How to ensure you choose a quality WordPress developer

Choosing a WordPress developer for a project can be a daunting task. Many claim to be experienced WordPress developers, but few are. There are a few key aspects that should factor in to your decision when choosing the right developer for your project that I will discuss below.

What is your project scope and budget?

The first, and possibly most important, factor is what type of project do you have and what is your budget? The type of project can range from a pre-built theme with minor edits to a fully customized theme built from scratch and your budget and needs will dictate the best route to take. Since I typically build from scratch using the Genesis Framework for small to mid level projects I will focus my thoughts around that type of project.

The age-old saying “you get what you pay for” may not necessarily be true in many cases, but when it comes to website development there is certainly an inherit relationship between the price you pay and the quality you get. When choosing the right developer for your project price is ALWAYS a significant factor, but you need to quantify more than just the price you are paying up-front or the quote you receive.

I’ve heard many times that my hourly rate is too high, but what many clients don’t factor in is the speed at which I work and the quality of work that I provide. Would you rather pay someone $25/hr for 10 hours of mediocre coding or pay someone $100/hour for 2 hours of well-documented valid code? Not only will you save money based on the time spent times the hourly rate, but with a higher level developer you typically receive higher quality code.

Another situation that has come up many times is a client who goes the cheaper route only to end up needing to hire a new developer when the first, cheaper developer could not provide what was asked of them. Using some of the hints below you can try to avoid this caveat.

Is the WordPress developer asking the right questions?

When I receive a project request from a client I typically respond with at least 5-7 key questions to completely understand the scope of the project. Not only does this allow me to provide as accurate a quote as I can, but it allows me to understand if it is a project I can take on and if it is a client I am willing to work with. I am not shy at all about turning down a project that I don’t believe I can deliver on or turning down a client I believe may be difficult to work with.

If you request a quote from a developer and receive a very cheap quote without any back and forth with questions and clarifications on project scope I would tend to err on the side of caution. The developer should WANT to understand all aspects of the project and not jump immediately to a quote, unless of course you provide a VERY detailed project request.

Does the WordPress developer have an impressive portfolio?

The easiest way to see if a developer is worth working with is to look at projects they have worked on previously. If you run in to a developer without any examples of work or not willing to provide any examples it is probably a red flag. I know every developer needs to start somewhere, but do you really want them starting on your website?

When I first started creating websites I offered my services free to friends, family, on forums and more just to get my feet wet and build my portfolio. I’ve removed many of these early projects from my portfolio now (mainly because they were so bad), but that is how I built my portfolio initially.

I strongly suggest looking at your potential developer’s portfolio, inspect the code, check the validity, ask a lot of questions and do your homework. This will help you end up with a quality developer and a quality end-product.

Will the WordPress developer provide references if asked?

If you really want to dig in to the quality of a potential developer ask for some references. I typically don’t receive reference requests, but I would be happy to provide them if asked. I have a few dozen recommendations on linkedin and I would be happy to provide anyone who asks with contact information for a variety of my past clients.

I know I put out a quality product that I am proud of and I would be happy to let my past and present clients reiterate that for me. If your potential developer isn’t willing to give out any references, or doesn’t have any, that is probably another red flag.

Do you think the WordPress developer will be easy to work with?

One of the most important things I factor in when decided on whether I want to take on a project is the feeling I get from the potential client. You should do the same for a potential developer. If I get a feeling that a client will be difficult to work with (could be language barrier, lack of communication, refusal to pay a deposit, asking to alter my terms and conditions, etc…) I simply won’t take on the project.

If you are in communication with a potential developer who you don’t get a good feeling from, simply don’t work with them. A good developer will not only have coding skills, but they should have good communication skills. Open, frequent communication with clients is extremely important. There are plenty of quality developers out there, wait until you find the right one!

The right developer should be easy to communicate with, provide frequent project updates and clear expectations, provide examples of their previous work and references and output a quality product EVERY time. You have the tools to find the right developer, and there are plenty of amazing ones out there, so don’t waste your time and money on a bad ones. Do your research, be willing to pay for quality and you’ll end up with the results you are seeking.

About Matt Whiteley

Matt has been building bespoke WordPress websites for over 10 years specializing in the Genesis Framework. He integrates Advanced Custom Fields heavily in all builds, especially with the new Gutenberg Block Editor, allowing clients to easily modify all aspects of the their website with ease.

He works with a wide variety of small businesses and agencies across the country providing development services as well as hosting and maintenance. When he isn't coding he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, golfing and playing poker.

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