What Should You Ask Your WordPress Developer?

Wendy Kelly
Jun 02, 2016

So, how can you tell if you have a qualified WordPress developer or someone who's faking?

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When you are about to invest money in a new website, you want to make sure that the agency you have hired is capable and trustworthy. 

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Engaging an agency you trust, one that communicates well and knows their stuff can literally make or break the experience for you.

So, how can you tell if you have a qualified WordPress developer or someone who would like to lead you to believe they are?

Questions to Ask Your WordPress Developer

There are questions you can ask, and, if you listen carefully to the answers, you should be able to decide if the developer you have chosen can deliver what you need.

Will I be able to make updates?

The answer to this should be yes. Any developer who answers "No" should probably be questioned further. The developer should provide training to familiarize you with the CMS and explain how you can easily update and add content to your site. 

There may be instances where the developer feels that you need training, or may want to restrict access to certain areas of the site. This may be warranted. But a flat, "No" should be questioned.

How much experience do you have?

Ask how many years experience the developer has in PHP, JavaScript and MySQL. Ask for references and ask to look at previous work.

Make sure that you feel that the developer is able and willing to explain everything to you in a way that you understand. If not, go elsewhere. 

Many suggest at least three years experience with WordPress as a minimum. This number isn't written in stone, as the overall number of years developing should come into play as well. But do think about experience with the platform and experience developing with CMS platforms. 

May I see Your Portfolio?

Obviously, this should be a "Yes!" A good developer will be proud to show you their portfolio - ideally, it's on their site.

Without a solid portfolio, there is little reason for you to believe they can make a site for you. Someone has to be the first website, but if that's you, make sure you go in with eyes wide open.

How are you at Communicating with me?

Okay, so this one you don't actually ask the developer. But listen and make a rational judgement about their ability to communicate with you. There is some subjectivity here, too. Not everyone will communicate perfectly all the times, and some people genuinely just gel better than others. The developer doesn't have to be your best friend, but you do need to feel you can rely on quick response times, and that those responses are given with clarity.

How will you handle security?

Again, not sure if this is exactly how you want to ask this question. A solid WordPress developer is aware that WordPress is vulnerable to hacks. It is important to take several steps to ensure that your site stays secure. 

If you'd like to have an in-depth look at all the things a solid WordPress developer knows about how to secure your site, take a look at the WordPress Codex on the subject. If you ask your developer about any of these items, they should be able to speak about them intelligently and in a way that you can understand.

what will you do to optimize my site?

This covers both SEO and performance, which are intertwined. Just ask, and listen to their strategy on both of these fronts. There should be a solid strategy, and it should make sense to you. 

Be wary of any promises of immediate results as far as SEO goes. Listen for a plan that is knowledgeable and flexible to your needs. As far as performance goes, make sure the developer understands the importance of a lightening fast website that loads beautifully and quick on mobile as well as desktop.

can you explain your estimate to me?

Make sure that you receive a detailed, understandable estimate. If there are parts that you don't understand or feel are unnecessary, make sure that the developer is happy to explain them and change things if necessary.

Be willing to pay a portion upfront to initiate the project. This is standard in the industry. But make sure you are crystal clear about the project before you begin, and ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel good about the project before the work starts. 

What Have Your Experiences Been?

Have you had a wonderful experience with a WordPress Developer? Do you have a war story to share?

What are some things you wish you had asked, but didn't? 

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