I’m tired of hearing WordPress developer horror stories.
They typically start something along the lines of “I hired this cheap WordPress developer and now my website’s been hacked and I’m not sure how to fix it”
Another one I often come across is, “My site is so slow it’s hurting my business, my WordPress developer left me with a bunch of stuff which I don’t know how to administer and I’m not what’s causing the site to be slow”
And the worst of them all, “I can’t upgrade to the latest version of WordPress because it will break the custom development we’ve done on the site”
Frankly speaking, your WordPress developer must have done a miserable job if you’ve experienced any of the above.
But how do you know where you can find great WordPress developers?
1. Your WordPress Developer Understands WordPress Security
Your typical WordPress website owner can be forgiven if they’re not much into security, however, your WordPress developer should be the one to stop you from doing anything which can put your website at a risk of getting hacked or compromised.
You should be wary of your WordPress developer if they suggest any of the following.
- Customize the WordPress core “because it’s open-source”
- Disable the WordPress updates “because they might break your website”
- Use themes or plugins downloaded from torrents or known piracy sites
- Opt for the cheapest hosting around
Absolute knowledge of WordPress security is the essential trait in my opinion.
Before you hire, you should also rely on other user’s experience, but how can you know about their work before you hire them?
2. Your WordPress Developer Has a Positive Track Record
If you’re using sites such as Freelancer or Upwork or any other freelancer websites to find your next WordPress developer, be especially wary of fresh accounts with little to no feedback.
Although, it might be the case that these users have just joined the network, the more likely scenario is that their new user account means that their old account was banned from the network. They might have closed or deleted the account because it had a track record of bad reviews, or it was evident that they had dodgy or shoddy work.
Check the reviews carefully, be wary if they all look positive and unnatural (they might be baiting for positive reviews). Comments from past hires should look natural, ideally describing specific positive traits of the person rather than a vague positive one-word review.
Of course, users with a track record of bad reviews are a no-go.
You know what else is a no-go? People who reply with an attitude like they have no time for you.
3. They Reply Promptly and Courteously to You
Prompt, timely and courteous replies go a long way in showing professionalism.
Whenever I’m speaking to a new potential hiree, I always looking for emails which are well thought out. They communicate their ideas well. They have been checked for spelling (if not 100% for grammar – even if the hire is not a native English speaker).
When I get the sense that the user is sending a rushed email, or the email has not been double-checked for errors or stupid mistake, it projects the feeling and idea that they will be careless with their coding too.
Timely replies are great, but do they know how they are going to achieve YOUR goals?
4. They Can Explain and Articulate Exactly How They Will Achieve Their Goals
Before actually committing to work with a specific WordPress developer, the potential hire needs to clearly demonstrate they understand what you need from them.
They thus should be able to clearly explain how they will achieve your goals. Even if you don’t have much technical understanding of how the work you need to going to be implemented, the WordPress developer should still be able to articulate the work they will be doing, why they are doing things that way and what the results will be.
Money talks. You should not be taking all the risk, it’s the onus of the developer that…
5. They Can Give You a Fixed Cost for the Work
Of course, a good WordPress developer will be able to give you an estimate to how long the work will take, rather than “I’d rather work by the hour, because I’m not sure what problems I might encounter”.
A good WordPress developer is able to give you a mostly accurate estimate of the amount of work required (and how much it will cost).
If they would rather work by the hour and don’t want to commit to fixed cost, you should stay away – they will be taking you for a ride.
A fixed cost for work will put the burden of completing the work within the time stipulated on the developer.
Of course, certain particular circumstances which demand an extension may arise, but if you don’t have a commitment from the developer to deliver within a specific timeframe at a specific cost, they’re bound to stretch the time to get paid more.
But what about their actual technical skills?
6. They Can Demonstrate Technical Knowledge About WordPress
Of course, the proof of a great WordPress developer is that they know enough WordPress development stuff to get your job done. Your next WordPress developer should demonstrate good knowledge of.
- WordPress child themes
- WordPress API
- WordPress action and filter hooks
- WordPress CLI (Command line)
- Have a version control system in place
- Build tools
- Web design trends, technologies, frameworks
- Knowledge of other systems apart from WordPress
- WordPress news, trends, drawbacks
- Active participation in the WordPress community
This is by no mean a full set of technical skills your WordPress developer should exhibit, but it’s great that these are covered.
Judging these may be a bit hard for those who are not already knowledgeable about WordPress, so ideally you should rope in some help when it comes to making a judgment about this.
7. They Know & Have Ancillary Skills to WordPress
A good WordPress developer knows a lot about WordPress. However, WordPress does not live in isolation.
A WordPress website will be making use of the latest web design trends.
It will need to make sure it respects and adheres to necessary SEO requirements.
It has to revolve around marketing the business / service which it will be working for, including fitting such stuff as email list-building, trials, sign-ups and CTAs as necessary.
Finding a Great WordPress Developers for Hire
Just like we said, finding developers is easy, finding great developers is slightly harder. If there is one thing we would recommend is that when working with new WordPress developers, make sure you give them an early deadline such that if they botch things up and everything goes haywire, you’ll have time to regroup and hopefully hire a better developer
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