If you have a WordPress website, do you also need a WordPress developer?
The answer depends on your business needs, goals, and budget. In this guide, we’ll help you understand what a WordPress developer does, the pros and cons of working with one, and whether it makes sense to do so. We’ll also highlight our WordPress service, Websites Built By WordPress.com, which allows you to work with a WordPress expert to develop the website of your dreams. But keep that one in your back pocket. We’ll discuss more about that service at the end of this post.
To start, let’s discuss what a WordPress developer is and why you may need one.
Why Do You Need a WordPress Developer?
Whether you use self-hosted WordPress as your content management system (CMS) of choice, or if you decide to sign up for a WordPress.com account, you have access to potentially thousands of pre-built website templates, known as themes. With so many great themes already, does it actually make sense to hire your own developer? Or is that overkill?
Hiring a WordPress developer is a good idea for many businesses. For example, a developer will help you create a unique experience or add specific functionality to your site.
A WordPress developer is an expert in all-things-WordPress, although many developers specialize in a specific area of WordPress.
There are developers who focus on the front-end, which is the part of your website that your visitors see. This includes design, colors, fonts, and more. These developers can bring your ideas to life on the page.
Then there are developers who specialize in the back-end of your website. The back-end usually refers to the functionality of your site and includes plugins. A plugin is like a tiny app that works in the background and performs a specialized set of tasks. There are plugins for everything from contact forms to search engine optimization (SEO). At last count, there are over 59,000 plugins available in the WordPress Plugin Repository, and all of them were created by WordPress developers.
Finally, there are WordPress developers who do it all—front-end and back-end. Which type of developer you choose will depend on your specific business needs. If you’re looking to create a unique experience and can’t replicate that with an existing theme or plugin, you need a WordPress developer to make it happen. But that’s not the only reason to hire a WordPress developer. Let’s now discuss some of the benefits of hiring a developer.
What are the Benefits of Working With a Professional WordPress Developer?
Let’s examine why you may want to hire a WordPress developer.
Customize Your Site
A WordPress developer can bring your ideas to life with a little bit of code and a lot of know-how. Developers are problem-solvers. They’ll help you execute the exact vision that you have for your website.
Improve the Functionality of Your Site
If you like the look of your site, but want to improve the way that it functions, your WordPress developer can help with that, too. If you hire a professional and experienced developer, you can trust that their code is solid, lean, and built for speed.
Secure Your Site
No one wants their website to get hacked, but it happens. Unfortunately, if you wander off of WordPress.com or WordPress.org in search of a free theme, you can encounter poorly coded themes that make it easy to get hacked. One way to safeguard your website from cyber attacks is to work with a WordPress developer. This developer can ensure that your code is clean and without any holes that make you vulnerable to attack.
Stand Out From the Crowd
Sometimes, you just want a unique, one-of-a-kind WordPress website. If so, work with a WordPress developer to create a site that has no near-twinsies.
Free Up Your Time
There are over 9,000 themes in the WordPress theme repository alone. That number doesn’t include all of the other themes that are hosted outside of WordPress, for example on Theme Forest or Creative Market. With so many WordPress themes, you could easily get overwhelmed.
However, when working with a developer, you can explain exactly what you want and let them build it. They may work from a pre-existing template and build onto it, or create completely from scratch. Giving them the task to produce your vision will free you up. With a developer, there’s no need to spend endless hours demo-ing different themes.
Get Access to an Expert
A WordPress developer is an expert in all things WordPress. They can ensure that your WordPress website is running on the latest security updates. If you encounter a bug with your site, your developer can troubleshoot the problem and solve it. Also, you can enter into a work agreement with your developer so that they provide ongoing monthly maintenance support for your website. Additionally, your developer may help you set up analytic systems that allow you to track website activity and top traffic referrers.
What are the Top Considerations to Working With a Professional WordPress Developer?
What are the top things to factor in before hiring a WordPress developer?
Working with a WordPress developer is more expensive than using a pre-built theme or plugin, especially since these may be available for free. Depending on your needs, a WordPress developer may charge anywhere from $15 to $150 an hour and up. But be careful to not automatically go with the lowest price because you often get what you pay for.
Your Design Needs
If you don’t need an elaborate site and are happy with what’s presently available in the theme repository, there’s no need to hire a WordPress developer.
Working with a WordPress developer will add extra time to your project, especially if your design is more complicated. The development process is considerably longer than finding, downloading, and then installing a theme, which can be done in less than five minutes.
Your Ability to Source a Qualified Developer
It can be hard to find a quality WordPress developer. You can find a WordPress developer on a freelancing marketplace, but that can be risky. You may end up with an inexperienced developer who’ll give you more headaches than you bargained for.
What Questions Should You Ask Before Hiring a WordPress Developer?
Here’s a list of questions to ask a developer before hiring them for your project:
How much do you charge?
Find out from the start how much the WordPress developer will charge to successfully complete your project.
How do you prefer to be paid?
Ask the developer if they’d prefer to be paid hourly or on a flat rate. If hourly, ask them to estimate how long it should take to complete your project.
Do you have previous work that I can view?
Take a look at what they’ve done in the past. Check specifically that their work loads quickly, looks professional, and is easy to navigate.
What is your level of experience?
Find out if the developer has experience in the type of project that you need help with. While everyone has to start somewhere, you probably don’t want to be the test subject. The developer should at least have a private project that demonstrates their ability to complete the task you’re hiring them to do.
Do you have references?
Ask for references and then check those references.
What type of communication do you prefer?
Find out what communication method they prefer (email, text, Slack channel, etc.) and how often they will stay in touch.
What Are the Best Practices for Working With a WordPress Developer?
Here’s what to do when working with a WordPress developer.
Be Prepared to Answer Questions
Any WordPress developer will have questions before taking on your project, such as:
- What is the scope of your project?
- What is the intended outcome of your project—Educate visitors, sell a product, grow a community, etc.?
- What pages would you like on your site?
- How would you like your site to function? Would you like for visitors to sign up for your email newsletter, use a specific payment gateway, be able to leave reviews on your shop, etc.?
- What is your time frame for completion?
- What is your budget for this project?
Put It In Writing
When you work with a WordPress developer, put everything into writing (i.e., create a written contract). This should document your agreed-upon price, scope, timeline, milestones, and deliverables.
How Do You Find a Quality WordPress Developer?
As mentioned above, one of the most challenging parts of the process is finding a WordPress developer you can trust. There are developers-a-plenty, but not all developers will be able to deliver professional results. When you’re paying for a quality product, you shouldn’t settle for less.
When it comes to developing your WordPress.com website, you should seriously consider working with the team at WordPress.com. Our team of experts can turn your website ideas into reality. Whether you want to build a shop, portfolio, educational platform, or more, our WordPress developers can make it happen. Learn more about Websites Built By WordPress.com here.
Working with a WordPress developer is a smart move if you want to create a unique experience for your visitors. Whether you want a fresh design or added functionality, lean on the expertise of WordPress professionals to bring your ideas to life.