The Ultimate Guide: finding a Freelance WordPress developer

WordPress is a versatile platform that enables us to develop any kind of website and add different features to our existing sites. Doing any of these requires some experience in coding.

In case you don’t have the experience or don’t have the time to do the coding, you have to adopt a different strategy. You need to hire a freelance WordPress developer.

WordPress developers are specialized professionals who have extensive knowledge about how it works, the coding structure, and the necessary best practices.

It is always a good idea to hire a reliable WordPress developer for any customization, tweaking, or other tasks that involve coding.

You might be thinking that’s all great, but where can I find a dependable WordPress developer?

Well, that’s why we have put together this comprehensive guide to finding the best freelance WordPress developers.

After reading this post, you will know exactly, with confidence, how to go about hiring the best freelance WordPress developers.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

 Freelance WordPress developer

  1. Know Your Design / Development Requirements

The first step in choosing an excellent freelance WordPress developer is to know your exact requirements. You need to have a clear idea about the whole project along with the necessary skills required to complete this project.

  • Are you just looking for basic theme configuration or configuration of a new plugin?
  • Are you tweaking a theme or plugin to suit your needs?
  • Do you need to create a custom theme or plugin from scratch?
  • Do you need to create a specific piece of functionality for your website?
  • Are you planning to integrate your app/software/product with the WordPress API?

Since the scope of WordPress is virtually unlimited, it is critical to know what type of help you are looking for.

Imagine this ad:

"I want to hire a WordPress developer"

vs

"We are in the process of creating a new, heavily customized WordPress website. Based on a custom theme which was designed specifically for us, we now need to create particular functionality based on the needs of our users. We would like to put up a questionnaire / survey, which adapts according to the questions answered, and then triggers other surveys, to eventually create a very specific pricing quotation based on all of the service options our company offers. We would also like to populate each quotation in a database for eventual integration into our CRM, since we are able to close 60% of quotations which comes through our website. We would like to hire a freelancer developer who is familiar with WordPress based on a fixed-price project, with our budget being in the region of $5000-$6000 range. We're looking to hire a developer within the next 3 weeks, with the work being completed in the next 2 months ideally."

See the difference? Which one is most likely to get the better freelancing WordPress developer?

Only stating that you are looking for a WordPress developer or want to hire a WordPress expert won’t lead you anywhere.

Instead, you should know what type of WordPress developer your project requires.

hiring wordpress developer requirements

A regular developer will be fine if you are only trying to perform some basic theme customization or configuring a new plugin. On the other hand, you will require a more experienced WordPress developer for tweaking a theme, plugin or adding a new feature to your website.

It will be great if you can determine the type of skills necessary for your requirements. Get started by finding out if your work has any involvement with the server, the database, and so on. Providing detailed information will help the developers decide whether they meet the requirements or not.

Get started by finding out if your work has any involvement with the server, the database, and so on. Providing detailed information will help the developers decide whether they meet the requirements or not.

Providing detailed information will help the developers decide whether they meet the requirements or not. Even if you are not too technical, start your freelance WP developer search by clearly defining the functionality "stories" from your point of view- in as much detail possible.

This is a crucial step if you want to get your hiring process right.

  1. Create a Project Brief

Preparing a project brief and writing a great job description is another key step in choosing a freelance WordPress developer.

This description will represent the job in front of the candidate(s).

hiring wordpress developer project brief

Writing an inviting, detailed, and friendly job description is likely to attract high-quality developers towards your job. That’s why you need to take special care of the job description.

Incidentally, if you're looking for a project brief example, our previous example of the ad to hire a WordPress developer can easily qualify as a good WordPress project brief. Ideally though, you provide something which is a little bit more detailed that, covering the below specifics.

Here are the essential components of an ideal job description –

  1. Goals: This is the central part of the whole project description. You need to provide clear information about what you need. Explain what features, end results, or other outputs you expect. Make it clear about the target audience and the ideal user base. If the job involves any designing, make sure you are providing the branding and user experience guidelines used on your website.

  2. Budget: You need to set up a realistic budget for the project. If you are confused about the amount, go through a few job posts that are similar to yours, and check out how they set up the budgets. Keep in mind that good freelance WordPress developers will be expensive. However, it is always better to hire a good developer and get the work done correctly than hiring a mediocre developer, get it done half-heartedly, and hire another developer to complete it. Trust us, we've tried going down the cheap route, it's more expensive in the end. (Recommended Reading: How to hire a WordPress developer - a horror story)

  3. Deadline: The project deadline(s) should be clearly outlined in your job description. If you are in a hurry with the project, make it clear in the description. Most freelance developers are used to work at their own pace. It is also likely that they will work on multiple projects simultaneously. For all these reasons, it is crucial to explain your deadlines clearly.

