How to Choose a PHP WordPress Developer

The first thing you want to do in choosing a PHP WordPress Developer is avoid getting scammed. Yes like all good things in life, building websites and software, there are people who try to ruin it. Scammers which are commonly found in certain regions of the world and often operate on the largest and most reputable platforms, will take their buyers money and deliver nothing or next to nothing in return. This happens far too often. We hear the stories of this quite frequently when speaking to prospective customers on Upwork. Surprisingly this happens on Upwork and through others sites despite those sites having feedback systems and other attempts to verify freelancers.

It’s pretty common in some of the markets such as India for a “freelancer” to be a person who is actually working at an agency. The fact that the person poses as a freelancer is at best a marketing tactic (a dishonest one) and at worst an effort to pull off an outright scam on the buyer. It’s well known that there actually are relatively small numbers of real freelancers operating independently in India, and in fact the vast majority of coders available to hire there work in a large room at an agency. The problem with this is not just that you’re doing business with somebody who is dishonest, who starts the entire relationship by lying about who they are and how they work, but it’s also that the amount you’re paying per hour might be as high as 500% above the salary of the person who is doing the actual work. You may be paying $25 to the agency, thinking your freelancer must be very motivated because their making $25/hour in a country where this is quite a good earning level, but in fact that person is making $5/hour or less, working in a fairly miserable conditions, and just transferred from the companies other department, doing telesales scams. They were so good at telesales scams they got promoted to web developer and given a 3-month crash course on “how to writes codes”.

This is no way designed to bash the thriving markets in India and other regions and we only mention India because it’s the most popular offshore destination for outsourced work. Similar issues have been reported widely from neighboring Pakistan and dozens of other countries. There are of course great freelancers working in the industry from every single region, and India in particular is a hotbed for activity. Just bear in mind that really qualified freelancers in India often charge similar rates to equivalent programmers in any other region. So beware of the smooth talking salesperson promising you the world for a very low rate per hour.

Verify the Person is a Freelancer or the Agency is a Registered Business

Business 101 here, when you’re hiring a PHP WordPress Developer let’s make sure first, you’re really dealing with a genuine person with a track record in the industry. If you have doubts about whether the person is for real, you’re usually better of moving on. It’s not hard for freelancers to prove themselves. They should have some publicly available profiles, a bit of digging into their history should show them posting for help on popular developers platforms like StackOverflow. They should have a GitHub account with a history and some projects.

A common excuse made by people posing as developers is “sorry all my work is private and protected by an NDA”. What an interesting story, because for some reason that isn’t true of nearly every legit dev on the planet. We all have at least side projects that are public. We all contribute to something at some point even if 99% of our work was commercial. In WordPress in particular, I don’t see strict NDA’s being used that often… it’s just not believable that a person is really unable to show any of their prior work, unless they have been building classified WordPress sites for the CIA the entire past 8-years where they claim to be a “leading expert in all the codes”.

Evaluating Code Quality

There are two ways to evaluate code quality. Either know how to code, or hire somebody who knows code quality to audit code for you. Almost everybody skips this step, but then almost everybody fails to make any significant profit either. In fact I think it can be argued that almost every company that does make significant profits related to their custom PHP WordPress development, has used code testing or code auditing at some level, or just has qualified people involved in the core of the business. Code quality just matters way too much to not know what the ingredients are in your soup. And by the way, you don’t want to end up with soup… but the point is you need to know if your hiring somebody who has “moderate quality”, “high quality” or “low quality”. And let’s face it if you knew the company or freelancer you’re hiring to do PHP WordPress Development was simply “low quality” all around, why would you hire them? As appealing as an affordable rate might be, you have to realize low quality is WORTHLESS. It’s literally worth less than what you pay, no matter how little you pay.

