Did you know that approximately 43% of the websites on the internet are powered by WordPress?
Since WordPress holds the largest market share of any content management system in the world, Australian businesses who are serious about their online presence need to consider how to hire a dedicated WordPress Developer.
WordPress is a web content management system and it is among the most popular content management systems. – Wikipedia
Whether you need to create a new website, update your existing one, or migrate to WordPress from another platform, a dedicated developer is a must-have. Masters of Digital has been helping Australian businesses grow online for more than 10 years. In this post, we want to offer an in-depth look at the advantages of professional WordPress development and explain the best way to hire a developer.
- What is a Dedicated WordPress Developer?
- WordPress Developer Versus WordPress Designer
- What Can a WordPress Developer Do For You?
- Who Is A Dedicated WordPress Developer For?
- 3 Problems With Outsourcing WordPress Development
- Why Hire Dedicated WordPress Developers in Australia?
- How Much Does It Cost To Hire a WordPress Developer?
- 7 Steps To Hire WordPress Developers Australia Can Count On
What is a Dedicated WordPress Developer?
You can think of a dedicated WordPress developer as somewhere between a full-time, in-house employee and a freelancer.
They are an external service provider from a reputable company who you typically hire for a specific task, such as building a new website or migrating your website to a new platform. Often, businesses will also keep a dedicated WordPress developer on retainer so that they always have someone to monitor website security, troubleshoot issues, and perform routine maintenance.
Most small to medium businesses (and even many large ones) don’t have the need to devote an employee to working 40 hours per week on their website. It’s a waste of resources. At the same time, they don’t want to outsource their website development to a part-time freelancer because of security and quality assurance concerns.
That’s where the dedicated WordPress developer comes in. They are more cost effective than building an in-house team and more reliable than outsourcing to a freelancer.
Here at Masters of Digital, we adopt the Victorian Protective Data Security Framework Five Step Action (VPDSF) when scoping and implementing digital initiatives or programs.
A good business website can make you easier to find and give you an edge on other businesses. – Business.vic.gov.au
WordPress Developer Versus WordPress Designer
As you search for a professional to hire, it is worthwhile considering that a web developer is not the same as a web designer. Though the terms get thrown around as if they mean the same thing, they are very different.
A WordPress designer focuses on the user experience. They design a website to put your brand’s best foot forward and make it easy for customers to find what they need. This is, of course, a very important skill. However, many people who advertise themselves simply as “WordPress designers” actually know very little about what goes on behind the scenes of a website.
These sorts of designers tend to rely on using WordPress templates to create a sort of “fill-in-the-blank” website. They may also rely too heavily on plugins, which can quickly bloat your site and slow it down significantly.
A WordPress developer, on the other hand, is experienced with coding custom websites that go beyond simple templates. With a skilled developer, the possibilities of WordPress are virtually limitless because they can create themes, build web apps, integrate APIs and more.
What Can a WordPress Developer Do For You?
A developer is there for all of your WordPress needs. They do so much more than just “build websites”. The list below isn’t exhaustive, but it should give you a good idea of the wide variety of tasks you can hire dedicated WordPress developers in Australia for:
Website Development or Redesign
Whether you need a brand new site or you just want a fresh set of eyes to redesign your existing one, a WordPress developer can ensure it is modern, customer-friendly and responsive to run on any size device.
Want to move from Weebly to WordPress? Or Shopify to WooCommerce? Website migration is always a tense operation, but a professional developer can help you do it in a streamlined process that minimises downtime, reduces your manual workload, and ensures you don’t lose your existing traffic.
A dedicated WordPress developer takes your site to the next level with customised elements that don’t slow your site down. This can include anything from a cost calculator to a coupon code banner to a fully custom-built WordPress theme. A developer can even create unique web apps for your business.
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is the process of getting your site to rank high in Google and other search engines. When Masters of Digital is developing a new site (or updating an old one) we keep SEO best practices in mind. This ensures that your website has a strong SEO foundation so that it is in a good position to benefit from more advanced SEO strategies in the future.
