In the land of WordPress, top web design firms are busy. I mean really busy. WordPress usage has grown so rapidly that the really good WordPress designers are in high demand and so busy that many have full project schedules. For us designers, it’s a beautiful thing. For our potential clients, not so much.
If you’re considering redesigning your website in WordPress, you’ll need a solid team to help execute the project. Because of the increasing demand, finding and retaining someone of quality will be more difficult as we move forward into 2013. I discuss this topic not to put all the responsibility on website owners, but to prepare them for the project ahead and to help provide a competitive edge when reviewing and interviewing potential design firms.
If you’ve tried calling some of the popular WordPress coders or design firms, you might quickly find yourself in voicemail. The use of voicemail is based on necessity and not one made by choice. Our phone rings all day long. We receive form submissions and emails all day long as well. We have full project calendars and lots of incoming leads for new prospects, so we tend to use voicemail and email to manage incoming opportunities. Knowing this and utilizing it to your favor is half the battle in grabbing really good coders and designers.
Five Tips for Grabbing the Top WordPress Designers
So what can you do to make sure you get the best WordPress design and coding talent? It’s really simple. If you only do five things, we will take note and you will have our attention. You’ll get fast turn around and your project will fly ahead at mock speed.
- Skip the phone and submit an online contact form. Your instinct is to call and discuss your project, but you’ll quickly realize this isn’t going to work in many cases. You may not be able to locate a phone number and if you do, you’ll be pushed into voice mail. Remember we want to chat, but we have time constraints so many of us will save the conversation until we’ve done a cursory review to verify we’re a potential fit for your needs. Send us a contact form and give us the some of the key points of your project. That way we can quickly see if we’re a potential fit and we can establish a time to talk live.
- Know your ducks and get them in a row. If you have your ducks in a row to start with, the best firms will jump on you quickly and make room for you in their project calendar. We love nothing more than to have a client who knows exactly what they want and can articulate what they need. Last week we launched a website for just one of those clients. It was a positive experience for them and for us. On Friday the client said he had three calls from the website in just one day and that had never happened before. That is a win for our client and for me personally. We want to do a good job and we want your project to be a success. We need your ducks in a row so we can get our ducks marching right along with you.
- Know the difference between a WordPress want and need. That may seem silly, but we receive a lot of emails that ramble on and on about functionality that the person really doesn’t need. We will base our fit, project timing, and our costing estimate on this long list of functionality. After a second email or a phone call, the sender admits half of the list of wants really isn’t needed. The original email will say they’re “thinking about this” or “thinking about that” and want to know what it might cost and how long it might take. For me reading the words “thinking” or “what do you think” is a red flag. It tells me the sender doesn’t really have a solid project scope and that makes it difficult on us, because we really can’t begin to formulate a proposal or even know if we’re a possible fit. Knowing that you need strong SEO is important because it tells me we are potentially a really good fit. It helps me estimate a number of hours needed to execute the project. Knowing you might want to add in a forum in three years is not needed or relevant. Focus on what you need today and we’ll make sure we can provide a short project timeframe and a reasonable estimate.
- If you’re on a micro design budget, let us know. This will prevent frustration on both ends. We all have entry-level price points for custom design websites. It will vary based on what is included in the web design package, but a baseline exists nonetheless. A true custom WordPress theme is not $250, but more like $2,500. Knowing you have a firm budget of $500 will help us steer you away from a completely custom theme and more in the right direction, even if that isn’t with us. I created our theme store to sell stock WordPress themes to help those people who were on a tight budget. It’s worked great. If you can’t afford our full custom design package, we still want to help you. I’ll suggest a theme that may work with some minor modifications and that will still fit within your budget. If that won’t work, then we both know we are not a fit. That saves you time in your search and saves me time too.
- Don’t wait until the week before launch to look for designers. Again you may think this is a silly suggestion, but it is based on lots and lots of real-world emails. Time slips away from people and before they know it, they have a book coming out in two weeks and no website to go along with it. As much as I want to be your hero and save the day, I cannot create a custom website for you in two weeks. It takes two weeks just to flesh out the design with the graphic artist. Good design backed by solid coding will take a minimum of four weeks. Optimizing the content for SEO will take even longer. Plan ahead to get the most out of your money.
The beautiful part of WordPress is that it is backed by a community of talented people who literally love WordPress. The vast majority of us really want to share our love of WordPress with the world and convert the entire world to WordPress. We want to help you and we want to make your web design project a success. We’re just a little quirky (we’re coding and marketing nerds after all) and we’re really busy. Don’t let our quirks and our full project calendars derail your project. Just use it to your advantage and you’ll have me and the other design firms jumping to help you out.