  4. Payment Schedule: You should choose the payment schedule depending on the nature of your project. If this is a small, one-time job, you can go with a set budget and one-time payment. On the other hand, if it is a large project, you can divide the budget into several milestones and release these as the project advances. Lastly, if this is a long-term project, you can set up an hourly rate with the developer.

  5. Communication: A smooth communication channel is the lifeline for any successful project. Therefore, you need to establish your preferred mode of communication for the project. The commonly used methods include email, Skype, Slack, and other messaging platforms. With offshoring becoming the order of the day, if you and the developer are in different time zones, you should set up a common time that works for both of you.

  6. Deliverable(s): In most cases, the deliverable(s) is highly dependent on the project type. Take some time to define the deliverable(s) of the project, and mention these in the project description. Also, make it clear that you will own the intellectual property of the deliverable or other outcomes of the project.

  7. Evaluation: Evaluating the success is another vital step for your WordPress development project. While your project description includes your goals, it should also contain the success evaluation methods. The developer should clearly understand what he has to do to make the project successful.

  8. Further Support: In some cases, you might need additional support from the developer even after the project is completed. On those cases, it is better to get support from the original developer. That is why it’s always advised to include the support terms in the project description.

The primary goal of the job description is to provide an overview of the project.

The points mentioned above will help you prepare an appropriate job description and hire a great WordPress developer.

  1. Where to Find Freelance WordPress Developers

When it comes to hiring a freelance developer, our obvious choice is Toptal. Their strict screening process and simple workflow ensure that we are always getting the best developers with relevant experience and expertise.

Check out the following sections to know more about Toptal and other methods to find freelance WordPress developers.

Sourcing Sites Like Toptal

Toptal intro

As we said earlier, Toptal is our preferred destination to get freelance WordPress developers. The company uses a meticulous screening process to find the best developers. Through the process, only 3% of the total applicants are accepted into the platform. That essentially means that any of the freelancer developers which get assigned to your project are going to be highly-skilled developers.

Due to the in-depth screening process, you can rest assured about the competence and expertise of the Toptal developers.

That is why leading brands like HP, JPMorgan, Airbnb, Emirates, Zendesk, Udemy, and hundreds of others are employing Toptal developers.

Toptal enables you to hire developers on an hourly basis, part-time, or full-time. Hourly pricing starts from $60 per hour, while the part-time and full-time pricing starts from $1000 and $2000 per week respectively. There is a two-week trial period to help you find out whether the developer meets your requirement or not.

If you want a hassle-free hiring experience along with the best value for money, we highly recommend that you check out Toptal.

WordPress Job Boards

There are several WordPress job boards that could be potential sources for hiring freelance WordPress developers. However, none of these job boards offer pre-screening like Toptal, which means you are responsible for finding out the most appropriate candidates.

Essentially, you'll need to perform the screening process yourself, by committing to smaller jobs first.

WPMU dev job board

  1. WPMU Dev Jobs

WPMU Dev is a well-known developer of WordPress themes, plugins, and tutorials. They also run a dedicated WordPress job board. You have to be a WPMU Dev member to post jobs.

Membership pricing starts from $49 per month.

  1. Smashing Jobs

Smashing Magazine is another popular resource for both designers and developers. They also have a Job board which helps the users to find designers and developers. There is a $75 charge for posting a freelance job.

  1. WPHired

This is an exceptional job site that only publishes WordPress job posts. You can post jobs for developers in various categories like theme customization, programming, plugin development, performance optimization, site migration, and so on. There is a free plan that enables you to post a job for free. Paid job posting starts from $39.99 for one job.

  1. WordPress Jobs

WordPress itself also has a dedicated job board. You can post part-time, full-time jobs, or create a project for plugin development, theme customization, performance, migration, general development, etc.

Using the Freelance Marketplaces

If you have the time and patience to go through an extensive list of candidates and screening the developers yourself, you can check out the following freelance marketplaces.

