Insights, Web Development

What You Must Consider When You Hire a WordPress Developer

10 important factors that play key role when sorting out potential partners

Hiring a WordPress developer definitely sounds like an easy task. And it is! But hiring a trustworthy partner that gets your vibe, works at fair prices, delivers on time, and provides smooth communication and support… Well, this task may turn out to be a little bit harder.

Once you start exploring your opportunities, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the huge supply of agencies and freelancers that promise you the moon. The truth is – you will probably have to compromise on something. Still, there are things you can’t compromise, such as transparency in pricing, good communication, security and confidentiality of every data you exchange, and more.

Want to check out all 10 important factors to consider when in the process of hiring a WordPress developer? Let’s begin!


Project Scope and Desired Outcome

For sure, being clear about your needs is the right starting point for identifying the perfect candidate to accomplish your task successfully. Will you need just an extra function added to your current site? Or a full development of a website from scratch? Or maybe, you have the designs ready-made in your hands and just need someone to code them into a functional site.

Understanding and describing what you need exactly will help you find the right WordPress developer for your pending project. You already have the perfect vision of what your project looks like in the end. So, now you need to communicate your vision efficiently.

Take some time to write down as thoroughly as you can all pages and functionalities you need the developers to implement. Look for similar sites as references and write down everything you consider important, e.g. page types, a particular blog layout, a newsletter sign-up form, a contact form, multi-lingual support, specific eCommerce functionalities, payment getaways, customer reviews, and so on.

As a last step here, create a project outline including these references, so your future WordPress developer partner can get a clearer picture of what you’re thinking about. For sure, don’t forget to explicitly communicate the exact purpose of your site and individual features. Your developer needs to know your project goals and expectations. Will the project present your business internationally, popularize a cause, sell products, or something else?


Developer’s Expertise

There are plenty of ways to learn about a particular WordPress developer’s expertise and one of them is checking out their previous work. In order to be sure that you’re in safe hands here, you need to look for similar projects by the particular freelancer or company you currently research. Web development agencies, no matter big or small, usually have a custom website. Browsing their own website in terms of speed and functionalities would give you a good idea of how proficient they are in the field.

Whether you are about to hire a freelancer or a full-time WordPress developer working in an agency, you can ask to see work samples and case studies. The more examples of their work you browse, the better idea you’ll get of their capabilities.

Speaking of capabilities, each WordPress developer should have a decent level of technical skills in the most common programming languages associated with WordPress – HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript. In addition, they should have knowledge of plugin development and database management tools. True, you may not have enough experience in the field to evaluate their technical skills by simply looking at their portfolio. However, you can definitely evaluate it from a user’s perspective. Do their websites load fast? Are they easy to navigate? Do they feel professional and pleasant to the eye?


Reviews, Testimonials, and References

One of the best factors to understand your future partner’s reliability and true capabilities is to read reviews of past or current clients who have worked with them. If you opt for a full-time WordPress developer agency, see if they have testimonials on their websites. Additionally, use a third-party independent site that publishes reviews of companies in order to get even more unbiased opinions. This will help you understand the particular agency’s pros and cons in their working processes, communication and soft skills, and technical abilities, without being filtered by the agency itself.

If you prefer to hire freelancers, you can ask for references from previous clients. For sure, most platforms do include ratings and reviews on each candidate’s pages. But being able to contact past clients personally would give you deeper insight that probably hasn’t been mentioned in the reviews.


Your Budget

Budget is an important factor undeniably. As much as you shouldn’t rush going for the lowest offer you get, you need to set a specific frame for the maximum price you are willing to pay for a particular work. If you set the price too low, you will find yourself choosing whether to compromise on the quality, developer’s expertise, project turnaround, ongoing support, and even more factors that will bring you more value. For sure, setting aside a huge sum of money is unreasonable, as well. It’s best to aim for the golden middle – getting maximum value from a trusted and experienced WordPress developer, for a reasonable price. Think of it as a wise investment rather than an aggravating expense.

One more thing that concerns your budget is hidden and additional costs. Transparency in pricing shouldn’t be neglected, at all. Once you get an offer, make sure to understand what exactly it covers. How much will additional features cost? Are all taxes included? Is support included? What type and for how long? The answers to all these questions will help you plan your current and future expenses more accurately.


Project Urgency

Project urgency might be super important for some and not the first priority for others. Either way, nobody would love to be in the queue for months before receiving their final project. What you should have established in the first phase of your project planning is the urgency of your project. On the one hand, top-choice agencies and freelancers may get overloaded with work and unable to start working on your project right away. On the other hand, less familiar agencies and freelancers might be available to start right now. However, do they have the capability to fulfill your dream project just like you’ve imagined it?

Fortunately, responsible WordPress agencies do have a team of developers dedicated to urgent projects, ready to react as quickly as possible. For sure, you have to prepare yourself that this service may cost extra. Either way, you have to choose what to compromise on, right?

