Every man and his dog is apparently a WordPress developer today and it’s easy to understand why everyone wants to be.
WordPress has become a very popular platform in recent years. It has grown to become the most popular Content Management System (CMS) on the internet and powers more than 43% of websites in the world.
The trouble is, there are so many people claiming to be WordPress developers when they are not qualified to do so.
You are not a WordPress expert after setting up 1 blog post WordPressWiz46.
In fact you are just a flipping idiot.
Let’s talk about how we can sort out the dummies from the experts. Here are 5 things to look out for when commissioning a WordPress agency to build your website.
1. Page builders
Dis-gus-ting. Now people like page builders because they are easy to use and very flexible but if you are serious about performance and SEO they should be avoided at all costs. No successful website is built off the back of a cheap, tacky, and lazy foundation. Developers using page builders are very dodgy in my eyes. Unless there is a valid reason why it is being used, they should know better than to use them.
Why you should avoid:
- They serve up unnecessary styles and scripts which reduce performance.
- Inability to make global stylesheet and content changes (This is a biggie)
- Poor semantic markup.
- Developers using page builders likely don’t have expansive knowledge about on-page SEO.
- Poor overall page speed performance
How to sniff out a page builder developer
It’s easy to sniff out websites using page builders when you know where to look.
To check if a website is using either of these;
- Navigate to a website within the developer’s portfolio
- Right click
- Click “View Page Source” within the dropdown
- You are looking for any code within that page that contains these set of characters “et_”, “elementor_” or “wpb_”
If you are still not sure whether they are using a page builder, you can always ask what method they use before the project goes ahead.
2. A portfolio with low page speed
Page Speed is one of the most (if not, the most) important factor to consider when working on any website. It plays a huge role in your SEO so all developers need to have this in mind when building a website. Slow websites can be caused by many different reasons but the most common one is poorly developed code.
The thing is, developers can achieve the same thing in a thousand different ways, although there are better ways than others. What makes a good web developer is being about do something with the smallest amount of code and dependencies which ultimately results in better performance.
It’s easy to check page speeds with Google’s PageSpeed Insights. You would find on this site, that it has a perfect 99 on desktop and mobile. This basically means that my website is faster than 99% of websites on the internet regardless of all of the fancy functionality I have throughout it.
3. Websites that aren’t mobile friendly
This is quite an obvious one but it’s also very important. Make sure your developer’s portfolio includes mobile-friendly optimizations. A website could look great on a desktop but it might be a pile of crap on mobile.
Google recently introduced “Mobile-first indexing” which means that it will predominantly use the mobile version of a site’s content. It is more important than ever to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
4. A ridiculous number of plugins
Plugins can offer advanced functionality very fast and effectively. They can be useful in a lot of situations. I have developed some very useful plugins myself which I use from day to day. However, you may find that there are some developers who use a plugin for absolutely everything and they have very little ability to develop things themselves.
Whats wrong with this approach? The list goes on;
- They can serve up unnecessary scripts and styles reducing performance.
- It is hard to manage a site with more than 20 plugins. You can easily lose track of what plugin is doing what.
- You might not be able to achieve exactly what you would like. Plugins have out-of-the-box functionality and offer quite a bit of flexibility but there is a limit to them. Your developer might tell you that something can’t be achieved if a plugin doesn’t offer it.
- Plugins can conflict with each other – This basically means that the functionality from 1 plugin is the same as another which results in a fatal error.
- They can be expensive.
5. Code Compiling
Code compiling briefly means that you translate from one coding language to another. This is a very common thing to do outside of WordPress and it is extremely useful as it means we developers can often do things faster.
Now when it comes to WordPress – I have a very different opinion. In general, it is not needed.
The problem is, developers, struggle to transition between using code compilers and not using them. So they just use them anyway even though it is not best for the client.
Hire me instead
If you’re serious about working with WordPress and delivering real results get in touch with me. I have an expansive skillset and genuine experience with the WordPress CMS.