As a blogger, you’re quite a multi-faceted person! Writing, editing, marketing, design – these are all basic skills a successful blogger needs.
And as a WordPress user, you probably even have a bit of coding knowledge under your belt as well.
…most of the time.
But if you’ve been blogging long enough, you’re going to come across a roadblock sooner or later.
Maybe your code changes didn’t work as you expected and you ended up with error messages, weird formatting, or even a blank white screen. Or maybe you just can’t figure out exactly how to make the changes you need… or you have a big project in mind and you have no idea where to start.
In those cases, it’s probably time to consider hiring a professional WordPress developer.
When would you need a professional developer?
WordPress makes it easy to do all sorts of changes on your own, but you should consider hiring a WordPress developer if:
- You can’t figure out how to get WordPress to do exactly what you want
- You want to customize your theme in a specific way but aren’t sure how
- You want a custom plugin that doesn’t exist
- You just don’t have the time to figure out how to make the changes you want
- You want to make big changes but don’t want to risk breaking your site
As a blogger it’s so tempting to try to do everything yourself, and given enough time, you could probably deal with all those situations on your own.
But if it takes hours of research and trial and error, is it really worth it?
As a blogger, your time is your most valuable asset. It’s often worth hiring someone to do a professional job so you can focus on higher-level strategy and spend your time on what you’re best at.
How to find a professional WordPress developer to hire
Hiring a WordPress developer can be a daunting task, so it helps to break it down into a few steps. Here’s how you can get started.
Step 1: Plan your project
Before you begin looking for developers, you need to know what you’re looking for!
You can do this by outlining your project in detail first. Create a document that details exactly what you need to happen, what the end result should be, and when you need it done.
Now, create a separate list of developer requirements based on your project. For example, if you need a custom plugin built, you might decide you want to hire a developer who specializes in WordPress plugin development. Or, if you prefer to work together in-person, you might decide you need to hire someone local.
Step 2: Set a budget
Before finding a developer, it’s smart to set a budget for your project.
This step seems counter-intuitive, especially if you have no idea how much your project would charge. You might think it would be better to contact developers first, to get an idea of what they’re charging.
But the truth is, there is no “going rate” for freelance work. Pricing can be all over the place, and each developer will have different rates and pricing structures.
And even if you have no idea how much your project might cost, you do know how much you can afford to spend on it.
By setting a budget initially, you’ll save time by narrowing down your options by price, and ruling out developers who are way out of your budget. If you’re able to let developers know up front how much you can spend, they may be able to work with you to find a solution that fits your budget. If needed, you can always revise your budget after gathering more information.
Step 3: Find developers
Finding a freelance developer that’s skilled, reliable, available, and can work within your budget is always a challenge.
You can start by compiling a list or spreadsheet of potential developers for you to contact.
A Google search is an obvious first step. But googling “WordPress developer” will get you millions of results, many irrelevant to you. Try narrowing it down by location or specialty. For instance, you might try searching for “new york freelance wordpress developer,” “wordpress plugin developer for hire,” or “wordpress thesis developer.”
And Google’s not your only option. You can also try:
- LinkedIn: Use the advanced search to find people with “WordPress developer” in their current job title. You can narrow it down further by adding “freelance” or “for hire” in the keyword field. By default, it will prioritize people in the results who are already connected to you, or in your geographical location.
- Twitter: Surprisingly, Twitter is a useful platform to find professionals as well. Just search for “freelance WordPress developer” or related terms and you’ll find a ton.
- Blog posts & comments: This method can be hit-or-miss, but if you read blogs about WordPress, try checking out the comments to find developers. You can also check out who wrote the article itself and see if they’re available for hire.
- WordPress Framework Blogs & Communities: If you use a framework like Thesis, or get your themes from a studio like Elegant Themes, try checking out their blogs or specific communities to find a developer with the specific experience to help you.
- Bidding sites: I actually don’t recommend sites like Upwork and the like because they tend to be a bidding race to the bottom, and the end result tends to be low quality. You might get lucky and find someone cheap on one of these sites who doesn’t know their own value, but why take the risk?
Make sure each developer meets your list of requirements, and be sure to review their portfolio to see if they’ve done similar work in the past.
Besides their portfolio, you can also check out their:
- Testimonials: Make sure to verify testimonials and/or ask to speak with references, since they can be easy to fake.
- Social media: Do they behave professionally on social media?
- Communication style: Do they answer your emails promptly, politely, and professionally?
Step 4: Choose which developer to hire
Next, you’ll start contacting developers to see if they’re a good fit.
Write a short message that outlines the basics of your project and your requirements, and send it to each developer to ask for a quote. (They may answer right back with a quote, or ask you for more details.)
From their responses (or lack thereof), you should be able to narrow it down to a few choices. If you’re still not sure, go with your gut! Start with a small project to establish trust and make sure you work well together, then move on to your big project.
If everything works out, you could have an ongoing relationship with a developer who can help with all your WordPress needs.
Hiring a developer for your WordPress site can be tricky when you first start out, but by planning your project ahead, sticking to budget and carefully vetting developers, you’ll come out ahead.