Hire for PHP WordPress Developer Skillsets not experience with specific tools

Too many people approach hiring from the perspective of “I’m using plugin XYZ or theme ABC so I better find an expert in that particular tool”. I think this is a mistake. I think it narrows the field too much, excluding the best candidates. Obviously with over 50,000 plugins and themes no developer has expertise in all of them. What good developers have is foundational skills, language skills including PHP and Javascript, that enable theme to solve problems and implement solutions. Developers also are good at reading documentation. And here is the reality of the situation, even if you hire somebody who works with WooCommerce everyday, when you explain your unique problem, they will head either to Google to type in “how to solve this WooCommerce problem” or they will head to the documentation for the given around and start reading it. Nobody is walking around with a million lines of code in their head knowing enough to jump in and start working in most situations. Plus, even if you can hire somebody who knows about the nature of the one bug you have currently, does that mean you fire them the moment you need work done in another area? What matters is that a developers has a certain level of “overall experience” with the landscape, enough to efficiently research and solve problems. Development always ends up being a research and discovery process eventually, so what you want is someone who is fast and accurate at searching out solutions.

Accept the Costs

If you can bear the costs of premium quality coding services such as Codeable, then do it. Because they screen developers harder and more thoroughly than you ever will be able to. Even if you know how to implement very difficult screening, you’re never going to find developers willing to go through your screening process. Codeable can screen heavily because devs are willing to invest the time because if it pays off, it pays off with a guarantee of $60/hour long-term and with some level of consistency in being handed clients without doing any further marketing work. Codeable creates a win-win scenario by delivering high quality developers. However, the costs can be higher than what businesses can bear. So if you can’t bear those costs, and you need to build at a scale where those costs would break the bank, then it makes sense to search for more affordable developers. Just bear in mind the way the market works, the rates of $80-100 are fairly “standard”, or might be consider “low premium”. Just bear in mind really premium rates are more like $120 to $180 per hour. So when you’re shopping at $40 per hour as an example, you’re shopping at the low to middle part of the market. Cut the number in half again to $20/hour, and your shopping for someone who would actually earn a better living by becoming a forklift driver or working in a construction office or number of jobs that are faster to study for, have less responsibility and $20/hour, I would rather do it in a salaried job with some benefits, and where when the day is over I can just punch the clock and leave. No point having “clients” and managing client relationships, no point caring about the end result, no point trying to adhere to quality standards, if the result is a dead-end job where you’ll never get ahead. So buyers that are creating that part of the market, I’m not telling you to stop, I’m just telling you to expect failure. Don’t be surprised when you fail, don’t be surprised when all those relationships are difficult or they end suddenly. That should just be expected when you shop at the bottom of the talent market.

Evalute PHP WordPress Developers for their Soft Skills

Developers do a lot more than write code. As much as code is the central skill and very important to the role, what you actually need in a developer is the ability to understand problems. The ability to hone in on solutions. The ability to make key decisions either alone (at a code level) or by communication the options and getting approval. If you want developers to work together in a team, or integrate with your business management processes, you also need them to be organized and willing to engage in processes like estimating work, setting priorities, updating ticket notes, drafting documentation. To some extends devs fall into 2 categories, and this is after you qualify their ability to write code at a reasonable level. There are devs who can communicate and integrate. Then there are devs who can only write code. I’m not saying don’t hire the latter. Just understand what you’re getting and how they might fit into your team. And realize that when a person lacks communication or organizational skills, just saying to them “write better notes” probably won’t help. Saying to them “provide meaningful estimates” or “give us updates we can use to make decisions”, these things won’t help. Unless you have a real training program you can send someone too, and they are willing to try to upgrade their professional standards, most devs that are only good at coding and not much else, will always stay that way. That’s more or less “how they are built”, and if they do change it’s because they have self-awareness of it and they go out and study and grow over time. You can I think coach somebody who is on the track towards lead developer or just on the track to being a more rounded contributor, but you can’t take somebody with weakness in these areas and rapidly change their entire mindset. In fact pushing people that aren’t comfortable often makes them withdraw more, or makes them just feel devalued for the work their doing with the main skills they have.

Similar Posts