Getting ready to rebuild or build a website in WordPress? Then you need a reliable, skilled, and affordable WordPress website design agency! We’re all that and more at Charm School. But if you’d like to vet agencies yourself, here are our top tips for making the smartest choice.

How to Hire a WordPress Website Developer: 13 Things to Look for in a WordPress Website Design Agency

1. Experience

WordPress is an extremely user-friendly platform that allows most novice website developers to create beautiful websites. That’s part of its appeal! However, the user-friendly nature of WordPress means you could unknowingly hire a very junior WordPress website developer. Especially if you go the freelancer route.

Hiring a WordPress website design agency, on the other hand, will ensure your website developer is proficient in WordPress as well as code, best practices, and website building as a whole. A website design agency will know how to do more than simply plug copy and images into a template while falling short on other functionality needs.

To ensure your WordPress developer has enough experience for your website build, ask which platforms he or she builds in, what integrations they can do, and if they build custom or solely customized WordPress templates. This will give you a good idea of their skillset and years of experience.

2. Proven Track Record

Like you do for any employee, you should look for positive reviews and an extensive portfolio when hiring a WordPress website design agency. Read reviews. Look at website testimonials as well as Google reviews. Do your homework and investigate reviews on Facebook and in comments on social media posts. This will give you the full story of what it’s like to work with specific WordPress website design agencies.

3. Location and Size

If you live in the US, you probably want US-based website design agency. Often times, overseas or outsourced website development companies operate with weird hours. They often overlook details and operate more like a website farm. If you find a WordPress website development agency that’s super cheap, as where they’re based. It’s probably outside of America. Charm School is a 100% woman-owned, millennial-run, US-based WordPress website design agency. You’ll find us clocked in 9–6 EST every business day to make communication easy and timely.

The size of a website agency also matters. You want to ensure the agency has a big enough team to tackle emergency website needs like broken links or down sites. This happens with automatic plug-in updates and hosting issues. As long as the agency has three or more developers, you’ll be in good hands.

4. Website Pricing

Website pricing is a very important part of searching for the right website design agency! Ask your agencies how much it will cost to build a website. This is where it’s helpful to speak to multiple web design agencies so you can compare pricing.

Charm School is the Goldilocks of the web dev world. We offer affordable website design services that are just right. You won’t get super inexpensive bids that come with shoddy workmanship or price gouges that are simply unnecessary. Expect to spend $5,000–$8,000 for a quality customized WordPress template with an agency that’s responsive, skilled, and trustworthy.

5. Design and Developer Skillset

You should ask if your WordPress developer is more of a designer or a developer. They’re not one in the same! A designer will be more skilled in aesthetics, and a developer more proficient in functionality and code.

6. How Long it Takes to Build a Website on WordPress

How long will it take for your website developer to build your website? This varies drastically from agency to agency! Some are insanely slow—taking months. While others, like Charm School, can build a website in as little as one month! You never want to rush a website design project, so choose an agency that can operate on a realistic timeline that works for you both.

7. Longterm Needs Like Website Maintenance

Does your website design agency offer ongoing website maintenance? What about supportive marketing services?

When choosing the best WordPress website designer, think about longevity. It’s a huge time-saver to stick with one agency. Why? Because after a website build, they’ll already have login credentials, an intimate awareness of your website’s backend, knowledge of how you and your company operate, and other important details. When you choose a web design company that doesn’t offer anything else, you’ll have to start over with a marketing company. Do yourself a favor and set yourself up for a longterm relationship where you don’t have to repeat yourself or go through the time-consuming vetting process more than once!

8. Transparent Ownership and Contracts

We will shout this from the rooftops until the cows come home: YOU SHOULD ALWAYS OWN YOUR HOSTING, DOMAIN NAME, AND CMS! All reputable website development companies will insist you do. Others will gatekeep you leaving their agency by holding the keys to your hosting and charging you monthly for something you should outright own.

Not to mention, when you don’t own your own website hosting, you could fall victim to losing your website entirely. This has happened to numerous clients who come to us after a nightmare experience.

Contracts are another non-negotiable when hiring a website designer. You MUST get in writing what you’re paying for. This includes the number of pages the developer is in charge of building, rounds of revisions, image sourcing responsibilities, etc. Contracts ensure you will get what you pay for and protect you in case you need to go to small claims court or take legal action.

9. SEO Knowledge

Great WordPress website developers will be able to adhere to SEO best practices. Of course, you will need to hire an SEO strategist for extensive keyword research, content strategy, and SEO metadata implementation. However, a great WordPress website design agency will know about functionality issues that impact the health of your SEO. This includes site speed, load speed, image sizing, plug-in issues, mobile responsiveness, and the best plug-ins to improve your SEO. That way, they will design with all of this in mind so you end up with a functional website that will rank well in Google.

10. Predetermined Budget

Do not go with an agency that won’t give you a firm price based on exact deliverables! They’ll run up hours and it’ll become a runaway train of a project—and complete budget blower. Charm School always delivers firm pricing so there’s no guess work or surprise bills. We also always build out website design into phases too, tackling your priorities first and secondary asks later. This conserves budget for other marketing initiatives and prevents you from overspending on things you don’t need.

11. Adherence to Deadlines

Time is money—especially when that comes to your business website. By reading reviews, you’ll know if your website design agency sticks to deadlines. If they don’t, or their day to day communication lags, it’s a red flag.

That being said, the nature of website design is volatile. It’s a lot like renovating a house; once you open the walls, you never know what you’re going to find. However, a great WordPress designer will communicate set-backs and build unforeseen delays into the timeline so you avoid missed deadlines. That’s how we like to do it, anyways!

12. Open and Timely Communication

You shouldn’t have to wait more than one business day to hear back from your website designer. They should be organized, clear, and easy to communicate with. When you hire a WordPress website design agency versus a freelancer, you will have a project manager to ensure timely and clear communication.

13. Bedside Manner

You want a WordPress site developer who talks to you like a regular human—sans the unnecessary jargon. Make sure they take the time to explain things to you, so you’re on the same page. Of course, brush up on your common parts of a website and technical website development terms, so you know what to ask for.

There you have it: your complete guide to choosing the best WordPress designer for your website project. We hope you choose the very best option for your budget and needs. If that happens to be Charm School, reach out to set up your first free consultation! We can get you up in running in as little as a month with a beautiful and functional site.