In a sea of developers all charging wildly different prices, how do you figure out if the developer you choose is going to do a good job?
The last thing you want is to go through the process of building a website for your business, and find out shortly after it’s got more holes in than Swiss cheese. Whilst your brand new website may look good on the surface, underneath the hood your website may be a ticking time bomb; just waiting to break on the next update of WordPress. This could be due to negligence, or just the simple fact the developer did not have enough experience to build the site the right way.
To avoid this happening to you, below are a few important questions to ask when hiring a developer.
1. Are you building a custom template or just buying a pre-built $50 theme?
I see this a lot, and I think it’s mainly due to budget constraints that developers choose to buy pre-built themes. Whilst they may look fine, and the developer may be able to customise it to suit your branding; you are really asking for trouble if you choose one of these themes. The main reason for this is, the original theme developer will pack so many scripts and bells and whistles into it to give the illusion of value.
‘Wow this theme has so much in it, it must be great – right?’
whilst you might think you are getting a lot for your money, packing in all this extra stuff you don’t need creates overheads and maintenance issues. This can, and mostly definitely will slow down your site, and even completely break your site if the developer doesn’t stay on top of keeping it all up to date.
There can also be security risks, if developers choose to package external plugins into their theme. The Revolution Slider plugin comes to mind, that was very popularly packed into hundreds of pre-built templates, had a vulnerability in it that allowed hackers to access and take control of the website. What’s worse the developer of this plugin chose not to disclose this risk and release patches silently. You can read more about this classic example of where using a plugin can go terribly wrong here: https://blog.sucuri.net/2014/09/slider-revolution-plugin-critical-vulnerability-being-exploited.html I would go as far as to say, that people who purchased themes back in 2014 are still running this vulnerable version of Revolution Slider and have no idea.
Once your developer has got your money, do they really care that they installed this plugin enough to come back and fix it? I think not, which brings me to the next question you need to ask…
2. What plugins are you installing on my website?
Using poorly coded plugins, and using plugins in excess is a recipe for disaster on a WordPress website. Most features or the website can be coded without the use of plugins. A lot of the plugins you can find on the WordPress website are made by developers in their spare time, and they may not have the time to keep them up to date. This poses a large security, and reliability issue for your website. For this reason its important to choose which plugins carefully.
Below are some of the plugins that I recommend installing
- Yoast SEO
- Wordfence or other security plugin
- Advanced Custom Fields
- Gravity Forms or Contact Form 7
Be very weary of a developer that has chosen to install a Page Builder plugin. The only reasons I can think of to do this would be if the budget does not allow a custom coded website, or the developer does not have the skills to properly code the website themselves.