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How to Hire a WordPress Developer

Whether you’re a business owner who wants in-house help with your WordPress website, or a small agency owner looking to expand your web development capabilities, it might be time to hire a WordPress developer.

In this article, we’ll show you what makes a great WordPress developer, where to find candidates, and how to make sure you choose the right WordPress developer for your project.

Building new websites and updating existing ones can be much easier with the help of an in-house specialist. Because WordPress developers know the ins and outs of WordPress specifically, they’re best equipped to help with whatever project you have in mind. 

However, not all WordPress developers have the same skills. WordPress is a vast and varied ecosystem, so finding the right person or people to help with your specific project will take a bit of work. 

Read on for a better understanding of what to look for when hiring a WordPress developer, including: 

  • What is a WordPress Developer? 
  • What Makes a Great WordPress Developer? 
  • Where to Look for a WordPress Developer 
  • How to Choose the Right WordPress Developer for your Project

What is a WordPress Developer?

A WordPress website has its own unique set of needs and challenges. A WordPress developer has specialized skills for the upkeep, maintenance, and development of sites on WordPress. 

While some developers may work with more than one content management system (CMS), WordPress-specific expertise is extremely helpful to anyone whose site is built with WordPress.

Because WordPress continues to be the most widely-used CMS for site owners and builders, there are plenty of WordPress development roles to be found, so the career outlook for WordPress developers is quite positive. Even with little to no formal education, working with WordPress is an accessible career to anyone interested in website development.

While many developers will have a “jack of all trades” attitude toward development, in which they want to own every aspect of a project, others prefer to specialize in certain aspects of WordPress development. These individuals may take on another title, such as software developer, user experience (UX) designer, WordPress plugin developer, full-stack developer, or user interface (UI) developer.

What Makes a Great WordPress Developer?

WordPress developers obviously have certain skills that will make them successful, and most of these involve a deep understanding of web design and construction. They will need to demonstrate knowledge of the WordPress ecosystem, but beyond that, there are a few other attributes you should look for in a great WordPress developer.

Attention to Detail
When writing code, even the smallest change or mistake can affect the look and function of a website. A good developer will demonstrate acute attention to detail right from the jump.

They’ll likely have tons of questions about your business, your goals, your brand standards, and your desires with your new website. Spare no detail in these early meetings, because the information you divulge will be very important to your developer as they begin planning and building your site.

A Proven Track Record

The best way to see what you can expect from working with a developer or agency is to check out their portfolio. 

A developer’s past projects will show you what they can provide from a design perspective, prove their familiarity with WordPress and important associated disciplines (like HTML, PHP, CSS, JavaScript, etc), and will hopefully include important metrics about how the sites they have built helped other customers reach their goals—whether it was growing an audience, selling more products, or something else entirely.

Realistic Pricing

Lowball pricing will often (not always, but often) result in a lower quality of work. Extremely low, too-good-to-be-true pricing is often the result of outsourced work. While it’s tempting to save a little money at the onset of a project, that decision may end up costing you more in updates and rewrites down the line. 

Look for a WordPress developer whose pricing structure makes sense, both for your bottom line and the quality of work you expect. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” 

Effective Communication

The ability to communicate effectively is important in most professions, but when you’re looking to hire a dedicated WordPress developer for your project, effective communication can make all the difference. 

When you’re able to communicate your needs and be heard by your developer, it can help speed up production, keep your costs lower, and keep both your budget and the scope of your project in line. For that reason, it’s extremely important to agree on a reasonable scope of work, provide as much information as possible at the onset of a project, and remain in close contact throughout the process. 

Professional Certifications

Because there are no rules about who can work on a WordPress site or how to become a developer (in fact, some of the best developers are self-taught), there isn’t a single course or certification your WordPress developer needs to have. 

However, there are plenty of online courses and certificates available to WordPress professionals, so a developer having completed one or more of these educational courses can be a good indicator that they take their work seriously and are invested in continued learning.

For example, a developer might showcase their proficiencies in various coding languages by completing courses in PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Or, they may be active contributors to WordPress core or Make WordPress Training, highlighting a close familiarity with the specific features, code, and configurations behind a well-built (and well-maintained) WordPress site. 

Where To Look for a WordPress Developer

Because there are so many developers and agencies that specialize in WordPress, you have a ton of options at your disposal when trying to find a partner for your project. The following are a few of the most trustworthy places to find and hire a dedicated WordPress developer.

WordPress Jobs

This is the official WordPress jobs page. Create your listing, and once it’s been verified as a WordPress-related job, it will remain active for 21 days. Make sure to mark your listing with important tags so developers understand exactly what you need help with. Popular tags include design, development, WordPress plugin development, WordPress theme customization, and migration.

WP Engine Agency Partner Directory

The WP Engine Agency Partner Directory is a free resource that’s full of amazing WordPress aficionados who can help improve your site. Simply enter some quick terms in the search bars to indicate the type of project, your approximate budget, and your region, and you’ll find multiple trusted partners that fit your parameters and have WordPress-specific expertise.

Smashing Jobs

Smashing Magazine is regarded as one of the best web development publications in the world, and it’s full of high-quality WordPress content. So, it only makes sense that Smashing Jobs is a popular place to find high-quality developers. You’ll have to pay an upfront cost to post your job listing ($225 for a full-time position, $75 for a freelance job), but your post will remain active for 60 days and be reviewed by some of the best WordPress developers around.

WPhired

One of the first WordPress job boards, WPhired was launched in 2010. Since then, it has helped connect millions of developers with the sites and small business owners that need their help. Best of all, it’s completely free to post your listing!

Freelance Job Boards

Freelance job boards like Upwork, Freelancer.com, and Fiverr are also great places to get started because they often come with a lower cost and barrier to entry. These freelance finder sites are perfect for SMBs with smaller sites that could use the help of a freelance WordPress developer. 

How to Choose the Right WordPress Developer

Not every developer or team will be a good fit for you. Use these tips to identify a partner that’s perfect for your needs. 

Prepare a Project Brief

A project brief is a document that outlines all your needs. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should include all the tasks that you need and want to be completed. Make sure to include even things that may not seem like a large undertaking. Unless you’re well-versed in WordPress, you won’t know how much work can go into the “simplest” of updates.

Start Small

If you’re unsure about working with a new developer, start with a small project. Have your new developer update just one page or one aspect of your site, and see how you communicate and work together. If it’s a good fit, you can continue your working relationship. In the event that the project doesn’t go well, you will have saved yourself some trouble on more robust projects.

Review Your Contract Well

Most developers will have a contract for you to sign—this is a good thing. It allows you to define all the little details of your project, and it helps keep everyone on the same page. Make sure to review your contract closely so you know what you can and can’t ask from your developer during the project.

Keep in Contact

Even after your project is over, a good WordPress developer is an invaluable resource for anyone with a WordPress website. If you have built a solid relationship with the developer you hired, consider hiring them on a retainer to complete continued maintenance and updates so your site stays fully operational. Even if you decide not to keep them around for regular maintenance, you’ll want to hold onto their contact information in case you need further assistance down the road.

Start the Search for Your Perfect WordPress Partner

WordPress is a unique and powerful ecosystem for websites, and the developers who work with WordPress are some of the most knowledgeable experts in the industry. Finding and hiring the right WordPress developer can make your website construction or maintenance much more manageable.


Check out some of our Agency Partners to find experts that can help improve the design and function of your WordPress site!

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