In many ways, WordPress is the hidden engine behind the internet as we know it today. As the most popular content management system today, it powers almost 75 million websites or 25 percent of the internet.
This type of popularity comes with good reason. Building a website on WordPress allows businesses and individuals alike to express their brand vision and pursue their marketing goals, without breaking the bank. That is, of course, as long as they can build their website right.
There’s a decent chance that your company doesn’t have the extensive expertise required to build an effective and beautiful website. So you’re looking at platforms and WordPress seems like a natural fit. Still, you have to find a WordPress development partner who can actually help you develop that best version of your website. As you’re evaluating potential agency partners, ask these 12 questions to feel confident in your choice and maximize your chances of developing that best version of your online presence.
1) How Much Experience Do You Have in WordPress?
First, you need to establish an experience baseline. Not every website coder will also be a WordPress developer. Limit your selection only to agencies that actually have expertise in this specific medium. Length of experience obviously matters, but pay special attention to more recent projects that account for current website trends. Generally, you can find most of this information on the agency’s WordPress development services page.
2) Can You Share Samples of Past Projects Like Mine?
This question adds to the first. Website samples allow you to judge the expertise and relevance of a potential WordPress development partner for yourself. Ideally, these samples come in a type of case study that outlines the entire project process, not just the end result. The more closely related the project is to your own in terms of industry, company size, etc., the better.
3) Do You Have Any References of Past and Current Clients?
Especially for larger projects of more comprehensive company websites, this question adds vital third-party credibility to your WordPress development partner selection. If and when you get client references, ask them about their experience with this agency. How responsive was the web development partner? Did the client experience any hidden costs not mentioned in the pricing model?
4) What Do You Need From Me to Get Started?
If you were to sign the contract and kick off, how much does the agency need from you to start the development process? In this process, more is actually better. You want to work with a partner that doesn’t just develop a site without considering your unique situation. A partner that asks questions and wants to understand both your business goals and your audience will be more likely to actually develop an online presence suited to your needs.
5) Will You Customize a Template or Code From Scratch?
With WordPress, both are possible, and both come with their own set of benefits and disadvantages. For instance, customizing an existing template is often quicker and less expensive, but coding from scratch builds the website more uniquely for your needs. Which of the two works best for you depends entirely on your needs.
6) What Does a Potential Project Timeline Look Like?
As you evaluate potential partners, be sure to understand the time commitments and timeline expected from both sides of that partnership. Ask how long the development process will take, along with individual milestones. These milestones may include initial data collection, concept development, first complete draft, final handoff, and many steps in between.
7) How Do You Handle Feedback and Other Touch Points?
Naturally, you need to come out of the process with a website that actually suits your needs. That’s why, as early as possible, you should aim to understand how your WordPress agency manages feedback. Ask about their preferred means of communication, whether there will be regular check-ins, and how active the feedback loop will be to gather your input.
8) How Will You Keep My Website Secure?
WordPress might just have the biggest delta of all major CMS platforms when it comes to cybersecurity. It’s customization possibilities mean that an experienced developer can build a secure platform for any type of business. But its popularity also means that, when the developer ignores security, your site is more vulnerable than it might be on other platforms. Ask this question to make sure the development process includes a conscious step to maximize security for your online presence.
9) Does the Development Include SEO and Responsive Design?
Mobile internet usage has long surpassed its desktop counterpart. Will your new website account for that fact? The answer might depend on the WordPress development partner you choose. Look for an agency partner who emphasizes mobile friendliness in the form of responsive design. In addition, make sure that your website includes at least basic search engine optimization capabilities to help your company get found through Google, Bing, and related websites.
10) What Does the Finished Project Handoff Look Like?
At some point, the project will be complete. What happens then? Ask this question to make sure you understand exactly what type of access you will get to your new website. That includes administrator access to the website itself, as well as DNP, FTP, and database access. Ideally, your WordPress development partner should walk you through the process of managing your website step by step during the handoff process.
11) How Do You Model Your Pricing Structure?
Naturally, pricing is a core component of choosing the right agency partner. Any WordPress agency you choose actually has to develop a website within your budget. Here, it makes sense to understand just how the partner will charge. Are you looking at a one-time project fee, or will you pay by the hour/day of development? The more clear you are on these points, the less likely you will be to bust through your budgeted resources.
12) What About Future Updates, Changes, and Fixes?
Finally, look for partners who don’t treat their clients as one-time projects. A website, in essence, is never a finished project. The site will need to be updated regularly, while small and large fixes may need to be put in place periodically. A business rebranding or expansion could also require the need for further development. Ask about the potential of continuing or renewing the partnership in the future, should you need to do so.
When it comes to your website, finding the right WordPress development partner is half the battle. The above 12 questions help you accomplish that feat, ensuring that the final outcome of your project will be a success that accurately represents your company online and accomplishes your core business goals.