Your business works like a machine.
There are different units, each with its unique role. You spend a lot of time & energy assembling them. And the whole thing is only successful if all parts work together cohesively.
The right WordPress development company is a gear that fits perfectly into this machine. One that is not only good at what they do but also get your business goals!
This checklist helps you pick out a great WordPress development partner. It starts right from the ‘google-research’ phase to when you have an estimate in hand.
Initial Research Checklist
Google is usually where most people start their search. Just the company’s website is a great source for almost all the information you need. Here are a few things to look for in particular:
1. Check for expertise in WordPress
It’s good to have a company that specializes in WordPress. But if it doesn’t, always investigate how extensively they work in WordPress. How many projects have they worked on? Is their portfolio diverse? Do they take more advanced, big-scale projects?
2. Ensure that they are an established company
For every WordPress development company, especially ones overseas, do a cursory background check. See when they were established, how long they’ve been working in WordPress, and how big the company is.
3. See if they have experience & expertise working in your domain
Say you have an eCommerce website that uses WordPress. You will want to hire a wordpress development company that has worked in eCommerce before.
4. Go through their portfolio and check for similar projects
Do a deep dive into their portfolio. Find and read about projects that are in the same line as yours. Also, see if they’ve handled projects this size before.
Bonus: See if they have developed WordPress products. It shows that they can be innovative with solutions and speaks to their expertise.
5. Read the testimonials
The testimonial featured on websites will of course be positive. But look for testimonials that can help you get a better sense of their work ethic. Also if they mention problem-solving skills, quick response time, dedication to clients’ projects.
6. Check if reviews not on their website are consistent with this
Look for company reviews outside of their website. Are they mostly consistent with the reviews on their website?
7. Look for contributions to WordPress core and/or a Github profile
This shows that they are an active part of the WordPress community. Their Github profile can give an insight into their quality of work.
8. Determine if they can deliver your desired outcomes
Before you shortlist companies, always spend some time outlining your desired outcomes.
To give you an idea, a rough list can look like:
- Custom user interface
- More payment gateways
- Better design & flow for the shop page
- Fast loading website
- Long term partnership
- Support after launch
The more extensive this list the better. It’s always better to contact the company to know if they can fulfill these requirements. But you can gauge a good idea of what a company can handle from the projects they’ve worked on.
Discussion Phase Checklist
Once the WordPress development company passes the initial screening, the next step is where you reach out to them. Here are a few things to check for in those initial discussions.
9. Note if they have a quick response time
If a company responds to your initial query promptly that’s a good sign. A company that is reachable and actively responds is always plus.
10. Ask them questions about their older projects
Always talk to the company about the projects that you found interesting. What was their approach with that project, their experience, if they did all the work in-house?
11. Ask for references, reach out to them
You can always ask for references. Hearing about other people’s experiences is always beneficial. You can even do this independently on groups or forums.
12. Check if the approach they suggest is informed and tailored to you
A good company will spend adequate time asking questions and understanding your problem. And then suggest the approach that works best for you. It’s important that you approve of this approach. They should have clarity on how to develop a website that is tailored to your business.
13. See if their standard development process covers all bases
The standard process differs from company to company. Make an effort to fully understand theirs. And make sure you find it up to the mark.
14. Ensure that they use you preferred communication method
This depends on your needs. You may want to collaborate over email or a project management tool. Maybe you like to ask questions as they arise, so an open chat line would be important.
15. Discuss the point of contact, turnaround time and frequency of check-ins
The unresponsive company is a nightmare. Having someone who is answerable to you, and who is reachable, can help mitigate that fear. If you prefer to talk to the developers directly without a middle man, that can be your criterion.
Also, ask about their usual response time and how frequently they will update you. Make sure this is satisfactory to you.
16. Check if they take measure to ensure security
Security is always a concern in the WordPress space. The company should have guidelines in place for securing user data, adding 2-step authentication, etc.
17. Ensure adherence to WordPress coding standards
Discuss code quality and the testing process that they follow.
18. Check if they provide adequate support
There might be issues and doubts that arise after the launch. Companies usually have a support period of a few months after your website goes live.
19. Discuss documentation & briefing the internal team
The internal team would need to be brought up to speed post-launch – how to add new content, maintenance, and management, etc. Will the company provide adequate documentation, or have a session with someone from the team?
Decision Phase Checklist
Once the initial discussions about requirements are done, the company draws up an effort and estimate document. This gives you an idea of what work will go into it the project and an estimated cost. Based on this you can decide whether or not you want to work with them. There are a couple of things you should keep in mind here.
20. Check if the project development aligns with your timeline
Make sure it reaches deadlines satisfactorily and is in line with the timeline you had in mind.
21. Make sure you’re not way over budget. Keep a margin for any unexpected costs.
Money matters at the end of that day. Ensure that the project would be within budget. The estimate can differ from the actual cost, so always keep a margin. Also, ask about any additional charges.
22. Ensure that there’s a balance of expense and quality of work
While cost is a concern for most, the important thing is not to get a cheaper estimate. But the quality of the work and the value that you’re getting should justify the expense.
This checklist is here to help you not miss anything important. The final decision is yours and can depend on other factors too. Just be sure to pick a company that is a development partner in your business and not just an agency you outsource work too.
If you have any questions or anything to add please do leave us a comment. 🙂