Upwork freelance marketplace

  1. Upwork

Upwork is the most popular freelance marketplace. You will find hundreds of freelance developers there, but there’s no guarantee about their qualities. What’s more, there’s no dedicated job category for WordPress development. Instead, you have to post jobs under the broad “Web Development” category and tag your posts as requiring specific WordPress skills.

  1. Freelancer.com

Freelancer.com is another well-known freelance marketplace. However, there is no dedicated category for posting WordPress development jobs. On average, each job post receives more than a hundred applications. So, be prepared to spend at least a day filtering through these applicants and finding a developer.

  1. Codeable

Codeable is a specialized marketplace for posting only WordPress-related jobs. You can post jobs in different types like install and configure, customize, troubleshooting, custom development, site migration, etc. The hourly rate of the developers will be in the $60 - $90 range.

  1. Envato Studio

Envato Studio is another freelance marketplace where service providers are hand-picked to ensure the quality. There is a dedicated section for posting different WordPress projects including customization, optimization, security, migration, etc.

Asking for Referrals

ask for wordpress developer referral

Asking for referrals could be another way to hire a freelance WordPress developer. If you have friends or any other acquaintances who have extensive knowledge in hiring WordPress developers, you can ask them for referrals.

Alternatively, if you want to face-to-face communication with the developer, you can try to find out a developer from the local community. Do some googling, check out the local Facebook groups, or maybe try the local directories.

Hiring a local developer might be more expensive than hiring a developer located abroad. At the same time you're going to have to perform the same kind of screening process, because the local  WP developer might not have that much experience in WordPress development. That means you should be as careful in choosing a local developer as much as you have to be when choosing a freelance WordPress developer.

  1. Choosing the right Freelance Developer

Professional sourcing sites like Toptal make it a lot easier to find the appropriate WordPress developer according to your requirements. However, if you are not using a pre-screening service, you have to perform some additional steps to hire a freelance WordPress developer.

You're going to have to perform a bit of a balancing act between the price you're willing to pay, the experience and potentially the reviews and rating of the developer.

choosing a developer shortlist

The first step is to create a shortlist of potential candidates. You need to choose candidates with the necessary skills and experience. The best way to know that is to check out their portfolio. Find out if they have completed any project that is similar to your requirements. Also, check out their professionalism and their feedback on the job board or the marketplaces.

You need to choose candidates with the necessary skills and experience. The best way to know that is to check out their portfolio. Find out if they have completed any project that is similar to your requirements. Also, check out their professionalism and their feedback on the job board or the marketplaces. Do read reviews and be wary of consistent bad feedback. Remember that most marketplaces are biased towards leaving positive reviews, so review each bad review thoroughly and decide on whether this reflects on the professionalism of the candidate.

Once you have created the shortlist, the next step is to perform interviews of the shortlisted candidates. This is when you get to know more about the approach, attitude, personality, and work experience of the developers.

This might not take the form of a formal interview, a call is typically sufficient to understand whether the person is right for the job or not. 

But do make the call, you'll notice a few nuances which you might miss, organisation, punctuality, communication ... these are things which can be seen as you are organizing your call.

If you start noticing quirks during the hiring process (e.g. the developer is not very responsive to communication), imagine what it's going to be like (how frustrating!) during the actual project.

It is always recommended to be prepared for the interview beforehand.

Go through your requirements, project description and decide which questions you want to ask. The main goal is to ensure that the developer meets your requirements and is not going to be a pain to work with.

After you have conducted the interviews, you will have a few candidates left. The next step is to get these developers to do a trial job. Let the developers know that the test job is paid and it is their path to landing the project.

At the end of the test job, you will have a clear idea about which WordPress developer you want to go with.

Final Words: hiring a freelance WordPress developer

Hiring a professional, competent WordPress developer sounds challenging. It becomes trickier when you have to go through the filtering and screening process by yourself.

That’s why we will always strongly recommend reliable screening sites like Toptal for hiring WordPress developers. They will handle all the filtering process and ensure that the candidate meets your requirements. Let them do what they do best, which is finding out the best talents, and save you all the hassles.

So, have you ever worked with a freelance WordPress developer? If yes, how did you hire the developer? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

One more thing...

Do you have friends or a Facebook group who you think would find this useful? Share this with them and then let me know what they think.

Want to supercharge your website?

 
Our website loads FAST ... just 1.29 seconds. We're hosted on FAST InMotion VPS servers We want YOUR website to be fast too, so we've gotten you an exclusive deal - 47% OFF for DART Creations friends + FREE domain! Check it out NOW!