How to hire a WordPress membership site developer

Finding a good WordPress developer can be a difficult task, especially if you have never worked with a good developer before.
It can also be a risky thing since you will invest your hard-earned money. But don’t worry, there are certain rules that you can apply to increase the chance of hiring the right membership site developer for your project.

Where Can You Find A Good WordPress Membership Site Developer?

There are many places on the internet that you can use to find WordPress developers. Unfortunately, not all of them have offer great service and oftentimes you can end up working with somebody who is not a pro.

Here are some of the places that you can look for:

  • Local Companies. Regardless of where you live, there will almost always be local WordPress development companies in your area. The easier way to find them is to simply do a google search for “WordPress developer near me” or “WordPress designer near me”. Or, you can include your city name directly in the search. For instance, if you live in New York, you can search for WordPress Developer New York or “WordPress Developer NYC” You can also ask your friends or other business owners in your area to refer you to somebody who they’ve worked with. If they know a good WordPress developer that they’ve worked with, talk to them first as you can trust them more.

  • Online Job Boards/Freelance Websites. There are a lot of job board websites on the internet where you can find good developers. The problem is that most of them don’t test the freelancers before they let them enter the platform. That’s why I’ve decided to split these websites into 2 categories: websites that test their developers before they let them join and websites that don’t. Here are some of the websites that offer pre-vetted developers: Codeable, TopTal, Fiverr Pro. Expect these sites to charge you higher rates than regular job-board websites because they offer higher quality.
    And here are other websites that don’t test their developers: Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.com, PeoplePerHour, and many others. It doesn’t necessarily mean that if you go to those websites that you won’t find good developers. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of good ones on Upwork for example. It just means that the risk of hiring the wrong person increases as there are more “bad apples” that you can pick.

  • Online Communities. Online communities like relevant Facebook groups can be a great place to find trusted developers and professionals. Ideally, you should look for groups around online courses and membership sites. Alternatively, if you plan on using a specific plugin or a technology, you can also look for groups around that. Once you join that group, you can ask people for recommendations or just look around to see who is helpful, knowledgable, and helps others.

  • Partnership Directories. Speaking of specific software or plugins, they sometimes have a partnership directory where they list service providers that they recommend. Those companies and developers typically specialize in their software and have a proven track record. Here are a few of them: LifterLMS Experts Directory, RestrictContentPRO Consultants, PaidMembershipPro Developers Directory. If you know which plugin you are going to be using, it is a good idea to check if they have a developer’s directory and see if there are good developers out there.

  • Google Search. Another way to find a good WordPress membership site developer is to simply search for it on Google. Some of the search terms that you can use are: “WordPress membership site designer”, “WordPress membership site developer”, “Membership site designer”, “Membership site developer”, “Done for you membership sites”. Or, if you’re using a specific plugin like LifterLMS or LearnDash, you can search for “LifterLMS developer”, LearnDash developer or “LifterLMS customization expert”, “LearnDash customization expert”. Using the search terms above, you can find developers who specialize in membership sites. Keep in mind that they will likely not be from your area, so you may need to adjust to their timezone.

Looking For A Membership Site Developer?

Feel free to contact me to discuss your project. No obligations, no sales pitches.

The Difference Between Membership Site Developer And Membership Site Designer

Before we move forward, I think that it’s important to understand the difference between a membership site developer and a membership site designer. While there is a significant overlap, there are some major differences between the two.

First of all, who is a Membership Site Designer? A Membership site designer is a person that can design and (in most cases) build you a simple yet beautiful membership site. Typically they will pick a pre-made theme, adjust it to your needs, and build simple pages like Home, About, Register, Login, Membership Area/Dashboard page, and others. They will also install and configure membership or e-learning plugins for you as long as the configuration process isn’t too complex.

However, what most membership site designers can’t do is they can’t build complex and custom features on your website since those typically require programming skills.

A Membership site developer, on the other hand, is someone who knows how to program and write custom code. If you need to integrate your website with a CRM, add custom pieces of functionality that regular plugins don’t offer, or even adjust the existing plugins – then you will need to work with a Membership site developer.

Now, that doesn’t mean that a membership site developer won’t be able to create a simple and beautiful membership site or that a membership site designer can’t code. However, in most cases, the main difference is that a membership site designer will be able to create a more visually appealing and modern looking website than a membership site developer. And a membership site developer will be able to develop more complex features on your site or make certain plugins work better together.
That’s not always the case, but that’s typically the difference.

What Should I Look For When Hiring A Membership Site Developer?

As I mentioned earlier in this article, not all developers that will come your way will be a good fit. There certain things that you need to look for before you hire the right person:

  • Is He/She a Specialist? Is the person that you’re looking for a specialist when it comes to building membership sites? I can tell you right now that most of the people that you will talk to will NOT specialize in just membership sites. That doesn’t mean that they can’t do the job right. They may have worked with membership sites before, but right now they offer a wide range of services. However, it’s always better to work with someone who is a specialist. They usually stay on top of the latest technology updates, have more knowledge and experience working with membership sites, and will get the job done more efficiently.
    The flip side is that specialists typically charge more.

  • Communication. One of the things that makes a project successful is communication between you and your developer. Unfortunately, there are some developers who use technical language oftentimes and are difficult to understand. If that’s the case, don’t be shy and ask your developer to explain things in a simple way. If it’s hard to communicate with the developer that you’re considering hiring, it may be a good idea to move on and try to find another person.

  • Testimonials and Case Studies. Social proof is extremely important when it comes to hiring the right person. Ask your candidates to share case studies of their previous or and testimonials from real clients. You can even reach out to their previous clients and talk to them about their experience working with your candidate. Also, make sure that you check out their case studies. Take a close look at how they describe their process, the challenges that they were presented with, and how they overcame them. If listed, take a look at the technologies that they’ve used. If the project in a case study is a similar one to the project that you have in mind, then you’re likely in good hands.

