HOW TO: Pick the Best WordPress Designer


How do you find and retain the best WordPress Designers?   WordPress, web software built by hundreds of community volunteers, to create websites and blogs, currently powers 14.7% of the top million websites in the world, up from just 8.5% last year, and the latest data shows that 22 out of every 100 new active domains in the US are running WordPress.

WordPress has over 15,000 plug-ins and has seen 200 million plug-in downloads. In the fastest upgrade in the platform’s history, WordPress 3.2, the latest version, had 500,000 downloads in the first two days according to a talk Matt Mullenweg, the original developer of WordPress, gave in August.

WordPress is easy to learn and easy to use, and has given rise to an exploding community of website designers and website developers who use the platform to build new sites for themselves and for their clients. But because this community of specialists is still so new, and because, at least based on my own analysis, demand for competency, professionalism and quality appears to outstrip supply, finding the best WordPress designers requires a working knowledge of the platform, the people and its pieces to hire to identify and retain the right specialists to get you up and running.

Voce Communications, which was purchased by Porter Novelli earlier this year, and which counts Matthew Podboy and Mike Manuel as key team members, has grown it’s business over the last few years and expanded its operation with the inclusion of web development as part of its portfolio of services, and most of the sites the build run on WordPress.

Voce Communications employs a full time team of WordPress experts and with us today to talk about hiring the best WordPress designer from Voce Communications WordPress Designer Jeremy Harrington (pictured right) and WordPress Developer Chris Scott, who have built dozens of high-profile WordPress sites for the agency’s clients, and they’re going to tell us everything we need to know to find and retain the best WordPress website designers.

WordPress Topics Discussed:

  • Advantages of WordPress over Joomla and Drupal and the extensive documentation on the framework that exists.
  • versus hosted sites: What are the advantages and drawbacks of either option, and how do you decide which one is right for you?
  • The difference between WordPress designers and WordPress developers, who does what and who do you need first?
  • How to hire the best WordPress Designers and the right questions to ask to identify the best WordPress Designers. One place to look for good WordPress Designers is
  • How to you hire the best WordPress Developers and the right questions to ask to identify the best WordPress Developers.
  • Have they contributed any patches to the WordPress core code?
  • Have the built and released any Themes?
  • Have they developed any Plug-Ins?
  • What’s their user name and what does their profile look like?
  • Have they answered any support questions in the forums on
  • Do they have any code samples they can share?
  • Ask specifics about what their hand was in the sites in their portfolio.
  • WordPress Themes, Premium WordPress Themes and WordPress Frameworks.
  • Finding the best WordPress themes by using the theme directory at:  Pay special attention to the featured themes on the main page, and the themes by popularity in the right-hand column.
  • How to upgrade a WordPress website and how to safely back-up a WordPress site prior to updating a site with
  • The advantages of premium themes like Genesis and Thesis.
  • WordPress Designers who focus on specific WordPress theme: Is it a better idea to go with a designer who works with a bunch of different themes, or are there advantages to hiring someone who specializes in one WordPress Theme?
  • The best WordPress Plug-Ins, how to pick them, where to find them ( and distinguishing between Plug-ins and Themes.
  • Deciding between whether to sue a WordPress Managed hosting services like, and WP Engine and WordPress Unmanaged hosting services, like DreamHost and Media Temple.
  • Migrating websites to WordPress without losing your search rank and the future of page rank, according to Jay Baer.
  • How to structure your agreement and what sort of benchmarks to build in.
  • Shout to Hyku blogger Josh Hallett.

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