Where and How to Hire a WordPress Developer
By Brian Jackson, Updated: June 9, 2017
Finding a skilled and professional WordPress developer can truly be a long, grueling, and daunting task. There are literally hundreds of sites out there with millions of members, all fighting for projects and undercutting each other’s prices. The problem is that a lot of these gladiators are nowhere near ready for the arena. Many sites don’t actually take the time to vet their providers, instead opting to let natural selection (ratings and reviews) cull the weakest members through time. This translates to a bad user experience for many customers who become frustrated and quickly lose faith in the development process. It can also be quite costly, as some have to try multiple developers before finding one they are confident they can work with.
Thankfully, there are several platforms out there that do take measures to make the hiring experience better for their users and actually attract professional talent to their sites. In this article, we’ll look at eight great sources and finish with some tips on how to find and hire the best WordPress developers.
Trusted Sources to Find and Hire WordPress Developers
Here at Kinsta we focus 24×7 on providing high-performance managed WordPress hosting services. And while we have highly skilled developers on our team, we don’t provide custom development services. The list below are trusted sources that we have personally compiled to help save you time, money, and frustration from dealing with sub-par WordPress developers. In fact, we refer clients to these sources as well.
- WordPress Jobs
- Smashing Jobs
- WPMU Dev Pros
- Stack Overflow Careers
- Mode Effect
WordPress Jobs is the official WordPress jobs listing page (though somewhat confusingly hosted at the WordPress.net domain). They review every post before accepting it and listings remain active for 21 days. Only WordPress-related jobs make it onto the board. Jobs include various categories such as development, design, performance, plugin development, theme customization, migrations, and more.
While the occasional low-effort job posting does slide through on the WordPress job board, you’ll usually only see serious projects and full-time positions offered here, two factors which naturally attract a higher quality of applicant. All in all, it’s a great place to begin searching for your developer.
Renowned as one of the most popular and high-quality web development publications on the internet, Smashing Magazine also runs Smashing Jobs. Listings here are paid – $225 for listing full-time positions and $75 for freelance gigs – which helps keep overall quality high. The jobs remain active for 60 days, and if you are a non-profit they also have discounts. Their main site gets over 4 million monthly users, so you can ensure there will be a large audience seeing the job board.
Smashing Jobs also has a reputation for being used by several big-name companies such as Amazon, Electronic Arts, Tesla Motors, MIT, Activision, etc. and has a solid track record in attracting top development talent.
Codeable is dedicated to providing WordPress outsourcing services and focuses entirely on matching talented developers with clients. It also offers a range of options for handling the payment side of projects. We had the pleasure of interviewing Per Esbensen, the CEO of Codeable, and it’s refreshing to see their dedication to building a community of WordPress developers.
Developers are pre-screened before being allowed to join the service with Codeable staff personally reviewing portfolios and CVs. They have over 25,000 clients and only 300 WordPress experts. Only 2% of applicants are accepted. That should tell you right there just how selective they are when it comes to the developers they allow on their platform. They only want the best of the best, which in turn can save you a lot of time and frustration as a customer.
The WPMU DEV Pros jobs board keeps quality high by requiring that developers pay a monthly fee ($49/month) in order to be listed. This simple barrier to entry tends to naturally weed out non-serious applicants.
Each developer has a private profile where you can check out their list of skills, reviews of past work, and reputation points (earned for being helpful around the WPMU DEV community generally).
Toptal advertises itself as the place to go if you’re looking to hire from “the top 3% of freelance talent”. Its intensive developer pre-screening is aimed at backing up that claim. They are similiar to Codeable, but they also cover all development areas, not just WordPress. The cost for recruiting someone is a $500 deposit, which can be applied to your first bill when you find suitable WordPress developer.
New members are required to go through a standard interview with a recruiter, followed by a timed algorithmic challenge. They are then faced with another challenge while a senior developer reviews their work. Finally, they are asked to complete a test project. Toptal has worked with many big name brands such as airbnb, HP, J.P. Morgan, and Zendesk.
A godsend for developers worldwide, Stack Overflow is the first port of call for many daily technical questions. It’s only natural then that they’d offer a solution for matching employers with developers in the the form of Stack Overflow Careers. If you are looking for a cheap way to find a developer, this is not the place. This is for companies and enterprises serious about finding the top talent. The cost for accessing their candidate search board starts at $2,499 (annual payment).
As an employer, you can reach developers either through individual job postings, creating a company page to attract applications, or simply searching developer profiles for a candidate with the right skill set. The main Stack Overflow site gets over 50 million unique visitors per month, and job listings are shown throughout the site (even on the sidebar). This ensures that your listing gets seen by a global audience daily.
ClickWP specializes in providing reliable support for individuals and businesses using WordPress. Some of their services include monthly plans and on-demand tasks for website setup, theme customization, malware or hack repair, backups, WordPress migrations, and more. If you need some basic development work such as configuring a plugin, customizing your WordPress theme, or tweaks to your CSS, ClickWP can be a very cost effective and quick solution.
