Are you planning on having someone build a professional WordPress website for your business?
Before you go signing any contracts or making any payments you better know exactly what you’re getting and why.
In this article we are going to help you avoid a negative website experience by getting answers to 17 necessary questions to ask your WordPress developer.
If you’ve been marketing your business online for at least 5-10 years now, then we’d be willing to bet that you’ve gone through at least 2-3 different website developers, if not more.
And amongst those vendors or freelancers we’d bet that at least one of them gave you such a bad experience that you’d prefer to never talk about it again.
Sounding about right?
Well, if it makes you feel any better you’re not alone. Many businesses find themselves going through a few different website companies / developers before they finally find someone they can trust and rely on.
As a matter of fact, the following experiences have seemingly become commonplace for most of the businesses that come to us looking for help:
We’re sure you have many more of your own that you could probably add to this list.
The good news is that these experiences can be avoided and we want to help you learn how. It’s one thing to have a bad experience, but it’s another to lose money and time as a result.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to make your next website development project a great one – specifically if you’re going with WordPress.
If you need to vent, then we would love to hear about it. Leave your story in the COMMENTS BELOW.
There’s no reason why any company should lose time or money on a website development project….especially when the website is being built on WordPress.
Unfortunately it is very easy for a lot of issues, small and large, to arise when the right questions are not asked upfront.
To help make your next WordPress website one that is built, optimized and supported properly we encourage you to go through these questions with your developer before you pay or sign anything…
If you go into any new website project expecting to be responsibility-free, then you can guarantee that your project will go off-track at some point.
There are certain things that you, as the representative of your business, should always expect to provide if you want your project to go smoothly from start to finish.
These things include:
You can mitigate unnecessary delays by providing all of these items upfront.
Although this is a more technical question that you may not know the right or wrong answer to, what you’re really looking for here is a clear answer as to why the website is being constructed the way it is.
There are really only three options here [with WordPress]:
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons to each of these options:
Using an existing theme (as is)
pros: Inexpensive (most themes cost anywhere from $15 – $75), reasonably quick to setup, typically built for someone with limited technical WordPress experience
cons: Extraneous code, limited options for customization, reliance on theme developer for support and updates, same design as many other companies with the same theme
Customizing an existing theme or starter theme (as a child theme)
pros: Typically little design work needed, shorter development time
cons: Future updates breaking designs and functionality if not coded properly (common), unnecessary code, reliance on multiple developers to support updates
Building a custom theme from scratch
pros: Built specifically to meet business objectives, lighter code base (when built correctly), more flexible for customizations
cons: More expensive, longer development time
This may be controversial for some companies that sell websites built on proprietary software, but if you’re using WordPress (recommended), then there’s no exception in our opinion.
Don’t you dare build a new website unless you have full, 100% access and ownership of it.
To protect your best interests and to give yourself the flexibility you may sometimes need to support and grow your website you must make sure you ask for and get the following:
You most likely will never need these if you find a good website development and hosting company, but you should never have to fight for this information.
WordPress is one of the most user-friendly content management systems you will come across, but don’t assume that this will be the case with your website.
A poorly built WordPress site can be just as difficult and restricting as an outdated custom, proprietary CMS. If you’re interested in adding, changing and testing different types of content throughout your site, then you must make sure your website is built accordingly.
If you’re not looking to learn WordPress development or becoming accustomed to FTP, then you’re going to want your website to be built so editing defined blocks of content is very easy for you.
More specifically, make sure the following things are done:
One of the biggest advantages to using WordPress for your website is that the community of developers behind it has produced a massive library of plugins for webmasters to use. If there’s a feature you need on your website, then someone has probably already built a plugin for it.
As with anything though, plugins need to be used in moderation. And unfortunately a lot of developers continue to overload their websites with an excessive amount of plugins. Don’t let your developer make the same mistake.
If your developer is going to use plugins, then you want to be sure that each one is absolutely necessary.
Here are some plugins that we recommend limiting your website to:
Your website needs to be mobile-friendly. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
And the best time to establish your mobile strategy is during the build of your website as the experience you provide to your mobile visitors will dictate how successfully you can market to them in the future.
