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  • It is challenging to get a skilled developer with the right attitude.

    What to look for when hiring a WordPress developer?

    If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you’re a website or business owner looking to hire for freelance or short-term projects. If so, the rules of the game are slightly different than when hiring for a full-time day job. I’ll now present some tips based on my experience.

    Check the portfolio

    This is a no-brainer, or at least it seems to be so. Every contract developer worth their salt has a commanding portfolio (except me, which is totally another story! :-P), and it should be relevant to you. But here comes a twist — the freelance is full of cheats who steal others’ portfolio, close the deal, and then further outsource it to some developer!

    I usually don’t consider this a significant problem, but folks like this don’t have any idea of WordPress or PHP development and end up ruining the project. They either run away with the money or deliver a sub-par plugin/theme that just plain sucks.

    Up next, we look for some survival strategies for the business owner when it comes to the jungle of freelancing.

    Cross-question the portfolio

    Now that you have the portfolio take your time to read through it, and prepare a questionnaire, you’d want to present to the developer. But don’t indicate that just yet — you want to spring the questionnaire upon them as a surprise in the next call or meeting! If they seem hesitant or talk in circles, you know it’s time to pack up and run. 🙂

    Although the exact questions depend on the project, here are a few I can suggest:

    • Do you follow the WordPress code guidelines? Why and why not? (It’s not a major concern even if the developer doesn’t follow them; that style of coding takes too much time. But it’s important to judge whether the developer has even heard of the WordPress coding standards.)
    • How much time did it take you to build this plugin? Can you walk me through the process?
    • What are the common mistakes, according to you, that developers make when creating themes?
    • What are the limitations of this theme when it comes to various screen sizes and browser?
    • What optimization have you taken care of in developing this theme/plugin?
    • Which open-source plugins have you studied as a developer? Can you walk me through how they work? (It’s okay even if you don’t understand much here — the idea is to see how familiar that person is with their craft.)

    If you think you’re not able to make either head or tail of the answers, note them down and post them on the WordPress forums — asking for community advice on what they think about the developer!


    Ask to talk to the people who commissioned the presented projects. I won’t expect all projects to end on a good note, but if a developer doesn’t have even 2-3 credible references, it’s a dazzling red flag. And don’t settle with phone numbers, as some people have the game rigged far enough — insist on official email and make sure you write to them!

    Use an escrow system

    Payments are where most of the project talks break down. The developer doesn’t want to be robbed of a few days of effort, only for the client to disappear, and the client doesn’t want to lose time and money to someone who was talking big before the start. It’s possible to overcome these concerns without having to resort to “You can trust me 100%” — using an escrow system like Upwork, Freelancer, etc. The escrow service holds your money until the work milestones have been delivered, and everything is documented for legal purposes.

    Venture outside WordPress (and PHP!)

    This is an optional but to get an idea if a developer is enthusiastic about web technologies and being in touch with other tech stacks. Knowing trending industry topics helps to handle the requirement in multiple approaches, and you never know maybe what you are looking for can be done better in a different stack like Nodejs, Ruby, etc.

    Talk to a few developers

    Unless you know someone with their past work, it is always a good idea to talk to a few developers about your requirements. Gather all the feedback and see what sounds best for you. Don’t just stick in technical boundaries but also look for an attitude.

    Now you know what to look for. Next, where do you find an experienced developer?

    There are many marketplaces, but the following are a popular one to find WordPress developer.


    Codeable is a specialized freelancer platform for WordPress development.

    Whether you need the custom build, theme development, performance optimization, security hardening or troubleshooting the issue, you will find a suitable expert for your work. You can post your project in free to connect to the developer and discuss pricing and timeline.

    You will find developers quoting hourly basis or fixed cost. Its really your choice but if you ask me I always prefer fixed cost. The advantage of fixed cost is you don’t have to worry when the developer takes more time than expected. You always pay what you agreed to deliver the work.

    You will find a developer from all around the world, and this would be useful if you want to work in your time zone or work with someone who speaks your language.


    A job portal to post your WP work requirement to hire a remote expert.

    WPhired offers three types of pricing.

    • FREE – post jobs that will be active for 30 days
    • Featured job 3 – get your three job postings featured for 60 days
    • Featured job 5 – 5 job posting featured for 60 days


    Toptal, one of the popular marketplace to find the top 3% of WordPress developers.


    Are you wondering why 3%? Check out this explanation.

    You can browse hundreds of developers’ profiles and hire the one you like.

    I am confident you will find a suitable developer for your WP work on the above platforms. If for some reason, you can’t, then you may try Upwork, Codementor, or Freelancer.

    Good luck with your project.