How to choose your web designer

Choose a WordPress Web developer

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Automaticc, WordPress creators

Almost nobody knows Automaticc, which is however one of the most important Web players in the world, and for good reason: it created WordPress which represents 40% of the websites on the planet. Automaticc was created in 2005 by the computer programmer Matthew Mullenweg, who is still in charge. In addition to WordPress, the company owns Tumblr, Gravatar, Woocommerce and of course wordpress.com. On the platform you can create your own WordPress, but in the free version the possibilities are very limited since it is not possible to install plugins, which is precisely what makes WordPress so interesting. You must therefore either subscribe to WordPress.com or install it on the host of your choice. A very simple operation because they all have a one-click installation.

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Beware of hidden costs

Without plugins, WordPress is an excellent blogging platform but with the bare minimum for everything else: very limited SEO features, no multilingual support… it lacks almost everything. Fortunately, there are tens of thousands of free extensions to fill its gaps. Even Woocommerce, which is used by millions of websites, is free. However, if you are more demanding and need advanced functions, the bill climbs very quickly, with premium extensions costing between 70 and 100 euros per year, sometimes much more. It is therefore better to find out beforehand and calculate your annual bill, which can very quickly rise to a thousand dollars per year.

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Why a professional

If it is quite possible to create an excellent WordPress site by yourself, the advantage of using a web developer is that he will be able to advise you the best extensions for your project, without necessarily being the most expensive. If the developer’s rates are reasonable, you may well save money. As for asking questions in a forum asking “what is the best plugin” because the members don’t know what your exact needs are, unlike a web designer who will make a precise mapping of your needs. At least if it is a good developer. Web development is a bit like a suit: you can buy it at H&M or hire a tailor.

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Design: methodology and development

Most of the time, the design is done on the fly: you show your developer a site you like, and you ask him to be inspired by it to create your website. This is the fastest and cheapest solution, and is satisfactory in many cases, especially if you have taste and a minimum of technical knowledge. However, it is not forbidden to be rigorous and methodical: the designer will then design a “branding sheet” including the logo, the color codes, the fonts and the H1 to H5 tags. The next step is to create a mockup. This is sometimes done with a software, for example Photoshop. But nowadays web builders like Divi or Elementor are so powerful that we can go much faster by developing a real HTML page which will be very close to the final result, so no bad surprises: what you see is what you get. Personally, this is the approach I prefer: branding sheet, then HTML mockup.

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Choose your WordPress developer

This is not a given. The first step is obviously to look at his website: if it’s ugly, if it’s slow, or if it’s limited to a page or two, go elsewhere. You can ask for a portfolio, without having the assurance that he is the author of all the sites. Unfortunately, this is quite common. The other problem is the bogus design agency that will take your money and subcontract to an Indian developer who is paid five dollars an hour. You’ll see many such ads on Upwork. The ideal solution is still to rely on word of mouth, but if that is not possible then it all depends on your needs: a big agency will handle the SEO, the development, the online advertising, the maintenance… But the price will be astronomical. Hiring someone like me, on the other hand, is the guarantee of a unique interlocutor who will fully realize your project, for a much more measured budget.