Do Most WordPress Developers Charge Too Much?I have seen WordPress development costs range anywhere from $500 – $2,500+ for just a fairly simple website (a blog page and 1-3 inner page designs).
When you can get a professional looking WordPress theme for just $50-200 that comes with very simple options to customize the theme, is $2,000+ justified?
Before we can answer that, I’d like to share some stories with you.
Bad WordPress Developers – Overcharging and Underdelivering
I recently read an article on DIYthemes where Derek Halpern said, “I ended up paying a ton of money for a design that was unusable. It was so bad, in fact, that if I wanted someone else to use it, I would have had to bribe them…”
On that same article, Rebecca tells a story of how a client paid $30,000 for a mediocre site… at best.
In both of these stories, the client admitted to paying a lot for a design that they felt was not worth the money. Derek even says that it was so bad he couldn’t give it away!
If you read Rebecca’s comment she mentions how the site was hard to work with because everything was coded in PHP and there was no easy way to edit the stylesheet. I’m assuming that she means the styles were also included in the PHP.
Now, I don’t know what exactly happened in this story, but I can tell you this… Just because a person is a talented designer and they can build a beautiful, functional website, that does not mean they are a WordPress developer.
If you are paying $2,000+ for a WordPress developer, you want to have an amazing website. With any programming, there is a right and a wrong way to do things, and it takes a WordPress developer to correctly build your next WordPress site.
Good WordPress Developers – Overdelivering at a Premium Price
The issue here is not necessarily price. The issue is whether or not WordPress developers are delivering enough value for the price you are charged. The real answer here is that it depends.
The question you have to ask yourself is the developer delivering functionality that demands a $2,000+ price? I used to be surprised that Bill Erickson charges $2,500+ to do a Genesis based WordPress website (and that’s if you have the design already done). But, the more I read into his services, I realized that he provides amazing value.
Bill goes above and beyond by future proofing your website (this is one example). The idea here is that if there is any functionality that you want to maintain in the next version of your website, it needs to be factored out into a plugin.
Bill has also established himself as an experienced WordPress developer by contributing to the core code of both WordPress and Genesis as well as speaking at various WordPress functions.
Is Bill worth spending $2,500+ on for a website? If you can afford it, hell yes. That being said, I’d like to note that there are many WordPress developers that I consider great. I just happen to be most familiar with Bill.
If you’re willing to spend at least $1,000, and likely $2,000+, then you deserve to have a great WordPress developer. Great WordPress developers are well worth the money and will deliver a greater quality website than a WordPress developer that simply knows how to cut a template up into basic header, index, and footer files.
Here are some things to look for in a great WordPress developer:
- Properly enqueueing styles and scripts. This will ensure that styles and scripts are loaded at the right time as well as integrate better with plugins such as Better WordPress minify.
- Putting any custom functionality into a plugin instead of the WordPress theme. This is important for future redesigns.
- Delivering clean, light code that validates. Having a website without code bloat is very important for the page speed of your website, while validated code could reduce cross-browser inconsistencies.
- Recommending plugins that perform well. How many times have you installed a plugin that doesn’t function properly? A competent WordPress developer will know which plugins to use and which to stay away from.
How Can I Be Sure to Get a Great WordPress Developer?
WP Engine maintains a Favorite Consultants page where they list their top choices of consultants that provide services for your WordPress website. I recommend this as your first stop in finding a good WordPress developer.
WP Engine also runs a finely tuned consultant series where they interview top WordPress consultants. You can use this to get more information about prospective developers before you even approach them!
Before you hire any WordPress developer, be sure to ask them these questions:
- Can you provide references? A competent WordPress developer will gladly provide references and examples of his work.
- How long have you worked with WordPress? Although programmers learn at different rates, I would suggest that you look for a WordPress developer with 3+ years of experience. This is a guideline though, and not a hard and fast rule.
- What contributions have you made to the WordPress community? A rockstar WordPress developer will have made many contributions to the WordPress community, whether they are contributing to the core, or releasing a plugin or theme.
What Do You Think?
WordPress developers may be expensive, but are they worth the price? What is your experience with WordPress developers? Leave a comment below with your opinions.