It seems a new professional title is being thrown around out there, “WordPress Consulting” is now turning into a hot profession, and knowing the ins and outs of this amazing software can lead to a full time job.
Claiming the title myself, I decided to specify what this means to me.
A WordPress consultant is – in the most simple form – a WordPress expert, with a skill-set branching off into different areas of internet marketing. They sleep, eat, and dream WordPress. Okay, that may be a bit carried away, but the truth is, when it comes to anything, working with an expert in the field is how you get your business or skills to next level.
Huge companies, higher education institutions, and government agencies utilize WordPress as a platform for their website including, but certainly not limited to:
- Wall Street Journal Blogs
- The Rolling Stones
- CNN Business Blogs
- Estee Lauder
- 500 Startups
- Harvard Gazette Online
- Dave Mathews Band
In-fact, companies both large and small are switching over to WP for various reasons.
The need for experts is ever-growing.
WordPress may be “easy to use”, but if you are looking to utilize the full power of WordPress, require advanced functionality, or simply do not want to deal with any of it… and be rest assured that everything is running at top notch, then checking into WordPress consultants may be for you.
Although WordPress has been around since early 2003, the demand for WordPress Consultants has caught on and is steadily increasing. Over time, more people started using WP, and as the platform grew to be more of a CMS platform – rather than a basic blogging solution.
With a new and growing industry like this – and with more and more websites moving over to the WordPress platform – its no wonder experts in the industry are stepping forward to feed the demand.
So What Can a WordPress Consultant Do For You?
Those who call themselves by this title may be able to offer a number of skills and guidance. Quite often, they have a background in web-design & development, custom scripting(php, css, html, js and more), internet marketing, and general business skills. This obviously varies by the specific consultant or firm that you are working with. Most importantly, they specialize in WordPress, both on the front-end and back-end.
They know how WordPress works and how to make it work for you.
Design – Are you looking for a custom theme design or modifications to an existing theme? This is no place for a novice, and getting the right direction as to reliable WordPress developers can save you a tremendous amount of time and future problems. A WordPress Consultant will be able to assess your needs, and either be able to provide you with the service, or point you in the right direction of some qualified candidates for the job. These guys (and gals!) are usually very active in the WordPress community, and familiar with the system inside and out…but if they cannot directly help you, they’ll personally know someone who can.
Security – Web security is in a league of its own, but more importantly, WordPress specific issues are a beast of another nature. Although extremely secure… poor configuration, lack of maintenance and other loop-holes can let the bad guys in. When this happens, you’re in trouble, and your business or image will likely take a hit. WordPress Consultants are generally very knowledgeable about the current and past vulnerabilities, what to lookout for, how to be proactive in protecting your site, and even be able to assist and recover if you were to get hacked. This is an area that you do not want to leave in the hands of a beginner, or yourself.
SEO – WordPress preaches “great seo capabilities” out of the box, and it does – but having dense knowledge about both WordPress AND seo can provide great results beyond your expectations. Ensuring everything on your site is configured correctly, as well as making sure your other online efforts are properly connected is extremely important when trying to rank well in search engines, and get ahead of your competition. Just installing an SEO plugin does not solve anything. A WordPress Consulting expert would be experienced in all aspects of seo, and the constant changes that are made to the algorithms to ensure you get to the top of search engine results, and stay on top.
Speed – Speeding up your WordPress site is not always an easy task. There are many variables, and techniques that can greatly improve the performance of your website. A fast loading website not only keeps your visitors happy(and on your site), but search engines are beginning to take “page load time” into a ranking factor. Optimizing the websites resources, ensuring the cleanest code, and managing which plugins should or shouldn’t be used and how to use them most efficiently is something you definitely want to leave up to a WordPress specialist.
Hosting Recommendations – Hosting your WordPress site isn’t as easy as signing up for a $3/month shared hosting package and forgetting about it. Well it is if you aren’t concerned with security, accessibility, and growth. Shared hosting can be great for a first website, and if set up with best practices in mind. A WordPress consultant will be able to give you the best recommendations for hosting your WordPress driven site depending on your specific requirements and future plans.
Deep analytics & Conversion optimization – Getting visitors to your website is only half the battle. Ensuring those visitors are turning into customers or potential business relationships is very important. A WP Consultant is usually quite savvy on how visitors do and should interact with your website. They can take the data extracted from your analytics program, draw a hypothesis, and apply some intelligent changes to your website that will help your overall engagement and conversion rate. WordPress experts know which tools integrate best to provide this type of analysis, and be able to effectively apply changes to advance your website.
Ongoing care & maintenance – Do you want to perform maintenance on your vehicle yourself? Well, maybe if your a car fanatic, but if you are, pretend you’re not here. Would you want someone who specializes in working on a Kia to be working on your BMW? No. Same rule applies here. There is mandatory maintenance and software updates that are imperative to your websites health. Inexperienced web designers or those unfamiliar with WordPress can create some serious complications when trying to modify or maintain your WP site. If you consulted with a WordPress expert from the beginning, this process would be less painful. Consulting with one now can ensure smooth sailing into the future.
General business advice – Some WordPress consultants were or are business owners themselves. Furthermore, your website isn’t their first assignment. Not WordPress specific, but these people may have some experience in your industry, and be able to lend very helpful advice. Knowing how to market a business online might be something that you are not entirely in-tune with, so consulting with an expert can help guide you and add extra value to the relationship overall.
Who Needs One?
If your website is part of your business strategy, or you are an individual looking to brand yourself online – and use WordPress as a platform – then it would be in your best interest to chat with an expert.
Not everybody needs one though. WordPress, by default, is extremely user friendly, and allows those with little knowledge to put together some quite impressive website.
WordPress Consultant Rates
The price you will pay for WordPress Consulting depends on your current state and needs – as well as your future plans for your ever-growing website. I wish I could give more info here, but there are too many variables that come into play. Some ranges I’ve seen that – in terms of a monthly retainer – prices can go anywhere from $2k up to $8k+ depending on your specific needs.
What A WordPress Consultant IS DEFINITELY NOT
- Someone who hasn’t spent at least 48+ hours of their life reading the WordPress Codex – for reference or for fun
- Someone who has less than 4 years of experience working hands-on with WordPress
- Someone whose first thought for a solution is to use a plugin
- Someone with little knowledge on how users interact with a website
- Someone who is “afraid of code”
When speaking with a prospective WordPress Consultant, you should be able to tell if they really know what they are talking about. More importantly, check with some references to be sure they are able to walk the walk – not just suck some money out of you and leave you in desperate need of a REAL WordPress expert.
It’s powerful when a once simple blogging platform creates its own niche of business professionals. A genuine thank you to Automattic for not only bringing a cutting edge website framework, but also creating a job industry for thousands.