Image by Alexander Gounder
WordPress is a powerful blogging tool a lot of digital marketing teams use, but it can be a rather wild beast to tame. Before even thinking of ways to reach your audience with your blog, you need to ensure that your blog platform works properly. It needs to display your content right, smoothly run your plugins, and accurately report your analytics.
And that’s just the back end of your blog needs. Visuals are important, too, for catching your readers’ attention and establishing your identity as a source of good content. “Even with all the abundance of themes out there, it is very rare that you find one that you do not have to modify in one way or another,” according to the ColorLabs team. “Even if you finally find one that matches your needs, eventually the time will come when you want it to be unique, whether that is in design or more advanced features.”
To run a successful blog, you’ll need a WordPress developer at some point. We’ve mentioned how hiring remotely can help you save on hiring costs -- this is true for remote web developers, too. But for a successful hiring experience, you’ll need to know how to look for the right remote WordPress developer for you. Here are some tips:
Check their communication skills
Because you’ll be working with them remotely, you’ll need to hire a communicative WordPress developer. But note that you need someone who does more than communicate constantly -- every attempt at communication has to be deliberate and effective.
“Just finding a chatterbox isn’t enough,” says TechCrunch writer Darrell Etherington in a GigaOm article. “You need to find employees that can communicate effectively in a variety of electronic media without becoming a productivity drag by unnecessarily requesting too much attention.”
Test the waters
Think about it this way -- how can you hire a magician without asking for sample magic tricks? To get a sense of your WordPress developer’s work quality, give them a small web development project as a test. Whether they’re an individual developer or a team of remote WordPress developers, letting them do a small working task will help you rate the results they’re capable of delivering, and how they deliver said results.
To help you create a test, Tom Ewer, founder of Leaving Work Behind, a blog all about building your own online business, recommends for those looking for theme developers, for example, that "you split the project into the separate design and development stages. This allows you to find people who specialize in each aspect." You'll see whether you're about to hire someone who's all code, all design, or both.
Testing will also give your candidates an idea of what collaborating with you will be like. “Most remote workers also like starting small too,” says the ProjectPulse team. “After all, they’ll be working with your company so it’s important there is a good fit for them as well.”
Look for transparency
Walter Chen of iDoneThis cites case studies that prove how transparency is good for growing startups. “For people to move fast and think for themselves, they need ready access to the information they need to do their job,” says Walter. “Failing to provide a foundation of common knowledge and creating an uneven distribution of information opens the door for inefficiency and unhealthy power imbalances.”
While it’s important for you to be transparent with your staff, it works both ways; your employees need to be transparent with you, too. Hire a WordPress developer who keeps you updated on their work accomplishments and their speed bumps. “See how quickly they respond to emails, how clearly they communicate digitally, how flexible they are in terms of scheduling meetings, etc.” advises Michael Bruch of Willow in a Business News Daily article by Nicole Fallon. “You need to look for people (who) work both with agility and efficiency.”
Focus on experience
WordPress development covers a wide variety of skillsets, so developers can specialize in different technologies. You’ll be hard pressed to find the best of the best in every single aspect of WordPress development. “Becoming a top WordPress developer is hard work — very hard work,” says SabraMedia’s Jonathan Wold in a Smashing Magazine article. “The amount of reading material available on WordPress is overwhelming. There are thousands of people talking about WordPress and it is becoming increasingly difficult to filter through the noise”
It’s crucial that you hire a developer who has done something similar to your project. Their work is likely to progress faster, since they’ll have the relevant experience to apply to your work. If you’ll be hiring remotely, you have a global talent pool to look through. You may enlist help in sorting through that wide variety of candidates, but if it means finding the right developer for you, shopping around will be worth it.
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