When you’re looking to hire a WordPress freelancer for your digital business, you need a thorough process to follow so you can find just the right one for your needs.
A simple request for a “WordPress freelancer” on any project board is going to bring back hundreds of results for different types of tasks. And you aren’t likely to find just one freelancer who can do everything related to WordPress.
Moreover, even if you know that the task you’re hiring for has something to do with a website or social media, for instance, it still won’t be enough to find the freelancer who will be able to accomplish your goals at a high level.
The World of WordPress
There isn’t just one kind of WordPress freelancer out there. The WordPress ecosystem has expanded so much since the first open source release in 2003. It’s no longer the simple blogging platform that two college friends played around with some 15 years ago. Its evolution has created so many branches that it’s almost impossible for anyone to be able to do everything connected to the WordPress environment. Therefore, when hiring a WordPress freelancer for your digital business:
The first two considerations you need to sort out are what area of WordPress you need a freelancer for, and what exactly you need them to do.
Here are the most common areas within WordPress that you are likely to hire for and the associated tasks that fall under them:
A frontend developer may also know some backend, however. This is what controls the functionality of the website though server side languages, and you might need such a developer. This basic backend knowledge is necessary if you want to get the website to do what you want it to do if your theme, plugins, etc. can’t do it, or if these add-ons will cause problems in how everything works because of conflicts or the load they place on the site, for instance.
Frontend developers also have niche expertise, so let’s go though the standard factors in play when it comes to WordPress sites:
eCommerce – If you’re building a WordPress site to sell product through, then you should hire a WordPress freelancer who is skilled at setting up and managing WooCommerce. This will ensure that you have your listings set up properly so you don’t run into issues later on.
Content Marketing – If your main purpose is to blog for traffic and advertising, then hire a WordPress freelancer who has experience with setting up blogs for sharable content that ranks quickly. This includes integrating those sharing icons, having a good image optimizer, and the like.
Brand Awareness – If the website is just a place to put out information about your brand, then you need a basic frontend developer to set up your choice of theme, or a higher level one if you still want a custom design or functionality.
This is by no means an exhaustive list; just the basics of what most business owners would want a WordPress site for.
If you need a WordPress freelancer to build out a custom theme, plugin or other bit of code, then you need to look for a backend developer specifically. This is what you need if you aren’t satisfied with any of the available thousands of WordPress themes available (with pre-set ranges of functionality) and want to build your unique site basically from scratch.
They will have knowledge of PHP and MySQL for admin and database management, along with the knowledge to implement other customizations. There is such a wide variety of possibilities in this area that it’s difficult to lump them into just a few categories and describe the perfect person to do the work.
The best way to find the backend developer you need is to think long and hard about exactly what you want your site to look like and do, then write that out in a detailed description. By giving this information upfront, you will save yourself a lot of headache and expense down the line.
Pro Tip: Remember that website development – even on such a user-friendly platform as WordPress – encompasses a vast scope. No developer – no matter how experienced or skilled – can really promise to do what you want if they don’t know exactly what that is.
Giving incomplete or vague information about your needs will inevitably lead to the most common issues that business owners complain about when hiring developers – basically that they can’t do what they said they can do. This is actually because you probably gave them information that was open to interpretation, and is totally avoidable. The solution is to be as detailed as possible from the start. Know what questions to ask them, then perform a discovery phase before work begins so there is no room for doubt.
Of course, WordPress blogging is by no means dead. WordPress is still one of the best blogging platforms out there, most certainly in terms of how fast Google picks up WordPress posts (given that you have the site set up properly in the first place – including the blog).
If you have all the basic website pages done and your blog is ready to launch, you are probably looking for a WordPress freelancer to take care of one or more different blogging tasks. The usual tasks that website owners would hire a WordPress freelancer for are:
Blog Management – This entails getting your WordPress permalinks, categories, tags, and the like set up before the blog goes live. This gives your blog a good structure for when you start producing content for your audience.
Pro Tip: You should have at least one post ready to publish when you launch your blog so that the search engines don’t pick up an empty page – very bad for your site’s reputation!
A blog manager would also act as a project manager, coordinating with everyone else working on the blog to build out a content calendar where post topics would be scheduled out for maximum effectivity – depending, of course, on what your targets are – and to make sure that everything that each post needs is done on time. The perfect candidate will of course know the best plugins and other tools to use to get that done.
Post Creation – This is writing the actual text that you are going to post on your blog. Even if you are a great writer, you probably won’t be writing all the content yourself, so you will want to hire someone to fill in the gaps. You want a blog writer specifically, and not a copywriter, white paper writer, news writer, eBook writer – you get the idea. Blog writers can have more than one skill, of course, but you want to hire based on your main focus.
