There are times when kicking your laptop from a four-storey building seems like the only appropriate response to things breaking or just not GODDAMN WORKING PROPERLY on your WordPress site.
The plugins that seem perfect (until you install them and they basically make your site ACTUALLY CRY, which in turn causes you to cry)
The frustration when you look at someone else’s site and get all green with envy at just how perfect it all looks and works, while you’re still battling to get the header centred properly and pick one stupid font that doesn’t suck.
That stuckness you feel when you want your site to actually do something specific, but plugins don’t seem to cut it and frankly you’re at a total loose end as to where to start.
My friend, it sounds like you need to…
Now, look, I can see you there thinking, “AAAAAAAARRRRGH!!!! BUT HOW!?!?!? WHO?!?!?! A WEB DESIGNER?! A DEVELOPER?! WILL I NEED TO RE-MORTGAGE MY HOUSE!?!?!? I THINK I NEED A POO!!!”
You can chill, gorgeous. Trust me, it might sound frightening, I’m going to walk you through the process of figuring out WHO you need and HOW to hire them.
Situation 1: “My site looks fine and I’m happy with the, but there are some little things that reeeaaaalllly bug me. Like this part not lining up here, and I want to put a sign up form here. I just need someone to do some tweaks on my site that I can’t do myself”
OK, for this you need a WordPress developer – they don’t need to be super-custom, bells-and-whistles, roll-up-roll-up developers, but someone comfortable with at least looking under the hood. Sometimes called “WordPress front-end developers”, sometimes they peg themselves as a a designer and a developer – these kind of people are pretty easy to find and good all-rounders, but you’ll need to be sure of their quality before diving in. Back when I offered custom WordPress development, I occasionally took on this work but normally for existing clients only, but when it became too much for me to handle alongside larger projects, I got a bit “parentally-defensive” about who I trusted to let these projects “but who can look after these projects as well as I can *pout*”. After a lot of searching, I came across WP Curve. LIFE = MADE.
What WP Curve offer is a 24/7, 365-days-a-year access to a very select, elite few WordPress developers who are on hand to deliver unlimited small WordPress jobs every single month for a subscription fee. You want more SEO traffic? Hit them up. All those cruddy plugin niggles gone? Get on it now. And most jobs are done within 24 hours, and each month they send you customised ideas to how they can improve your site even more. Honestly, it was so GOOD to just hand across my clients into trusted hands (and my clients love them just as much as I do!)
Situation 2: “My site sucks. And blows. It looks horrible, I hate it. Make it stop! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!! Can I have a new site, please? Do I need a web designer or developer?!”
Here is your common-or-garden new site design situation. You’ve reached a point in your business where chucking a theme in and making sure everythign sits straight is working. Generic isn’t working for you. NOW you need custom.
So let’s talk custom designs; a few years back I posted this flowchart which demonstrates what information and money you need to get your new custom site and it still applies today.
To get a new website, you do need the budget for it, although there are a few options that can come in a little cheaper. For full-blown custom websites, put aside a minimum of £1500/US$2000, and be pre
pared to be on a waitlist for a quality designer as well. Understand as well that a web designer can be just that – they design the site for you, but they don’t build it, so you may even need to hire a developer for that position as well. Booking someone who’s just starting out can be cheaper, but you run the risk of the site taking longer that you wanted. Alternatively, you can get someone to design you a child theme for WordPress – it keeps the security and framework of a main theme (perhaps something like Divi or Genesis), but gives you a unique look and feel.
Whoever you hire, you need to ask them what service they offer, whether they manage the design AND the build (and if not, WHO they recommend), how long the process can take and what the whole cost is. There can be a HUUUUGE cost difference between designers because, hey, that’s just life. There’s a lot of skill involved in creating websites which takes years to perfect, but a cost that is worth making the investment in.
So who do you hire? I have a couple of go-to names in my resources page (no affiliates, just people whose work I admire, and whose clients rave about them ferociously), but make sure with anyone you hire, you check out the work they’ve done for other clients as well as talk to them personally. Honestly, we live in an email world, but meeting someone or getting on the damn phone to someone can help you decide whether or not this person really is right for you.
Essentially, a designer plans out the way the site looks and feels, and the developer makes it work in the way it’s supposed to. Yes, some people can do both, but always pick the person, people or team that suit your style, communication level and budget.
There you have it! Now, GO! HIRE!