So you’ve decided to build your online presence by developing a website on WordPress. Good choice! The many benefits of the platform speak for themselves. But of course, you can only realize these benefits if you go about the process the right way.
That process has to start with finding a reliable partner. Unless you plan to build the entire website in-house, the success of your online presence will rise and fall with the developer you choose.
Fortunately, you can be strategic about that process. It pays to ask the right questions. But as you begin to evaluate alternatives, look for these 5 must-have characteristics that any custom WordPress developer should possess. A partner with these skills will increase your chance of a successful business website dramatically.
1) Deep Expertise in WordPress Development
First things first: any developer on the platform needs to have extensive WordPress development expertise. It’s not enough to simply go with a developer who might have experience in other platforms, but no dedicated expertise on this one.
Again, you will probably find developers who possess all of the above coding skills but don’t have dedicated WordPress expertise. That could also be problematic. At the very least, it extends your project timeline as the developer learns the environment on which your site will live. At worst, it significantly decreases the quality of the final output because your developer builds a website that would perform better on another platform.
2) Knowledge of the Entire WordPress Ecosystem
WordPress is so popular for business around the world in part because of its malleability. Through thousands of plugins and integration, you can build an entire custom website that integrates seamlessly into your business operations and digital initiatives. But again, getting to that point requires expertise.
Simply knowing how to code on the platform is not enough. To be worth their salt, any custom developer you work with should also have experience and expertise in the entire WordPress ecosystem.
That means two things. First, look for a developer who has extensive knowledge of existing plugins and integration. That knowledge will help you find those that work best for your website and business goals, without cluttering up your infrastructure with questionable quality. Second, your development partner should also be able to develop custom plugins and integrations specifically for your needs. If it doesn’t exist already, they should be able to build it.
3) Design Experience or Easy Access to High-Quality Design
Website development is largely dependent on the back end of the website; the foundation, built on code and style sheets. But all that code means little if it is not supporting, and closely integrated with, the front-facing design of your online presence.
Don’t look for a custom WordPress developer to build the foundation, then turn around and find a designer for the visuals. Instead, find a partner who can accomplish, and integrate, both. Ideally, that design experience should exist in-house, allowing your development partner to build both front end and back end in a single, unified project.
If that is not possible, find a developer who at least has an existing relationship with a high-quality web designer. That relationship will enable them to build a facsimile of the scenario described above: a single, streamlined project that leads to closely integrated design and back end, both functioning well together from a user’s perspective.
4) Excellent Communication Skills
Don’t underestimate the importance of communication in your web development process. Yes, technical skills are crucial to the successful build of your online presence. But without the right communication, those technical skills can quickly go to waste as you get a great website that is over time, or fails to meet your business goals.
You don’t just need a developer; you need a partner. That partner should be willing and able to share concise progress reports, ask pertinent questions, and involve you in the testing process. They should also be able to take your feedback and apply it to their process and design. None of that is possible without the ability to communicate professionally and productively.
These communication skills matter especially when looking for a custom WordPress developers around the globe. Often, you will find options that might be cheap, but are not native English speaker. While there are exceptions to this rule, it tends to make sense to avoid them. Non-native speakers can simply not communicate well enough with you to actually build a website that aligns with your business goals and needs.
5) Genuine Interest in a Partnership With Your Business
Finally, look for a developer who is out for more than just the quick buck. They should be able to take a genuine interest in your business, helping you define your website needs and building an online presence that meets these needs.
They’re the WordPress expert, and they know the platform better than you. But they can only make relevant recommendations for changes and improvements if they actually know your business well. And of course, they will only know your business well if they take an interest in it beyond the scope of the project they’re working on.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this characteristics even after your website is complete. Almost always, WordPress development is about more than just the initial project. Your website is not static, but iterative. It’s a breathing presence that needs updates, periodic bug fixes, and more. Only a custom WordPress developer who takes a genuine interest in your business will be worth partnering with after the completion of the project to keep your website good and make it even better over time.
No WordPress developer is created equal. But only the best share these characteristics, which make them a perfect fit for the website needs of your business. If you come out of your evaluation with at least one candidate who shares all five of the above skills, you can rest easy knowing that your web development project is in good hands.