  • Budget. And last but not least is your budget. From my experience, I can tell that it’s going to be hard to find a good WordPress membership site developer for a budget lower than $2-3k unless you have a very simple job in mind that won’t take longer than a couple of days or so. Yes, you can find cheaper developers, but keep in mind that often if you go lower with the price, the risk of hiring the wrong person increases. Specialists and experienced developers charge higher because they know their worth. And most inexperienced developers charge less because they’re new or not confident that they can deliver good work. That’s why the lower you go with prices, the number of options (and bad options) increases.
    If you’re not sure in your developer, start with a smaller task for a smaller fee first to test them out. You don’t have to commit to huge amounts right at the start. If the developer does a good job, then the probability that he will build a good membership site for you increases.

How Do I Know If I Should Hire A Membership Site Developer Or Do The Project On My Own?

It’s a good question that doesn’t have 1 exact answer for every situation. There will always be advantages and disadvantages to each side. However, there are some questions that you can answer to see if hiring a WordPress developer will be the right choice for you:

  • The complexity of your membership site. If your site is relatively simple, you may be able to do it yourself and be successful with it. Being a non-techy person it can be hard to tell how simple or complex your project can be. In order to find that out, you can try to go to relevant Facebook groups and other online forums, list your requirements and ask members how difficult it can be to build something similar. Secondly, if you can find one (or multiple) tutorials online that show you how to build a membership site that is very similar to yours, then likely it’s not going to be that difficult and you can probably do it on your own.
    On the other hand, sometimes you may need help from the expert in order to make sure that your theme is compatible with your membership plugin or even to make sure that you have the right plugins in your mind to accomplish your goal. If that’s the case and you’re at the beginning stages of your project, you may want to consider having a consultation call with somebody who is an expert. In many cases, they can guide you and give you the right roadmap for the project that you can then use to build your membership site yourself.
    Alternatively, you can also always go to online communities and ask people what plugins and themes you can use to build your membership site.

  • Your time. Sometimes, you may be very busy running your business that it will cost you a lot if start building the site yourself and start learning how to do it. If that’s the case and your time is too valuable, it’s a good idea to find someone who can build a membership site for you.

  • Deadlines and risks. If you have a strict or a tight deadline that you can’t miss, it can be too risky to build the membership site on your own. Alternatively, you can also be in a situation where you need the website to be configured properly the first time because you have a big launch and can’t afford to make a bad first impression on your members. In those cases, I would highly recommend that you try to find a good developer for your project and pay them to do the work.

  • Your budget. Obviously, money is always going to be a consideration. If you have to pay your last money or take a loan from your bank to pay somebody, then DON’T hire a developer unless you’re 100% sure that your business idea will work and that you will be able to pay your dues very soon. As a matter of fact, it may not even be the right time for you to start a membership business.
    On the other hand, if you can afford to invest, I would recommend that you at least talk to different freelancers and agencies to see what they offer and what price range you have to be in to make this project work.

How To Make Sure That The Project Will Be A Success?

Just like with any project, things can go sideways. However, there are certain rules that you can follow to mitigate the risk.

  • Have Clear Requirements. One of the worst things that you can do is to not know your requirements and not have a vision for your site. How are you going to achieve your goal if you don’t even know what it looks like?
    Even if you work with a world-class developer, they can’t read your mind. You need to describe everything that you need specifically. Create a Google Doc with a detailed list of your requirements. Include images from other sites to illustrate your points. Or just use a whiteboard to draw your ideas, take pictures of those and add them to the document (just make sure that they are clear and readable). Don’t be afraid to state things multiple times and make sure that your developer understands your requirements.

  • Set Your Expectations Right. You have to set your expectations right when you’re just starting a project. Don’t be unreasonable and don’t expect to get a complex membership site built in a week or even a month. Also, don’t think that it will be enough to invest $2k to build a new Patreon or Facebook. Those are unreasonable expectations. If you have a good developer, trust him. He is more knowledgable and can help you understand what amount of time and money you will need to invest to get a project like yours done. Also, don’t change your requirements mid-project. Communicate everything to your developer before the project starts even if you think that a particular feature may not be a big problem. Sometimes, those small edits can be difficult to introduce mid-project and may cost you an extra to add them.

  • Communication Is Key. Arrange a weekly (or 2 per week) call with your developer to keep you posted on the process. You can even use a project management tool like GitLab, Asana, or Trello to keep track of progress and communicate about certain issues.
    Work with your developer to set project milestones and split the job into multiple phases. Those are much easier to manage and measure.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A WordPress Developer?

On average, good WordPress developers charge anywhere from $50-150/hour. If your developer can give you a fixed price, I would say that you should expect to pay $3-$8k for a WordPress membership site if you work with a freelance developer. If you work with an agency, the prices will likely be higher.

My tip is to get a fixed price for a project from your developer to make sure that you won’t run over the budget. In order to do that, you will need to have a clear set of requirements. If you need to change things mid-project, you can do that, but oftentimes those will cost you extra, so be prepared for that.

With that said, it’s important to mention that the prices above are just a rough estimate. You can find cheaper or more expensive prices on the market. Sometimes, if you live in an inexpensive area or country, you can find a local developer who can provide quality work for a cheaper price.

On the other hand, for big projects, you will likely need to work with an agency with a dedicated project manager to manage the requirements and deadlines. In those cases, you will have to spend much higher prices.

Conclusion

As you can see, it’s not easy to find a good WordPress membership site developer for your project. However, there are rules and guidelines that you can follow to make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Looking For A Membership Site Developer?

Feel free to contact me to discuss your project. No obligations, no sales pitches.

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