Page Speed Optimisation
Customers who have to wait too long for a website to load might just decide to take their business elsewhere. WordPress developers are able to cut your speed down with strategies like eliminating unnecessary code and reducing reliance on plugins.
Because developers are skilled at coding, they can work with APIs and third-party integrations. For example, they can seamlessly integrate your email marketing system or payment gateway without risking your site’s security or impacting performance.
Your dedicated developer is there to troubleshoot any WordPress or website issues you encounter. Whether your website goes down completely, your sidebar looks funny on mobile devices or your contact form isn’t working right—a developer is on call to identify the issue and implement the best fix possible.
Who Is A Dedicated WordPress Developer For?
A dedicated developer is for any business that has a WordPress site but doesn’t have in-house employees who can manage it for them. Likewise, if you don’t have a site yet but want yours built on the most popular platform in the world, a dedicated Melbourne WordPress developer is for you.
Here are just a few considerations for how a developer can help different business models:
Small, mom-and-pop businesses are the perfect candidates to work with a dedicated web developer. Even a local brick-and-mortar store needs an online presence. Customers today expect to be able to look up store hours and contact numbers online, for example.
At the same time, small business owners are often bootstrapping their own growth, so a web developer may seem like an unjustifiable expense. But the good news is that a professional WordPress developer can create custom service packages to meet the needs of the client. That way, you aren’t paying for services you don’t need. However, you still have a reliable developer on hand who can help scale your website with the growth of your business.
For medium-sized businesses, the need for on-demand website management becomes even greater. These businesses probably still can’t justify devoting their own employees to the job, so a dedicated developer is essential.
At this size, you probably have dozens or hundreds of customers searching for you online every day. A poorly running site, or one that is unprofessionally designed, can lead these customers to turn elsewhere. Especially if they are shopping around, they will form a first impression of your business based on your online presence.
Many big businesses do employ a full-time, in-house web development team. They have the resources to do so and the real demand to justify it. However, there are also plenty of situations in which a larger brand will benefit from hiring a dedicated WordPress developer.
For example, if the business doesn’t already have an IT department or upper managers with web dev experience, it might just be simpler to keep things external. Furthermore, outside web developers are expected to keep up with best practices and changes in the industry on their own. If a big business is creating an in-house team, they will also have to take on the burden of providing ongoing professional development.
Stores that focus solely on online sales will benefit from a dedicated WordPress developer no matter what their size. While there are certainly plenty of drag-and-drop platforms that allow just about anybody to build an e-commerce store, a dedicated developer will create a site that stands out from the competition.
Many of these DIY site builders are also not very SEO-friendly, which means customers will struggle to find your site on Google. Furthermore, because they tend to simplify the web design process, sites can become bloated and slow-running as the business grows. Your developer, on the other hand, can help you integrate a well-known platform like WooCommerce into your site so that it’s easy for you to use and reliable for your customers.
Building an online presence is the best way to make sure customers can find you and learn what you have to offer. – Business Victoria
3 Problems With Outsourcing WordPress Development
You may be tempted by the ease of hiring and cheap prices you see on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. However, there are some important reasons to think twice before outsourcing your WordPress development to freelancers.
Freelance web developers are often very busy and overworked. Due to factors like excessively competitive prices and poor vetting on freelancing networks, their goal is often to complete as many jobs as quickly as possible.
Although the work they do may appear high quality on the surface, the rushed nature of freelance development means that there is a lot of opportunity for important elements to be overlooked. For example, they might install a plugin on your site to achieve a design goal without realising that the plugin is outdated and poses a security risk.
If you hire a skilled freelancer to develop a new website, you don’t know if they will still be around next year when you need it updated. Likewise, a single freelancer developer may be skilled at designing a site but know very little about improving page load speed. Now you need to hire someone else, allowing yet another cook in the kitchen, so to speak.
It’s difficult to know where you are hiring from when you outsource WordPress development. Often, your freelancer might work in a distant time zone, and you will struggle to get in touch with them in real time. If your website goes down during high traffic times, which happen to be the middle of the night for your freelancer, it could be more than 24 hours before the issue gets resolved.