ClickWP is headed by David Wang, a blogger and marketer with 10 years of experience with WordPress. If you need some basic development tasks done and don’t want to hassle with finding a developer, we recommend reaching out to them to see how they can help. If you have more complex development tasks, any of the other six sources mentioned above are also great.
Mode Effect, founded by Cody and Raquel Landefeld in 2010, creates web development solutions for e-commerce stores and enterprise companies. They specialize in WooCommerce and extension development to help increase sales and extend the functionality of your store. They also offer complete website redesign services and custom theme development. If you need something built for your store that doesn’t exist or an integration configured, these guys can do it.
Mode Effect has worked with big brands such as Disney, CompTIA, movile, Phoenix Suns, and of course, WooCommerce. Working with Automattic, they even developed the official WordPress.com affiliate program website at refer.wordpress.com. Make sure to also check out our interview with Cody Landefeld.
What About Upwork, Freelancer.com, and Fiverr?
You’ve doubtless already heard of other platforms such as Upwork (formerly Elance and oDesk), Freelancer.com and Fiverr. There are definitely plenty of talented WordPress developers on these sites but the responsibility will be very much on you to do your due diligence in order to obtain a satisfactory result. If this is your first time trying to find a developer, these platforms can be tricky and time consuming to get the most out of.
With that in mind, we’ll move on to suggestions for assessing potential hires. These are useful for any of the sites we’ve mentioned but particularly valuable if you are hiring from less specialized talent pools such Upwork or Fiverr. Also, a large number of WordPress consultants have appeared in recent years to help WordPress site owners. They provide support, maintenance, and web development services. Some popular providers are SkyrocketWP, WP Site Care, WP-Tonic, wpmatic, Valet, WP Curve and WP Buffs.
How to Hire a Top Quality WordPress Developer (5 Steps)
When you’re looking for that perfect WordPress developer, it’s crucial to realize that it’s your responsibility to set the tone from the outset and thoroughly research your candidates. If you don’t, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time back and forth, and most likely end up with a sub-par job or project. Checking the following five areas in detail will go a long way towards separating the wheat from the chaff from the very beginning.
1. Check Ratings and Reviews and Insist on Seeing Previous Work
Ratings and reviews of previous work on a platform are an obvious first item to check when assessing candidates but don’t stop there; you should also be looking for portfolio work, number of projects they have finished, and the code they have online.
A solid portfolio demonstrates that the developer is actually capable of producing high-quality projects and has delivered in the past. Accessible code repositories (on Github for example), show they have at least some commitment to modern development practices and give you an opportunity to actually review their code.
You can also take this one step further and have them complete a coding test. This is an easy way to filter out people who don’t have the required skill level. TestDome has a great PHP and WordPress test which you can require candidates to take. This requires them to be able to solve coding problems in PHP as well as answer questions about the WordPress API and architecture.
2. Don’t Fall for Lowball Pricing
A good developer should actually make you money rather than cost you money. Don’t be seduced by the promise of cheap outsourced development as, more often than not, you get what you pay for. That tempting lowball offer won’t look so attractive when you end up having to scrap an entire project and re-do it from scratch down the line.
Low rates don’t always indicate low quality of course. Get familiar with what standard market rates actually are and then use our other points here to make assessments on a case-by-case basis.
3. Demand Effective Communication
Nobody can be available 24/7 but a committed developer will strive to answer your concerns in a timely manner and make sure you know when and how he can be reached during work hours. The manner of communication is also critical. Early signs of flakiness or lack of clarity here are classic indicators of trouble down the line.
Insist on clear communication from the outset and walk away if it’s not forthcoming. Being able to determine if you are able to communicate effectively with them is important for a long-term relationship. A good developer will not only be able to code well, but should also be able to communicate to a non-techie person.
4. Perform a Paid Test Project
Beyond a free code test, a small, paid test project will usually tell you everything you need to know about a developer’s approach to the job. Consider these as a loss-leader. If things go south, you’ve just saved yourself failing on a big project with the same developer. If all goes well, you have an excellent indication that the wider project will be smooth sailing.
5. Agree on the Scope of the Job
And the last tip for hiring a WordPress developer is to ensure that all parties involved understand the scope of the job and or project. A lot of times clients will hire developers in a rush for a job which has not been fully defined. And due to the miscommunication, this usually results in an unfinished project, loss of time and money, and sometimes a ruined relationship.
Finding the right developer for your project can seem daunting but you’re basically halfway there just by looking in the right places. Each of the above seven sites is an excellent resource if you’re willing to pay for quality. Regardless of where you source your developers, following our four-point checklist is a super way of guaranteeing quality. Let’s quickly recap the points:
- Check reviews and insist on seeing portfolio work. Have them complete a code test.
- Don’t fall for low-ball pricing tactics.
- Demand effective communication from your developer.
- Perform a paid test project.
- Agre the on scope of the job.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with hiring WordPress developers so far. Are there any particular better sites we didn’t mention that you find and hire WordPress developers? Or tips you want to share? Get in touch via the comments and let us know!