Growing as WordPress Web Developer
One of the most complained topics by WordPress developers is the amount of money made out of WordPress projects or get a decent job as a web developer. Well in some aspects that is true. But if you are a WordPress developer, you might be at your own fault for this. Of course, WordPress is open source and there are many WordPress developers but in order to make a decent living, you have to be different and stand out of the crowd.
WordPress is relatively easy to learn and there are hundreds of plugins out there to do any type of work you want. But the question is do you call yourself a WordPress developer and also rely on bunch of plugins to do work. I have seen some developers using plugins to get a job done that can be done merely with few lines of codes. As a WordPress developer you must be familiar with core functions, know inside out of the framework/cms. After that you can take the best out of it.
Here, I will be sharing some interesting and valuable tips that will definitely help you grow as a better WordPress developer and target wider range of projects as a web developer.
1. Develop a Custom Theme
You should be able to write your own theme. Trust me it’s not hard to do so. Start by creating something simple and keep on learning more.
Imagine a custom theme like a custom car where you or your client get exactly what they want without any unwanted packages. Unlike premium themes, custom themes are light weight, loads faster and are better for user experience and hence boosts conversion.
2. Write Your Own Plugins
Don’t get me wrong there are hundreds of good plugins out there and I do use few of them as part of my development too.
But in cases where you need custom solution, think of writing your own rather than depending on some third party plugins. As with custom themes, custom plugins come with similar benefits.
3. Improve your Customer Service Skills
When you provide service, customer service in quite important. It is client who pays you and they need to be treated properly and professionally. Be upfront with client. Don’t over promise and under deliver. I have heard few cases where developers have gone into hiding without even completing their projects or handing unfinished projects.
If you are nice to clients, it works other ways too. And never undercount the chance of getting referred to future clients through the happy clients.
My suggestion is try to be good with clients, treat them properly and just be upfront with them.
4. Educate your client how versatile WordPress is
The opinion that WordPress isn’t secured and can’t handle decent sized project is just a myth. If I have to say, WordPress is really good as Content Management System that can easily handle project from small to medium scale.
I have heard few times, when people aren’t aware about how robust WordPress is, they tend to stay away. But if you know WordPress better it’s your job to get the specifications of the project and convince client what kind of results are achievable using WordPress. Show them the examples of the website built in WordPress and the results that were achieved using WordPress.
5. Learn Web Design
Web design can be a real fun. For me personally, I always wanted to learn web design. In the past few years, I have been able to design on my own. What really motivated and encouraged me was that I was able to sign off few web design projects with first design iteration or very few iterations.
So if you are interested to learn design and know your target niche, learning web design can be fun.
6. Learn SEO
Well SEO is part of any website if you ask me. Like with web design if you have passion SEO is learnable too.
I had chances to work with some of the best SEO in the industry and learn from them. SEO starts with getting basic things done right. Though I don’t call myself an SEO, I try to do things right and follow best practices suggested by Google for On Page Optimisation. If you want to go one step further try learning Off Page/Site SEO such as link building etc.
7. Pick up your niche and work for it
Whether you want to keep on working on premium themes and carry on customising or try to pick up custom development work and grow with it, it’s your decision. Whichever you want to do, choose it wisely.
For me, I chose custom WordPress development and got away from premium themes. My ideal project is all aboutfull stack development where I provide services from design to development and others such as server and cpanel managements.
Never Stop Learning
There is always a room for improvement and to add up new skills. For example I started to with simple designs for myself and now I can design website depending upon client requirement.
I have also started learning a PHP framework Laravel. Although it is unrelated to WordPress, but still it widens my skill sets. And other skill I have started to develop is using DSLR camera, as I think there will be more demand for good quality pictures or photography in near future.
So the bottom-line is, in order to survive the competitive market and to standout among the crowd, you need to be proactive to develop yourself and keep on adding new skill sets as required. There will always be someone doing lot better or worse than you. It is up to you to make smart decisions that will help you grow as a developer.
I am Robin - WordPress Developer based in Sydney. I work as Digital Developer. I do some projects now and then, and love blogging about WordPress and Web Design.