality WordPress developers. Looking on bidding sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer.com will give you lots of low-cost options, but you’ll have to be diligent in vetting potential programmers.
If you want to look through a list of pre-screened candidates, check out WP developer sites like Toptal, Codeable.io, and Stack Overflow. These options are likely to be pricier, but they will connect you with trusted, experienced developers.
A third strategy is to post your project on a dedicated WordPress job board. These include WPMU DEV Pros, WPhired.com, and WordPress Jobs. Using a job board can save time by sending qualified applicants directly to you, but you may have to pay to post your listing.
After you’ve found a few potential candidates, it’s time to start the decision process. When you reach out to them, treat your conversations like an interview process. Don’t hire someone based on cost alone—take the time to make sure they’re able to build a site that meets your standards.
Read Testimonials and Reviews
Reading client testimonials is the fastest way to separate the great developers from the not-so-great ones. If you’re looking for WordPress developers on a bidding or contractor site, these will likely be listed right on their profile. Be careful of just glancing at their star ratings, though—take the time to read exactly what the reviews have to say.
Many freelancers will also have a “testimonials” section on their personal websites. If you’ve reached out to one who doesn’t have any reviews posted online, ask them to send a few your way before you decide to work together.
Check out Their Portfolio
A quick word of advice: never hire a developer without first seeing examples of their work. Even if they have rave reviews from other clients, their style may not match your business’s needs.
Do your research to find out if your chosen developer has any experience designing sites in your niche. For example, if your business specializes in bad credit loans, check to make sure that they’ve built sites for the financial sector. If they don’t have any relevant experience but you’re still interested in working together, talk with them ahead of time about any special considerations they should keep in mind.
Iron out the Details
The last step before hiring a developer is to draw up a contract or agreement with all of your project specifications. This agreement should:
- Establish a timeline
- Quote the price, payment schedule, and method of payment
- Clarify the project scope
- Define how revisions and future updates will work
Go over the contract with your potential developers thoroughly before you make a final commitment. The agreement should be beneficial to both parties, so make any revisions as necessary.
Set up Direct Communication
One of the first things you need to do after hiring a developer is to set up a direct line of communication. No one is available 24/7, but you should be able to reach out to them and hear back in a reasonable amount of time. Make sure to discuss their preferred method of communication, exchange contact info, and establish an expected timeframe for responses.
Remember, good communication goes both ways! If your developer has questions, respond to them quickly to keep the project moving along.
Hiring a High-Quality WordPress Developer
Now you’re prepared to go forth and find the perfect developer for your website. Following these tips can help you evaluate WordPress professionals with confidence and ease.
While you’re checking out all the features WordPress has to offer, take a look at these gorgeous gallery plugins that can make your product page shine.