Keys to Finding a Good WordPress Web Developer

MSK-Finding a Good WordPress DeveloperBeing a Website Developer is often “hard.” There are so many different web technologies in which to be an expert. Training programs, certifications, and even degrees are very hard to come by, especially from institutions with good reputations that are interested in education first and profits second. Hey, I have nothing against the University of Phoenix or its many brethren, but asking for hundreds of dollars per credit to be taught by adjunct faculty seems like more of a way to make a quick buck, if you ask me. And the reality is, in this profession, it really is all about the work. A good portfolio speaks volumes above any paper degree, regardless of where it is from. Paying clients want to see end results before making a decision, not grades or potential. Besides, Web Designers/Developers have many overlapping skill sets (the good ones anyway). They need to have an artistic eye for design as well as a programming mind to be able to build your web site. With so many different technologies available to build sites, it is impossible to be an expert in all of them.

If it is difficult to obtain the necessary skills required to be a good Website Designer/Developer, then how about finding one? What do you do if you’re a small business owner with a small budget who may not be able to afford a team of experts to build your website?

What You Need to Know:

    Free ConsultationAny Website Designer/Developer who is confident in their skills and body of work should be more than willing to give a complimentary consultation to answer your general questions and provide answers with their skill and knowledge. In a business where most (or all) of the work is done remotely, a free project consult is essential to building trust and establishing a partnership. If a Developer/Designer wants to charge you just to speak to him/her about your project – that’s a red flag.Full-time/Part-time/Hobby?This is very important. Is the Website Designer/Developer working full-time? Part-time? Or for a hobby? Sure, the question may seem like common sense, so why ask it? You would be surprised how many people build websites as a means for supplemental income. The bigger question I have, like anything in life, is if you only devote a small portion of your time to it, how thorough are your skills and how “serious” are you about constantly expanding your skills and running your business? If it were me, I would want someone who is passionate about the work and takes it seriously — 100% of the time. That is where I would want my money and energy to go.ContractsContracts are essential to defining the working agreement and responsibility between the client and the developer. I truly wish we could all trust each other and still do business “with a smile and a handshake,” but unfortunately, these days, reality tells us differently. When are payments due? What about trademarks or ownership of material? Or even schedules and deadlines? A dedicated, committed Website Designer/Developer will provide you with all of these answers in the beginning. When Kelli and I started MSK, we simply provided invoices for the projects we completed. This is terrible business, for both parties. Instead, contracts protect the working relationship between the client and the developer. If your prospective web developer isn’t going to provide you with a contract which clearly defines the responsibilities of both parties, again, it’s another red flag.Skill SetLook, its impossible to be an expert in every single web technology. And Website Designers/Developers, like myself, have a broad scope of abilities that cater to small businesses. I would claim to be proficient in many website technologies, but an expert, no. It’s just not possible. I decided long ago there was great value in providing a few great website development services, instead of being an expert in just one. If one person claims to be an expert in every available website technology and therefore is willing to charge you for a small business website — red flag. A good web developer will be confident in the skill set they have – and be specific about it. Honesty is an essential tenet of any healthy relationship. If honesty doesn’t exist from the start, you won’t be happy with the end result.Website Maintenance & UpdatesWhat happens after your site is launched? Who handles the website updates and maintenance? Many clients I work with have come to me frustrated because the person who built their site has disappeared off the face of the planet. Once I get into their site’s code, I see very quickly that what I pointed out above (under Skill Set) is confirmed. The site is built in a sloppy manner with poorly written code and design. If I had built the website, I wouldn’t want to be found either. Many website designers/developers like to work on projects and then move on. I get it, but a plan should be established for the transition of updating and maintaining the site after it launches. Kelli and I enjoy continuing the working relationships we have with our clients after the site launch, but if our maintenance list is full, then we always have options available to clients. It is very important to us that we don’t leave our clients “hanging.”Working PorfolioThe work speaks for itself. As a client, you want to see what a Website Designer/Developer has to offer. Do you like the work? Is it current? Make sure you take a look before you decide. Any Website Designer/Developer without a portfolio should be giving you a discount if they are building their portfolio or you should look elsewhere if a portfolio is missing…period.

 

Want more inforation: Check out this article from our friends at Sitepoint:
“Why Shoud I Choose You?”

As always, I really appreciate your comments and feedback. Please leave a comment below, send me a message through our contact page, or email me at mshane@mskdigitalmedia.com. If you like this post, please feel free to share it.

Until Next Week,

Matt