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10 Questions to Ask a WordPress Web Designer Before Hiring Them

WordPress has quickly grown into one of the most powerful, popular, and versatile platforms for aspiring webmasters to build their very own websites.  Once seen as primarily a blogging platform, the adaptability of WordPress has made it a great tool for designing your fully functional site.  And while the basics of WordPress are easy enough to figure out for anybody with some basic web familiarity, you will need a full-fledged developer, with knowledge of HTML and other code speak, to fully customize the platform if you hope to use WordPress for a professional site.

But how can you find the perfect developer or designer for your WordPress needs?  With such a specialized niche, how can you be sure that you are getting the best help your money can buy?  And what should you be on the lookout for when picking a quality designer?  Start here, with our 10 questions to ask before hiring a web designer for your WordPress site.

1.  “Show me the portfolio.”

If you’ve ever worked with any creative professional, from graphic artists to writers to web designers, you probably know to ask about their portfolio.  But while this question might seem obvious, it can get forgotten if you start discussing your project with a designer and everything else seems like a perfect fit.  But no matter what, no matter how nice their website looks or how professional they sound on the phone, never hire a web designer to work on your WordPress project without taking a deep look at all of their previous work.  Trust us, this isn’t a question you want to skip.

Why is the portfolio still all important in creative fields?  For one, anyone who doesn’t have a good portfolio, and hides that fact, isn’t very established and might be borderline dishonest.  If you are paying a web designer to deliver your WordPress based needs, they better have done it in the past, and they better have some good examples of their work.  But if you don’t ask to see their portfolio, you may never know if this is the case.

2.  “Do you work on contract?”

While this might seem like a good question to ask a designer at the end of your talks, we think it is absolutely a smart idea to get this out of the way as soon as possible.  How come?  For one, anyone who doesn’t work on contract should be considered very delicately.  It isn’t a good idea to work with designers without getting your agreement on paper, as you are hiring them to fill a very specific need.  Especially where the WordPress niche comes in, newer designer may be scrambling for work, but a good solid contract is a mark of a true established professional.

3.  “What does our partnership process look like?”

Before you decide to work with someone, it’s best to clarify how you will work together.  Make sure to ask your WordPress designer questions about communication, updates, and other elements of how your partnership will work throughout the whole process.  How often will you get updates?  What’s the best way to reach your designer, and how often should you be in contact?  All of these little details about how a partnership works are important to learn early, because if you feel you won’t vibe with your WordPress designer on a communication and process level, that could be a major red flag.

4.  “What are your prices?”

Another straight forward question that you absolutely can’t forget to ask.  While it may feel rude or awkward to ask about money in your first meeting with a designer, if you don’t do so, you are really just wasting everybody’s time.  Be upfront about how much you can pay, and make sure you ask early how much the designer you are considering charges for the WordPress services you need.  If you don’t ask, you can’t be sure if you two are seeing eye to eye, and if it’ll be a productive partnership all around.  And don’t opt to discuss money later down the line, agree to a “standard rate” without digging into what that rate looks like, or otherwise set yourself up for failure by not knowing all of the details about price.

5.  “What else will I have to pay for? What’s included in your services?”

A designer is super important to constructing your WordPress site, but there are a lot of other things that will go into your final site that you need to clarify from the start.  Will you be paying for hosting down the line, or is this something that your designer fee will account for?  Does your designer subscribe to a stock photo site, and if so, are you paying extra for photos or are they included?  There are a lot of “extras” that can make your designers fee skyrocket, if they aren’t included in your original price point.  So be sure to make it clear: what exactly are you paying for, and what will you have to pay for down the line?

6.  “What’s your skillset?”

If you’ve seen their portfolio, you’ve seen a real life example of what your designer can accomplish with WordPress, but it never hurts to clarify all of the skills that your future designer brings to the table.  If you skip this question out of politeness, you may find yourself asking for specific services that your designer can’t provide, which is not a good position to be in.

Especially when you are working with WordPress, you should make sure that your designer works well with the medium.  If they mention all of their Dreamweaver skills, that might be a red flag: there are a lot of ways to write code that can work in WordPress, but if you aren’t using the site as the flexible platform it is intended for, what’s the point of going with WordPress in the first place?  If you hire a designer that is familiar and skilled in WordPress, you should be able to pass on their work somewhere down the line and proceed without any hitches.

7.  “Will you train me to customize the site?”

With WordPress being such an approachable platform, you may feel like you don’t need any help to work on your site once your designer is gone.  But it’s great to get some help before they hand the project off, and learn what you can about customizing WordPress safely.  Otherwise, you may inadvertently damage work that you have paid for, cost yourself a lot of time figuring things out, or otherwise cheat yourself.  If your designer is willing to provide training to help you get started customizing WordPress, you can bet they are invested in your success.

8.  “What functionality can I expect?”

While the answers your potential WordPress designer gave you about their skillset, and the examples you have seen in their portfolio, will help you know what kind of functionality you can expect to see on your site, clarify now exactly what you can hope to see.  Will your new site be able to have a shop to sell your products?  Can it incorporate contact forms, and easy auto-responder email tools?  Will you be able to embed video and audio directly into your site?  All of these are functions that can be integrated into a WordPress site if you find the right designer, but all of them will likely take time and cost more money as well.  Decide if this is a good trade for you, but first ask what functionality your new site can have.

9.  “What does support look like when our project ends?”

While your designer may step away from the WordPress dashboard after a span of weeks or months, you will have to live with the site they built for a while.  So ask about what kind of support is offered, and whether or not you will need to pay for it.  A good designer should stand by their work and be able to offer you service perpetually, but make sure you ask about service features and how you should contact the designer for service requests.

And while a good designer will offer service options, they often aren’t free. Of course, any errors on their end should be fixed for free or cheap.  But for sustained service, you should expect to pay.  Ask if you will be paying a fee every time you ask for service help, or if there is a service and maintenance subscription fee you can opt in to.  Different designers will offer different packages and options, but no matter what plan you go with, you should be sure that your designer offers some support.

10.  “Why should I pick you to build my WordPress site?”

There are a lot of designers out there proficient in WordPress.  By asking directly why you should go with a designer you are considering, you give them a chance to show off what makes them unique, and sell you on why they are perfect for your project.  If your potential designer can’t answer this question, keep looking.