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Any user - end customer - company looking for a developer for a website based on Wordpress, will find thousands of people offering services and self-proclaimed the "best" Wordpress developer in the market. Among them, it will be easy to find portfolios of websites that may visually impact their design, or even functionalities, and yet this will not guarantee that the developer is a professional in this area, while it is common to find quality developers questionable that they have created sites using templates and plugin, without knowing how to optimize them, bring with them a cycle of scalable and maintainable development for the medium and long term. For them we have written this article, to help neophytes how to identify a good Wordpress developer. Comments and constructive criticism with arguments are welcome in this post, because it probably bothers some "professionals".
The issue is that WordPress is one of the most popular CMS`s in the world and under which have developed a significant share of the billions of websites available on the Internet, therefore it is a job market to consider for any professional who is dedicated to web design, web development, systems and servers maintenance, online marketing and SEO professionals, among other professions or roles that are associated with the administration of Wordpress sites and probably many of these professionals are able to create a website based on Wordpress, but that does not mean that they can be considered "Wordpress developers".
Many of those who have self-proclaimed "experts" in WordPress are not able to create a plugin, design a custom design from a design in PSD or another format, and even and unfortunately, some are not even able to adequately follow the guidelines of Wordpress development when creating a site using a commercial template. This results in a series of problems for the end customers, and among them we frequently find scenarios such as:
The following offers an orientation about how a good Wordpress developer should be, from the technical point of view, but also some considerations to consider from the point of view of a service provider and even personal considerations.
In addition to the above, a Wordpress developer has solid knowledge in the Wordpress CODEX, which is the official documentation of Wordpress, and which describes each of the functions that make up the Wordpress core and development directives about how to do things in Wordpress.
The experience in Wordpress development is very important. Therefore, a Wordpress developer must be in a position to demonstrate the skills acquired in the sites he has programmed and in the projects in which he has participated. This demonstration, as I said above, has to go beyond showing an acceptable design. You must be able to justify what you have done within the projects in a specific way, such as layout from a design file to a Wordpress site, development of a plugin with X functionality, integration of a CRM or ERP to a WooCommerce-based site, etc. All this must also have been done with an impeccable code, secure, and adhering to the development guidelines of Wordpress.
Wordpress is an application that is kept under constant changes (literally every day changes occur in its core), and is under an eternal cycle of updates and maintenance. This also impacts the plugins and templates whose programmers must be able to follow the path to the core, adjusting to their changes and improving their functionalities.
That is why we must understand that for a user - end client without knowledge, to contract the development of a Wordpress site without maintenance supposes a high risk of loss of money and resources that have been invested during the development of the project and consequently a good Wordpress programmer must be able and willing to offer support and maintenance services in the short, medium and long term, precisely because it understands and recognizes that the life of a project is based on a correct maintenance cycle. Therefore, it has also maintained a strict adherence to the development guidelines during the programming of the website and its features, templates and plugins, since it depends on this that updating the Wordpress core, its plugins and templates is something viable and does not involve errors or loss of functionalities.
Maintaining contact with the community is something natural for a Wordpress developer. The form of contact can vary greatly from one to the other, but it is indispensable. Follow the important people of the community and whose decisions have an impact on the orientation of the Wordpress core, belong and participate in the official communication channels of Wordpress, such as the Slack rooms, the local WordCamp community, official newsletters and unofficial, subscription to blogs, etc. All of the above have as common to be ways that keep the good professional updated about what have been the last vulnerabilities found, the functions that have been added to the core, or depreciated from the same and in summary keep informed about the day to day in this world .
A good developer has faced countless situations and many of them, are familiar and repetitive. Therefore, it is able to provide a response and guidance in a simple and fast way for the majority of requirements that are usually presented to them throughout a project. He knows how to estimate development times with relative precision, offer explanations of pros and cons, warn problems and explain them in a language without technicalities, or with them, to be able to approach their objective.
Any experienced Wordpress developer has a portfolio of experiences that they can show to potential clients. However, we would say that some experience, technical knowledge and the history of each project in the portfolio is required to assess this in its proper measure.
Each element of a portfolio can be owned by the professional that holds it, or the result of a collective work (working with a multidisciplinary team and third parties). They can also carry their signature or that of a company for which they have worked. Sometimes an element of the portfolio may lose value, while the content managers may have used the tool outside of the intended use. (For example, a website where content editors have used bad photos or have entered texts improperly, and therefore generate an inappropriate result). In other cases, a project can have a positive and impressive appearance, and yet not be the result of the intervention made by the programmer, but the application of templates and plugins without the intervention of development skills.
We consider as essential the availability of a programmer when selecting it for a specific project. A good programmer, not only Wordpress, but in general a good service provider, is someone who is available under certain rules that are agreed upon previously. Therefore, working with a good Wordpress programmer, which is not available, or delays the answers with times beyond what is expected, generates problems for a project.
While SEO can be considered as a discipline and knowledge that is desirable in a programmer, but not necessary, in practice and in todays world, it is necessary for a Wordpress developer to execute the interventions without losing sight of key elements of SEO. The correct tagging, load times, performance of the application are elements that affect the return on investment of a project. Consequently, it is desirable to have the minimum knowledge necessary for any intervention by a developer.
It is not helpful that a professional can create new customized functions, create or modify plugins or create a new template, if the programmer is not able to offer the final client adequate documentation or training so that the people involved in the project can manage properly these tools, or that in their absence, is the necessary information available for a new programmer to return to work, just at the point where it left.
Finally, we consider that a good Wordpress developer maintains a positive attitude to any eventuality that arises in a project. So a good Wordpress developer is able to resolve incidents that arise in an entertaining way, without losing the good treatment of the client. This is mainly because he feels passion for the technologies he uses, always looking for the best possible result and excellence. Programming is not just a profession, it is a hobby that is carried out with passion. Talking about a technical topic is a pleasure for a good developer. Learning new technologies or the latest market trends is not an imposition, but a necessity incorporated in the personality. It is for all this that a good Wordpress developer will know how to help you with a smile and deal with technical difficulties without losing the patience necessary to solve them.