A large part of cultivating a sound online reputation requires a well-designed website, which in turn needs a good developer and finding the right WordPress developer is no easy task. When you’re shortlisting WordPress developers to design your site, what are the factors you should take into account? Some obvious ones include their industry experience, average cost, and project delivery time. Besides these, here are a few questions not everyone asks, but are worth considering before engaging a WordPress developer to build your website.
1 Are they planning to use an off the shelf WordPress theme or framework or create one from scratch?
While the answer to this question often depends on your choice, it’s important to get your developer’s input on this. If you want your website to stand out from the crowd, creating a new theme is obviously the way to go, or at the very least, customizing an existing one. Keep in mind that creating one from scratch will cost a lot more time and money, and if you’re pressed for either, you might want to consider using one of WordPress’s many pre-built themes.
Benefits of using an off the shelf theme:
- Faster – Save time and money, by reusing best practises that have already been built
- Higher Quality – Depending on the theme you choose, the quality can often be much higher due to the large numbers of people using the theme.
Disadvantages of using an off the shelf theme:
- Might look similar to other people’s sites, depending on how much customization is done
- Lack of flexibility
- Upfront cost (but this should be more than covered in savings from development time)
Here are some popular frameworks and themes that your developer might consider:
2 Will the website be mobile friendly (Responsive Design)?
Have you noticed how a lot of websites maintain a consistent user experience regardless of whether you access them from a desktop or a mobile device? This is, thanks to the rise of Responsive Design, a web design philosophy that is slowly becoming the de-facto protocol to designing websites that need to run on multiple platforms. If your target audience is one that would be accessing your website from a wide range of devices, then you should make sure it is mobile-responsive. Most default WordPress themes are responsive, so you should be fine there.
3 What WordPress plugins do they plan on integrating?
One of WordPress’s biggest selling points is its extensive support of third-party plugins, supported by an active community of WordPress developers who have created an extensive bank of plugins for other webmasters to use.
Ask your developer to provide a list of plugins they plan on using and for each one ask the following questions:
- What does that plugin do?
- Is there an alternative, and if so, which one is the best and why?
- Is there a paid for version, what benefits do we get and can it save us time?
While it might seem like a lot of upfront work, choosing the wrong plugin can cost you more in additional development time and website performance down the track. It’s also good that your WordPress developers consider all the options available to them.
Conversely, not using a plugin and coding everything from scratch will certainly cost you more and won’t bring the same rich feature set as you’re essentially reinventing the wheel.
4 What kind of WordPress security features do they plan on adding?
If you’re planning on starting a service or product-based business that requires having to store a lot of sensitive data online, then you need to ensure your website has a sound security mechanism to safeguard it from hackers and data thieves. WordPress does have its own security protocols that are applied on all websites by default but there are third party plugins such as WordFence, which can bring many additional security features.
In addition, a good WordPress Managed Hosting provider will take additional server side steps such as Web Application Firewalls (mod_security) and malware scanning to keep your site safe and available 24×7. ServerMule’s Managed WordPress Hosting service provides all this and much more.
5 Who is taking care of WordPress backups and where are they stored?
While most good Managed WordPress Hosting companies will provide a solid backup service, it’s always good to consider additional options. Better safe than sorry!
There are multiple plugins available that allow you to download full backups of your site, have them periodically set to you, or even back them up to your Google Drive, or AWS S3 storage.
Here are some of the popular options:
Make sure the option you choose suits your backup requirements, no matter how simple they may be.
6 Do they provide post-development support and maintenance?
A good Managed WordPress Host will provide WordPress and Plugin updates for you, however, it’s good to discuss with your deveuloper how maintenance on the site content will work, before engaging them.
It doesn’t matter what platform you pick to develop your website on, it will definitely need periodic maintenance and support. This includes refreshing the content, testing code for bugs/errors, updating plugins to their latest version, just to name a few. While you can always choose to do this on your own, you can ask your developer to include scheduled maintenance as an added service, especially if you’re not too tech savvy or you won’t have the time to do this.
These are just of the things you should consider when hiring a WordPress developer for your project. Let us know in the comments below if you have any other good suggestions or questions and we’ll happily update the article.
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