Why Hire Dedicated WordPress Developers in Australia?
Beyond avoiding all of aforementioned problems, there are several distinct advantages when you hire a dedicated Australian WordPress developer.
The call to “shop local” isn’t just limited to your produce and home goods. Working with a Aussie web developer helps support the local economy and ensures that you receive just-in-time service from someone who knows what it’s like to do business in the country.
Heck, if you are in the Melbourne area and working with Masters of Digital, you can even meet with us in-person at our Brighton or Geelong offices. That’s the kind of personalised support you can’t get if you don’t hire locally.
Tailored Website Development
A professional WordPress developer can create a 100% customised website, tailored to the exact needs of your business. Less experienced designers often rely on website templates that they have to find a way to fit your business into.
But this is like wearing a pair of shoes that are a half size too big. It sorta works, but it’s certainly not comfortable. And you want customers to be comfortable on your website.
A capable, full-stack developer is equipped to handle both the back and front end of your site. They have the coding knowledge to ensure your site performs optimally and securely, and the design expertise to ensure it is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate.
Industry Standard Quality
Licensed web agenices with a public profile have incentive to stay up to date with the latest trends and best practices in WordPress development. While a standalone freelancer might still be working with the tricks they taught themself a decade ago, a dedicated developer is going to offer industry standard quality. And if they don’t, you can bet their online reviews will warn you far before you hire them.
Ongoing, Professional Support
Some of our clients have been with us for years. We developed their initial website, provided routine maintenance, updated content as the industry evolved, and grew their customer base through strategic lead generation.
Your success is our success. This sort of long-term, mutually beneficial business relationship is only possible with a dedicated web developer who is committed to your growth.
Since a dedicated WordPress dev will likely be working with you for years, they can design your website with your growth in mind. When Masters of Digital designs an e-commerce store, for example, we know that a client who only has 50 products in their line right now could have 500 in a few years as their brand becomes more successful.
Likewise, a site designed by a one-off developer who you never work with again may not be equipped to handle a growth in traffic. As your business grows and more customers find your site, you might find that online business actually decreases due to crashes, lag, and page load speeds.
Security needs to be a top priority during web development, especially if you accept payments online or collect other sensitive customer information. One recurring problem with WordPress is vulnerabilities that result from out-of-date themes or plugins. A dedicated developer on retainer for maintenance, however, mitigates these threats by ensuring your site is always up to date and by running regular security scans.
Finally, a dedicated WordPress developer is probably the most cost-effective option for most businesses. You probably don’t have enough demand to afford hiring a full-time employee to manage your site. Even if you did, hiring one person is a risk because if they get sick or decide to leave the company, your website is left unmanned. You would have to hire a whole team, which is almost definitely prohibitively expensive.
A dedicated developer from an external company, however, can provide you with the regular support you need, at the highest quality, for a price that works for you.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire a WordPress Developer?
Costs can vary depending on the scope of the project, the size of the site, and the level of customisation—among other factors. To get a better idea of how much it costs to hire a WordPress developer, you can use our Website Cost Calculator.
At Masters of Digital, we offer two different types of dedicated WordPress development: support packages and ad hoc hourly support.
With our support packages, we create a custom plan based on your specific, ongoing needs. For example, maybe you have a website already, but you need someone to stay on top of updates, perform monthly security audits, and manage your hosting. Each support package is tailored to what your business requires and priced accordingly.
Ad Hoc Support
If you have a one time task that needs attention (such as updating your pages for accessibility or debugging a particular error) you can hire Masters of Digital for ad hoc support. In this case, you would pay an hourly rate for the length of time required for the task.
7 Steps To Hire WordPress Developers Australia Can Count On
If you are convinced that your business would benefit from your own dedicated WordPress developer, here is a process to help you find someone that you can feel confident will get the job done right.
Step 1: Brainstorm Your Needs in a Website
You don’t go shopping for real estate without first envisioning your dream home. The same can be said of your website. So you should take some time now to decide what your ideal site will look like.
