Care and Feeding of a Web Developer
This article is part of Care and Feeding of a Web Developer, a series on finding the right developer for your web project.full course
- How to Find a WordPress Plugin Developer
- What to Look For in a Web Developer
- Cut Your Web Development Costs by Making Your Developer Happy
Now that that we’ve taken a look at WordPress plugins, including how to install them, where to find them, and some scenarios when an existing plugin might not be the best option, it’s time to explore the different options for finding a developer who can create a bespoke plugin for your website.
Why You’d Need a WordPress Plugin Developer
As our last post mentioned, while there are a vast number of existing plugins out there, there are a few reasons why you might be better off seeking a WordPress plugin developer to add a specific feature to your site. If no one has developed a plugin covering the feature you wish to add to your site, or they’ve just not done it in a suitable way for your project, working with a WordPress developer can be an effective way to solve your problem.
Where to Find a WordPress Plugin Developer
You have a few options for finding someone who can help you add a certain feature to your WordPress website.
Post a Job Advertisement
If you have a good understanding of the feature you wish to add to your site and how it should function, as well as how it should be implemented, then posting a job description on a freelancing website might be a good choice.
There are a number of kinds of job boards for WordPress developers, and they vary in cost and quality:
- Freelancing websites, like oDesk and Elance, will help you find extremely low-cost work, but the quality can be a grab bag. Freelancers on these boards are from all over the world and have widely divergent communication styles (potentially including language barriers), technical abilities, and personal standards for the work they do. However, if you know what you’re doing—know how to hire, how to project manage, and ideally have some idea how to distinguish good code from bad—you can get to a good result for very cheap.
- The “hiring” sections of WordPress-oriented social networks, like the WordPress groups on LinkedIn and Reddit, will attract more professional developers, who likely do WordPress development for a living. Quality will still be variable within this group, as some people will be just starting out, and others significantly more experienced. You can expect higher general quality standards and a higher price if you hire from this group.
- The job boards of local WordPress groups, like the Boston WordPress Meetup group, will tend to attract fairly experienced professional WordPress developers. The benefit of going this route is that you can work with someone right in your area, and that your developer has the most incentive to produce a high-quality result. This method is likely to be the most costly on average, since you won’t find quite as many freelancers who are just starting out or doing it as a side business.
Posting a job advertisement or specification on a freelancing website is probably the quickest and easiest way to get in touch with a large pool of developers. However, when writing the job specification, it’s vital that you are able to convey to the applicants exactly what you want.
As most job postings receive a deluge of applications, including some from those who haven’t even properly read the job specification, it is also important that you are able to understand the proposals you receive, in order to determine if the developer understands your needs and has the knowledge, experience, and ability to complete the task in the most efficient way. If you don’t get this right, you could end up with something that doesn’t meet your needs or work in the way you expected, wasting both your valuable time and money.
Approach a Developer Directly
Another option is to reach out to developers directly via their websites in order to discuss your needs. A quick Google search for “WordPress plugin developers” should unearth plenty of leads. This approach might take more legwork initially, but by spending some time researching the potential choices, you can take a more proactive role in the hiring process, and hopefully connect with someone who is a better fit for the job.
By viewing the portfolios and testimonials on their websites, you can draw up a shortlist before you’ve even written the full detailed specification for your plugin. This can be a better way of finding the right developer, as you can contact them and see how responsive they are to your needs, rather than posting up a job description on a freelance website and then filtering through the applications, hoping that both you and the developer are on the same page.
Choosing the Right Developer from Your Candidates
Hiring a developer is an intricate process: as a client, you’ll want to look for a lot of qualities in your developer, and there are a number of things to make sure to do correctly yourself. Read up a bit on how to find a development team that takes the right approach and how to get developers excited about your project.
The very short version is that you’ll want a developer who:
- Is reliable, respectful, and fun to work with
- Focuses on what need you’re trying to solve—not just what specific features you’re requesting—and partners with you to meet that need in the best way possible
- Fits within your budget
If you can find someone who meets these criteria, you’re good to go!
If you’ve discovered that the selection of existing WordPress plugins don’t cover your needs, then hopefully you are now better placed to start thinking about working with a developer to create a custom plugin.
While there are plenty of WordPress developers to choose from, the more you can do to convey to the potential candidates your requirements, as well as taking a more proactive role in seeking them out, the better chance you will have of getting the intended results.