Blog writers also have different niches and levels of experience within these niches. You want to find one whose voice fits your niche and who understands your business and your targets – the audience they will be writing for and what you want to get that audience to ultimately do; e.g. get educated, become loyal to your brand, make a purchase.
Media Content – This includes the images, videos, infographics and other content that will be added to the text to make each blog post more compelling and easy to digest.
Pro Tip: Google loves long-form content because it signals authority and a real effort to give readers something useful. The problem with long form content is that most people these days want everything as short and sweet as possible – pieces that they can skim and scan to get what they need in just a few minutes. Adding media to blog posts breaks up your 2,000-word search-engine-friendly posts so readers don’t get bored and leave without moving down the funnel.
More on Blogging
You will want to hire yet a few other people to produce your blog content:
Photo Editor – If you’re just going to use unmanipulated stock photos, then the blog manager or the writer should know what resolution and sizes are needed, and be able to upload and format them. If you need your blog images edited, however, you are going to need a designer with photo-editing experience specifically. You can’t hire a graphic designer for this task and expect them to be able to expertly manipulate images.
Graphic Designer – What you do need a graphic designer for is to create visual media other than images. These could be coupons that you want to include in certain posts (which can also be used on your social pages), mock-ups that combine images and graphic elements, or custom branded icons and thumbnails, for instance. They are also the right choice to work with a copywriter to create infographics.
Copywriter – Copywriting is s specialized skillset, just like blogging. You want a copywriter to work on blog taglines and infographics text because their focus is on creating short, catchy strings of words to get the message across strong and fast. It’s not impossible to find a content writer who can do both posts and marketing messages, but make sure you spell that out very clearly if this is what you want.
Content Marketing – This WordPress freelancer is the one who can help you market all that awesome content that you’re producing. Make sure that you define, however, what particular type of digital marketing tasks you need this freelancer to do – social posting for customers, influencer outreach, newsletters, etc.
Finding the WordPress Freelancer Who Fits Your Needs
The final two considerations to sort out are where you’re going to start looking, and making sure that you have the WordPress freelancer who fits your needs.
The place where you begin your search for the perfect WordPress freelancer can make the next steps fairly easy or quite difficult.
There are many different websites that you can hire through, but the hiring experience you will have on each of them varies widely. Some will leave you to it, letting you sort though everything yourself, others will offer you premium support if you can afford it, and still others might help you with the process but won’t back you up if anything goes wrong.
You must choose a platform that will give you what you need and value the most so you won’t end up with future headaches that might deprive you of the joy of hiring freelancers.
A few things to think about are:
- pre-vetting of all freelancers to avoid shams and encourage high-level performance
- levels available – basic, mid-level, expert-level (including consultants)
- no turnover / fast replacement if a freelancer becomes unavailable
- full hiring support without additional or excessive charges
- easily navigable dashboard for smooth freelancer management
- secure and easy payment options and paid work guarantees
Finally, you need to think about the nuances of your business and your personal preferences before you make a hire. There are several factors that can put excessive strain on a working relationship and negatively affect outcomes.
Being able to communicate effectively with anyone working with you is vitally important to the success of every project and its related tasks. Make sure that the WordPress freelancer you hire is:
- comfortable using the communication channels you prefer, such as Skype, Messenger or WhatsApp
- available to meet regularly with other people working on the project for updates and feedback and to set goals and priorities
- comfortable working during the times that you are comfortable with, if you prefer that they do their work alongside you
You want to hire people who are excited about working with you and for your business. This spells the difference between a WordPress freelancer who’s going to go the extra mile to make sure things are done well versus that guy who just wants to get paid and will drop everything at a moment’s notice – or without any notice at all – once he becomes slightly frustrated or is for whatever reason unamused by something that happened.
Interview each WordPress freelancer and find out if they:
- are passionate about their skillset and the tasks you are hiring for
- are on the same page with you in terms of your goals for the project and the way you like things done
- work well with others (either verified through a demonstrated team mindset or a test collaboration with others)
Even small problems in these areas can greatly affect productivity, so you want to make sure that each WordPress freelancer you are considering is happy with the setup before you hire.
Remember that one of the greatest things about hiring freelancers is that you can hire a specialist for every single area that you need covered without spending a lot.
You’re not hiring them to work 40 or even 20 hours a week if you don’t need them to work that many hours. You can hire them to do only what you need done, even if it comes out to just 1 or 2 hours a week, or a one-off 10 hour stretch.
This means that you can really focus on this hiring process to find the perfect person for each task and not have to settle for one or a few people who can sort of do everything you need.