You don’t have to have a concrete website concept planned out. Leave that to the professionals. But you might know, for example, that you want to include a blog to help establish yourself as an industry leader. Or maybe you want customers to be able to book appointments online.
A good way to approach this step is to browse the websites of your leading competitors. If there are elements of their sites that seem to be working, your developer may be able to find a way to go one step further with your site.
If you’d like ideas on what structure to follow, the Victorian Government has a comprehensive map of what to consider to start a digital project. We believe this has good information and can help with the kind of questions you may want answered.
Step 2: Set Your Budget
Once you have a rough idea of some of the most important things you want in your website, decide what your budget for web development is. You can set a very rough number, but having some idea of what you want to spend will help you find the developer who is right for you.
Be realistic with yourself about what your business can afford, keeping in mind that a quality website is an investment. Consider your budget for initial development (if you are creating a brand new site) as well as your long term monthly budget for ongoing development and marketing strategies like SEO or content writing, which many web developers also offer.
Step 3: Read Reviews
Once you begin looking at WordPress developers to hire in Australia, one of your first stops should be their online reviews. Be sure to look beyond the testimonials posted on their website. The reviews on external sites, such as the company’s Google Maps listing, are going to provide you with a more realistic picture of how pleased past clients are with their work.
Just search the company’s name on Google Maps. They should pop up right near the top. (You can try it now with Masters of Digital!)
Step 4: Browse Developer Portfolios
Reading reviews should help you create a short list of WordPress developers to hire. From there, you can see what their past work looks like. This will help you choose a developer who can meet your expectations of quality and aesthetic appeal.
Some developers, such as Masters of Digital, work in a wide variety of industries. Others might specialise on websites for a specific type of business. Browsing their portfolio will let you know what type of developer you are working with.
If you are interested, you can see our portfolio of past and current clients here.
Step 5: Prepare a List of Questions
By this stage, you really have a good idea of the potential developers you want to work with and the types of websites they create. So before you give them a call or fill out their contact form, it’s worth jotting down all of the questions you have for them.
You probably have plenty in mind already. But if not, here is a list to consider:
- How long have you been developing in WordPress?
- How involved can I be (or do I need to be) in the process?
- How will you ensure the site is SEO-friendly?
- How long will the project take? What are the stages involved?
- Is ongoing support for the site included?
- Will I be able to make changes to the site or add content?
Step 6: Book a Consultation
Once you have your list of questions, you are ready to talk to a WordPress developer! Check their contact page and use your preferred method of communication to get in touch.
Web developers are usually willing to meet with you via phone, video call, or even in person if you are local. In one of our initial planning meetings to help SlumberWorld build a new website, we even brought a huge whiteboard and spent the whole day working with them to plan out how we could bring their vision to life.
Your consultation will give you a chance to ask your questions, learn about the developer’s process and decide if they are a good match for you.
Step 7: Look Out For Red Flags
As communication with your potential developer continues, there are a few things to keep an eye out for before you sign a contract or make a deal.
Slow Communication. If your developer is slow to return calls or answer emails now, it could be a sign that they will be difficult to get in touch with when you really need them. If your website goes down, for example, you don’t want to have to wait days for them to address the issue.
Outsourcing. Ensure that the developer you hire isn’t outsourcing their work to freelancers or another company. The more degrees of separation between you and the people doing the work, the less control you have over quality. It’s not necessarily that outsourced workers are less skilled, it’s just that every new line of communication is a chance for something to get confused.
Promise of Quick Rankings. Web developers who offer to rank your site in Google very quickly are making a promise they can’t keep. While web devs can make your site SEO-friendly, they are really just laying the groundwork for rankings. Building organic traffic from search engines takes a long term strategy.
Reach Out To A Dedicated WordPress Developer Today!
Masters of Digital has been developing WordPress sites for more than a decade. Our focus is on building lasting relationships with businesses so that we can scale their website as they grow.
We hope you’ll consider us in your search for a dedicated WordPress developer. Feel free to contact us with any questions or use our Website Cost Calculator to help in these early stages of the process.