How to hire a WordPress developer: Tips & interview questions

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Stefanija Tenekedjieva

Stefanija Tenekedjieva

How to hire a WordPress developer: Tips & interview questions

Who doesn’t love a custom-made website that even people without a design and development skill set can update and maintain? Yes, that’s exactly what WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system, can do for you. But you need some help to start from scratch, right?

The thing is, WP is very intuitive to use and has a very long-term benefit, but only once you’ve set the groundwork. By groundwork, I mean the actual coding, search engine optimization, plugin development, placing data analytics filters and data-gathering tools… You know, software stuff that we, the people who can’t code, don’t fully understand.

WordPress goes far beyond adding a custom theme and being able to update the visuals on your blog by yourself. It can do so much more, but only if you work with a quality WordPress developer. And this guide will help you hire a developer to create a WordPress site that you’ll use for years to come.

Stats about WordPress

WordPress has been around since 2003 and, in the last 19 years, has become the undisputed champion for easy-to-use, highly customizable content management systems that offer a plethora of themes and plugins. But some facts about it might still surprise you.

According to the WordPress Market Share In 2022 research by Envisage Digital, up to 37% of all websites on the internet in 2021 used WordPress, which accounts for 13 times more websites than its competitor, which is the #2 most used CMS website, Joomla.

But why, you might ask? Well, the research also states that:

  • You can use WordPress in 60 languages
  • It has over 54,000 plugins available, which are together downloaded a total of 1.5 billion times
  • WooCommerce, WordPress’s most popular e-commerce plugin, has a 25% market share and generates 7% of all online sales, including those from low-traffic websites
  • WordPress registers over 1.1 million new domains every six months
  • It gets 20 billion page views each month
  • All of the blogs it powers get about 400 million views per month

How to know if WP is right for you

The many WordPress plugins and high-quality themes make it an excellent solution for many businesses and projects, from blogs to e-commerce websites. Some other common examples are membership websites, online courses, small business websites, and others. But that doesn’t mean that a WP developer cannot handle larger websites. It just means that it is ideal for people with limited resources because:

  • It is free software. However, the web hosting and domain are not, so there are some costs involved.
  • It is highly customizable. Want a different WordPress theme? No need to hit up a software agency or hire a professional developer to fix something small. CTAs, images, videos, embedded articles and widgets… These are all things you can switch up by yourself.
  • It is super easy to use and intuitive. Once a developer builds your website, you will be able to customize and update it easily.
  • It is safe for your visitors. WP is built in a way that makes it possible to defend your website from malware, malicious hacking attempts and sensitive data leaks.
  • It has thousands of plugins. No need to develop many functionalities from scratch when you have free plugins.
  • It is SEO friendly. WordPress is written using high-quality code with semantic markup, which is why WP sites tend to rank higher than others in search engines.

What a WP developer does for you

A specialist in the environment and infrastructure of the WordPress platform is known as a WordPress developer. They might concentrate on developing new plugins and themes or enhancing the WordPress software. Additionally, they could assist clients in designing, modifying, and maintaining a WordPress site.

By developing blocks, plugins, themes, and other tools that enhance the platform or by making contributions to the WordPress Core, some WordPress developers work directly on the platform itself. Others assist clients with site creation and maintenance. Many developers combine the two.

The more complex technical aspects of building and maintaining a WordPress site can usually only be handled by WordPress developers because the average user will lack the knowledge or time to do so.

If you found this definition too complex, here’s a more practical one by a WordPress developer from the Proxify network, Algert Zharri:

A WP developer designs the website structure and creates or updates the WP theme and/or plugins. For these tasks, they use their knowledge of MySQL, WP builders such as Elementor or Visual Composer, different WP actions and filters, and many other skills.

author Algert Zharri

Because WP is a customizable CMS, many people believe they don’t need a WP developer, because they can use it independently.

We asked Algert to explain why they do indeed need a WP developer and how his role is different from someone just using WP to build their website.

