So, you want to launch a company blog. Congratulations! A blog is a great way to present yourself to the public, and to share information about your business and your industry. The big challenge for you now is to get that site up and running.
One of the most popular blogging platforms available today is WordPress. It’s an open-source platform that can be tweaked and customized with themes and plugins in just about any creative way you can imagine.
That said, if you aren’t secure in your coding skills, or if you have a complex layout in mind for your blog, then you may need to enlist the services of a professional developer. Whether you want something clean and simple or fancy and flashy, here are some suggestions to help you find the right person to make your company blog a reality.
Know What You’re Looking For
Before you begin your search for a WordPress professional, you should have a clear idea of what you need. Are you looking for someone to work with the databases and functionality of your site? Or do you want someone who can can modify your blog’s presentation and appearance? The former requires more of a developer, whereas the latter is typically the job of a designer. Some people are proficient at both, but not every developer will have design skills.
The next step is to do your research. Scope out other blogs to see what styles you like the best. Think about what your blog will offer readers and what it should achieve for your company. Since WordPress is open-source software, it has many options for customization. If you have a clear idea of what you want, the developing process will be faster and cheaper.
Another important piece of information is your budget. Depending on the skill level of your developer and the complexity of the work, you could wind up paying from $40 an hour to a flat rate in the thousands. Keep in mind that a polished blog is an investment for your business, and top-notch developers are a hot commodity. That’s not to say you can’t find a good deal, but in most cases you’ll get what you pay for.
Go the Corporate Route
A Google search for “web development company” yields millions of hits, so sorting through the field can seem daunting. Several websites offer ratings and reviews of these businesses. Browse some of those sites to get an idea of which companies are the best web partners. One example is Topseos.com, which has vendor listings for companies offering web services, including web development. Narrow down your searches by location or web specialty.
There are pros and cons to working with a professional web development firm. The main benefit is that you’ll be working with developers who can handle large, complex projects and still deliver great quality. These firms are more likely to have a range of services available, so if you need development and design work, or want a mobile app in addition to a website, this is a good option. The downside is price. All those perks come with a hefty price tag, putting professional development firms out of reach for most small businesses.
Find a Freelancer
The main benefit of a freelance developer is the cost — an individual will almost always come cheaper than a professional development firm. There are several websites that specialize in connecting employers with freelancers, including elance.com, freelancer.com, vWorker.com, and odesk.com. This approach may require some upfront costs; these sites usually charge a small fee to list your job, browse available portfolios, or contract a freelancer.
Each freelancer site has its own rules and protections for both employers and contractors. Be sure to read the terms of service to make sure you pick the most appropriate freelancer. Keep in mind that you can assemble an entire blog team through these websites. You can not only find a developer, you can contract a designer, writers, and editors as well.
Search Through the WordPress Family
Why not go straight to the source? Automattic, a company that includes several WordPress creators on its team, runs a website called Code Poet that offers resources to WordPress professionals. While the bulk of the site is only available to members, it does have a public directory. Enter your location, desired specialty and budget to see the portfolios from the cream of the crop. Listings include both individual developers and web development firms.
Another option is to peruse the forums on the WordPress site. One section is focused on helping WordPress users organize meetups in specific cities. This can be a great way to find developers in your area if you’re interested in hiring someone who’s local. Browsing the forums will also give you a better background of what goes into the creation of a WordPress site.
Get the Word Out by Networking
Whether you want to work with an individual or a firm, you can make use of the same channels you would use to find a job to find your WordPress partner. Get the word out on social media that you’re going to launch a blog and that you need a developer. That’ll start some early buzz among your fans, and some of them may have the skills to help you out.
Also, other businesses that are connected to you on Twitter or Facebook will likely have past experience with developers and may be able to offer recommendations.
You don’t have to stick with professional contacts for successful networking. Chat with your friends, neighbors, and casual acquaintances. You may only be two degrees of separation away from a great developer. You won’t know until you ask.
Got advice for businesses looking for a WordPress developer? Let us know in the comments below