Regular projects should have reasonable turnarounds, as well. On the one hand, freelancers may be more flexible, working more hours a day and over the weekends, therefore offering you faster turnarounds. On the other hand, agencies usually have established and fair working times but they may accelerate their working processes with personally developed sets of tools, well-proven practices, and specific working policies.

Whatever option you choose, always look for deadline estimates that are a little bit sooner than your actual deadline. You know, just in case you need any additional changes.


Ease of Communication

The communication factor may not be the first that comes to mind but it is as important as other factors in the curation process. Being able to communicate in a smooth, efficient, and timely manner is the first sign of reliability and trustworthiness to look for in your future partner.

First of all, you need to understand what type of communication method and channel your WordPress developer prefers. Are they capable to adapt to another communication channel if that’s what you prefer? How fast to expect responses? How often will they give updates on progress? Is there an opportunity to contact them over the phone in case of an emergency?

While email is often the preferred method of communicating, apps like Slack and Skype are also good alternatives. When it comes to working with a full-time WordPress developer agency, they usually have a handy contact form to get in touch and a personal client area to keep a record of all discussions, designs, references, and other files.

It’s worth mentioning that communication efficiency can be well evaluated from the very beginning. If there is anything unclear about pricing, project details, and what exactly you can expect from each other, this is usually a red sign that further communication will be a burden, too.


Payment Structures

While payment methods may not be your first priority, it’s important to take them into consideration in your planning process. Some WordPress developers prefer to be paid at an hourly rate while others charge at a flat rate, according to the accomplished task. In case the developer prefers to be paid hourly, you should ask them for an estimation of how long it would take to complete the task. If you want to return the project for changes, will they charge additionally?

While freelance web developers usually work at hourly rates, agencies typically prefer to charge at flat rates. Flat rates are certainly easier to plan. It’s good to be clear whether you are required to pay the full amount at once or in portions. The typical method agencies use is to require half of the payment upfront and the rest – after they complete the project.


Support and Maintenance

Being able to rely on your WordPress developer for future maintenance is as important as accomplishing the current service successfully. As the web is dynamically evolving, your site will need to change in the future, as well. Make sure to learn if and for how long your WordPress developer will be available to maintain your site in the future. Some agencies offer free support for a limited period of time after project completion and then suggest different maintenance plans for you to choose from. Others, like htmlBurger, offer lifetime support for free if anything on your site stops working correctly.

Consider getting timely updates according to the latest security standards since you want your data protected from harmful actions. You need to learn if you can count on your WordPress developer for such updates. Will they do this for free? If not, how much to expect?

Regular updates reflect on your website’s speed, as well. Many WordPress developer agencies offer speed optimizations on existing sites, in case you haven’t optimized yours, yet.


Quality Guarantees and Trial Runs

Not every freelancer or agency will offer you a real satisfaction guarantee for the provided service or other factors like communication and soft skills. In such cases, you can opt for a trial run in order to test out your future partner’s competence, reliability, and working approach. Assign your chosen WordPress developer a small set of tasks for them to complete. Think of this as a small investment that will save you tons of time, money, and regrets in case you don’t like the results.

However, if you go for a full-time WordPress development agency, you may be pleasantly surprised by some pro-client policies like money-back guarantees and completely free trial periods, just like the case in htmlBurger.

No matter which road you go, make sure your WordPress developer agrees to sign a non-disclosure agreement, so everything you share with them stays safe and confidential.


Make it Legal

Whether you opt for a freelancer or a full-time developer, you must document all agreed-upon details in a legal contract, so everyone involved understands and abides by their rights and obligations. This last step here is crucial for everyone’s confidence and peace of mind. Plus, if anything goes wrong, you will have a solid base to prove what you’ve agreed on.

The contract to sign should contain every detail about the project’s scope, milestones, deliverables, payment amount, payment terms and methods, as well as agreed-upon deadlines. Make sure to include clauses about confidentiality and security of data, as well as an explicit statement that defines the ownership of the final product. In addition, make sure to include terms of post-project support, maintenance, and guarantees if you agree on such. Don’t forget the terms of termination in case any side decides to withdraw from the agreement.


To sum up,

Hiring a WordPress developer for your pending project may be a tedious and time-consuming process. However, it’s better to invest some time into finding the perfect fit in order to save yourself from future trouble and even more expenses. No matter if you are oriented towards hiring a full-time WordPress developer from an agency or a freelancer, all factors listed here will help you prepare for the process. Defining your specific needs and identifying the developer’s capabilities are only the first things that come to mind. There are many more details to look for and consider, along with soft skills, warranties, etc.

We hope you’ve found this post useful. Now, you are all ready for this exciting journey of finding the best WordPress developer for your needs.

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