“The main difference is that plugins work ok with general needs that the client might need, but for specific requirements or functionality, it’s almost impossible to find a plugin that has exactly what you need.”, he states.

Typically, WordPress developers are in charge of developing the front-end or back-end of WordPress sites (or both). WordPress developers can also be engaged to rebuild a website to improve its SEO and conversion rate, transfer an existing website to the WordPress platform, or create wireframes or sitemaps for new websites.

WordPress developers occasionally evaluate and fix bugs in the official WordPress core rather than working with clients to improve the platform overall.

Where to look for WP developers

Due to its popularity, flexibility around customization and ease of use, as well as the fact that it’s been around for almost two decades, WordPress developers are not hard to find.

Despite seeming super easy to use, it is surprisingly difficult to learn to code within WordPress. The learning curve is quite steep, and there are plenty of other technologies your web developer should know, along with plugin and theme development.

However, there are developers who are available for WordPress jobs:

  • On freelance marketplaces: some of them are Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, Toptal, our very own Proxify, and others
  • Software development agencies
  • Staffing agencies
  • WPHired: a WordPress-specific hiring board)
  • WordPress jobs: WP’s hiring board
  • On local job websites, if you need a full-time, in-office developer

Interviewing a WordPress developer

By now, you’ve probably realized whether or not you need a WP developer for your website or not. If you still do, here are some things you should cover once you hit the “Publish” button on that job posting.

Fields of expertise

A WordPress developer, specific as it may seem, is a job title that encapsulates different fields of expertise within the same technology. Here are some differences that might help you narrow down your search even further.

  • Web designers: Experts that primarily focus on the website’s visual elements, with experience in front-end development or UX/UI.
  • Plugin developers: Plugins for WordPress are programs that you may "plug into" your website to increase its capabilities. Ideally, plugins shouldn't alter the WordPress core as themes do. Therefore, using WordPress plugins to add features to a WordPress website is excellent. Depending on their intended use, these plugins may make minor adjustments or significant modifications to your website. Despite the abundance of free plugins on WordPress, many market gaps can still be filled by offering WordPress customers a brand-new or improved plugin to match their demands.
  • Theme developers: The public, specific clients, or theme developers can all commission unique themes. If the latter, developers can either sell the theme on a website like Theme Forest or freely submit it to the WordPress directory.
  • Web developers: Experts focused on the “behind the scenes” functionalities or the backend.
  • WordPress maintenance specialists: Experts that maintain and update an existing WP-based website for a particular client or project.
  • WordPress support specialists: Usually developers who test the functionality of plugins within WordPress, often working for WordPress itself or other affiliated companies.
  • Generalist WordPress developers: A one-person show for all things WordPress related on a single website.

Minimum requirements

Hypothetically, if you are hiring a WordPress developer that isn’t a seasoned expert, here are the basic requirements they should be able to fulfill for you:

  • Create custom templates for a given page
  • Change a behavior using filters/hooks
  • Know the right way to add custom javascript and/or style
  • Be able to use WordPress builders and have a sufficient frontend experience with them.

According to Algert, the most important technical skills a WP developer should have are:

  • Excellent knowledge of how WordPress works
  • Actions and filters
  • The right way to update a plugin functionality
  • The ability to create and use templates for custom pages

As for general skills that aren’t tied to the technical side of the job, he says:

“One of the most important non-technical skills is the ability to understand the requirements clearly and ask again if something is not clear. The second and the most important is to be able to work in a team with another developer.”

Interview questions to ask (+ their answers)

1. What is the difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com?

Expected answer: While WordPress.org is where you can get the program itself, which you may use to construct and maintain a website on your own, WordPress.com is a service that assists you in building a website using the WordPress software with managed hosting.

2. What are the differences between a page and a post?

Expected answer: Pages are used for static content that is static, whereas posts are used for more timely and frequently updated content. The number of pages and posts can vary depending on your website. Understanding their respective advantages is essential because both have their applications.