There are a few different ways to make your website mobile-friendly:
This may be the most forgotten, under-appreciated question of them all so you need to understand something important here…
If you have an existing website that has been online for awhile, then you MUST do the proper migration work to preserve any history or SEO value that your website may have accumulated over the years.
If you or your web developer fail to do this work then you may experience the following:
WordPress is already one of the most SEO friendly frameworks to build a website on; however, implementation of SEO work and best practices are still needed for optimal results.
Any reputable website development company should be familiar with the best ways to setup and optimize WordPress beyond what’s included with the core code base.
To be safe, here are some of the essentials that you will want addressed on your website:
If you rely solely on your developer to make sure that your website converts, then you’re going to find yourself pretty disappointed after a few months of little to no results.
As the business representative, it is your job to have a conversion strategy.
This involves knowing and communicating the following to your developer:
Once this information is clearly communicated to your developer, then they should be able to use this information to properly design and develop the proper elements to attract, capture and log conversions for you.
Hosting is one of the things that gets undervalued as we have become so accustomed to quick, cheap hosting solutions from companies like GoDaddy.
This is unfortunate because how and where your website is hosted is incredibly important for a lot of different reasons.
Here are just some of the main reasons you want a great hosting solution / provider:
There aren’t many downsides to using WordPress, except for this one…
WordPress can be vulnerable to being hacked as it is a popular, open-source platform.
However, hacking should never be an issue as long as your developer does the following:
One of the most common oversights we see with businesses that come to us with an existing WordPress website is the failure (by them or their current company) to keep their website properly updated.
It’s not unusual for us to see the following:
These may seem harmless, but just one of the these can hinder the performance of your site and make it vulnerable for anyone that feels like being malicious.
Although this is not 100% necessary we do recommend that every WordPress website come with some type of backup solution.
You never know when something can happen to your site or when you might need to restore an old version of your site so having a backed up version to pull from can save you a lot of time and money.
Some great backup solutions for WordPress sites are:
If you’re expecting to get results from your website, then you need to plan to keep optimizing it in the future. Many times this involves adding different types of content, but also various features or functionality that helps visitors convert.
To accomplish these things and to maintain a good relationship with your web developer you want to find out – upfront – how easy this process will be and how much it may or may not cost you.
Here are some things that you may want or need done after launch that you’ll need clarification on:
One of the most frustrating things we come across when a company brings their current website to us for review, redesign or rebuild is when they have no type of tracking in place.
Getting an analytics program setup on site launch needs to become an industry-wide standard as it’s nearly impossible to optimize a website without any type of data to work with.
To improve your website you need to have constant access to data on the following metrics (at the very least):
If you’re the type of customer that doesn’t have the time or patience to find answers and solutions to your own questions, then you are going to need some clarification on how to get support after launch.
To prevent frustration from having your questions and issues go unanswered make sure you understand how to get support.
Here are some questions you’ll want to get answers to:
No one likes to be ‘nickel and dimed’ especially after spending a considerable amount on a new website.
That said, if you don’t get a clear understanding of what exactly is included with the website you’re paying for, then you are going to leave a lot of room for your developer to want / need to charge you for more work.
Some surefire ways to mitigate “after the fact” costs is to ask for, understand, acknowledge and agree to the following:
All you have to do is request the document here. Once you receive it from us simply share the link with your developer or download it and send it to them for completion.
There are a lot of website options to choose from, but we’ve yet to come across a framework to build on top of that is more flexible, scalable, user-friendly and SEO friendly – all at the same time – other than WordPress.
Because of these reasons, and many others, it’s no surprise that WordPress currently powers about 20% of all websites on the web.
When a WordPress website meets the following criteria there’s absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t be the best investment a business can make in an online asset or marketing tool:
To make your next WordPress website an effective one that meets the criteria above you must ask the right questions at the very beginning of the process. The 17 questions in this post will not only help you select the best developer for your next project, but will also ensure that your experience is efficient and enjoyable.
And if you’re just tired of looking or don’t know where to start, then we always love to help with all different types of WordPress development projects. You can even see our responses to all of the questions above on our Frequently Asked Questions page (under “Websites”).
Want imFORZA to build a WordPress website for you?