3. What is Action Hooks?

Expected answer: In WordPress, Action Hooks are a beneficial tool used to carry out tasks (actions) in certain locations of a theme or plugin.

4. What is a filter hook?

Expected answer: Filter hooks provide the option to modify something. Data that is being processed is intercepted, given to you for modification, and then passed back. When the output is transmitted to a database or a user's browser, they are utilized to filter it.

5. What is WP taxonomy?

Expected answer: WordPress uses taxonomies to organize posts based on a limited set of connections. Two taxonomy kinds named Categories and Tags are automatically included in a standard post. They are a useful approach to ensure that users can easily access relevant information on your website.

6. What are the positive aspects of WordPress?

Expected answers: Customizable, SEO-friendly, free, easy to learn and maintain without coding or design experience, safe, a vast library of plugins and themes and a large global community.

7. What are WP’s most essential features?

Expected answer: It is easy to install and get running, has an internal SEO tool, makes it very easy to publish and update content, and can be used in 60+ languages.

8. Which skills do you have that make you a good candidate for this job?

Expected answer: Search engine optimization (SEO) skills, knowledge of plugins, MySQL, HTML, CSS, Google Analytics and image optimization skills are the primary skills.

9. How can a WordPress password be changed?

Expected answer: There are numerous approaches to changing a WordPress password, including:

  • Changing the password through the dashboard
  • Reset the password manually using phpMyAdmin
  • Electing a different password through email

10. Which actions would you take to enhance the functionality of your WordPress site?

Expected answer: Improving a website's performance is essential for raising its domain rating. Some of the following actions are necessary to optimize the speed of a WordPress site:

  • Using plugins for caching
  • Doing routine site updates
  • Splitting longer posts into smaller pages.

Three steps to your perfect WordPress developer

  • Step 1

    Tell us about your needs

    Talk to a technical manager about your requirements and goals for your product or project.

  • Step 2

    Get matched to the perfect developer

    Within days, a hand-picked and fully-vetted developer will be presented to you.

  • Step 3

    Begin working together (risk-free)

    Work begins. Completely risk-free for a week. You only pay if happy.

Find a WordPress developer

Why use WordPress?

WordPress is a website builder that powers 39% of websites on the Internet. It’s available on WordPress.com for individuals who need a subscription-based hosting service for hobby blogging or small business, and on WordPress.org for companies that need a self-hosted customizable WordPress installation.

  • What is WordPress used for?

    WordPress.org distributes open-source software you can use for free to create your commercial website with custom design and code. WordPress installation has the basic functionality that you can easily extend by choosing themes and plugins from thousands available in the ecosystem or by modifying the code and adding your unique plugins.

  • What type of websites is WordPress good for?

    You should no longer think of WordPress as a CMS for blogs. It’s a universal, robust, and flexible website builder. You can configure WordPress to create an enterprise website, blog, eCommerce store, online community, or even a web app.

  • Is WordPress good for SEO?

    WordPress is SEO-friendly and makes following on-page and technical SEO best practices easy. You can find lightweight and mobile-friendly themes that satisfy the SEO requirements for mobile-first indexing. For more control over your website optimization, you can add popular SEO plugins. For example, Yoast SEO for meta tags, canonical URLs, and XML sitemaps management; W3 Total Cache for website performance improvement and load time reduction; or Smush for image compression and optimization.

  • Is WordPress good for eCommerce?

    7% of all eCommerce websites are built with WordPress using the WooCommerce plugin. The plugin is open-source but requires using professional WordPress themes compatible with WooCommers and adding functionality with paid plugins for shipping, payments, booking, marketing, etc. WooCommerce works with PayPal and Stripe payment gateways and integrates with many services important for eCommerce, like MailChimp, Facebook, or Google Shopping.

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Have a question about hiring a WordPress developer?

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  • How does the risk-free trial period with a WordPress developer work?

  • Can Proxify really present a suitable WordPress developer within 1 week?

  • How does the vetting process work?

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