WordPress is the most prominent content management system globally, used for everything from personal blogs to the most visited sites on the internet.

There currently are 55,142 WordPress plugins and more than 31,000 WordPress themes available, so it’s no wonder why WordPress is the number one choice for running a blog.

With such statistics, it’s also no surprise that there’s an ocean of WordPress developers available for hire. So how do you choose one, and what do you look for when outsourcing WordPress development?

There are many reasons agencies look for overseas WordPress developers to use on their projects. All companies are hesitant about hiring permanent staff these days as projects and clients come and go.

The last thing an agency wants to do is hire someone only to let them go after the project is finished, making sense to look for remote WordPress developers.

In our case, agencies reach out to us when they have work they cannot deliver and are faced with increasing staff or choosing a partner to support; they frequently choose the latter.

Two ways to support WordPress development

We offer two different services to meet this demand, and this article is a guide to help choose between them.

Service type 1: Hiring a remote WordPress developer

The first type of service is to hire a remote WordPress developer from our team and have them work directly with you.

This is similar to having your remote employee or working with a freelancer.

The difference is that they’ll be on a contract that you can cancel with short notice and managed by an agency that can add more developers or replace your developer with someone else if needed.

Service type 2: Outsourcing WordPress development projects

The second type of service we offer is to code WordPress websites from design files.

While your remote WordPress developer could be doing the same, this service is on a per-project basis.

The project starts when we receive your design files, and our first step will be to provide a fixed-price quote for turning them into custom WordPress websites.

Upon approval of the quote, we assign a developer from our “project-based pool” to do the coding and have our Quality Assurance team do the testing.

The Pros to Outsourced Web Development

According to InlimitedDWP.com, their data suggests that 43% of marketing agencies outsource web services to third parties.

Of course, the actual number could be higher – agencies don’t broadcast whether they outsource branded products and services – but the statistics on-hand is compelling.

To explain why agencies are increasingly looking to third-party developers, let’s examine the benefits of outsourcing web projects:

  • It Costs Less. A web agency partnership is much more cost-effective than hiring a full-time developer (or an entire in-house development team). This is especially true for agencies that don’t always have steady work – there’s no need to pay salaries to employees who don’t have websites to build.
  • It’s Scalable. Let’s say you have the good fortune to be overwhelmed with work, and the phone is ringing off the hook. You can’t handle the new workload independently, and you’re not sure it will last forever. Agency outsourcing can help you manage busy periods on a project-by-project basis.
  • It Saves Time. Unless you represent a significant firm with an established HR department, you probably hire employees on your own. This takes time, costs money, and involves considerable risk. On top of that, hiring mistakes cost time and money.
  • You Can Get Access to Specialist Experience. Not all outsourcing partners have specialised industry experience, but those in high demand leverage their expertise to simultaneously act as consultants and vendors. At the same time, you don’t need to hire an employee with a unique experience for a single project.

It’s easy to tell that these are valuable assets for any web agency – but do all web development firms offer the same benefits?

The short answer is no.

The truth is that outsourcing web projects to third party agencies and freelancers come with risk – finding the right agency mitigates those risks and generates consistent returns.

The Cons to Outsourced Web Development

Small agencies typically face more significant risks when hiring web development agencies to take on their projects.

For example, tight deadlines can’t afford to have an agency partner take weeks to produce a deliverable that ends up not being up to their quality standards.

Not every agency has a rosy experience with outsourced web developers.

Some of the most common risks include:

  • Inexperienced Freelancers. Sometimes, to save money, agencies choose to work with people who don’t have the experience necessary to deliver on their promises. Top talent charges top dollar in the United States, and many agencies find themselves priced out.
  • Offshore Web Development Company Issues. If your agency gets priced out of hiring top US talent, you will probably begin to look overseas. However, language barriers, cultural misunderstandings, and timezone differences can turn even the simplest of projects into a test of patience.
  • Data Security. Be wary of outsourcing jobs that handle sensitive data, such as payroll and recruitment services. Entrust your data only to organisations with secure connections and network infrastructure.
  • Hidden Costs and Delays. Although outsourcing is cost-effective, hidden fees can pop up over the process of a project. Delayed projects also count since they cost your company in terms of time and lost reputation.
  • Lack of Customer Focus. Outsourced vendors can overwhelm themselves with tasks just as easily as your customers can overwhelm you. A vendor caught in multiple ongoing projects may not be able to focus on your needs as well as it should.

This means you need to be able to check and verify your potential white label design & development agency partners before you contact them.

Before choosing an agency to outsource your work to, verify their:

  • Competence
  • Work experience
  • Reviews
  • Hourly Rates
  • Customer service quality
  • Revision/Modification policy
  • Location (are they UK-based?)
  • Track record in partnership with web agencies similar to yours.

This will give you an idea of how much risk any particular developer represents.

There are four main factors to consider when recommending an agency to either hire a remote WordPress developer or to outsource their work on a per-project basis

1. Type of work
2. Style of working
3. Specific preferences for development
4. Amount of work

Decision factor 1: Type of work for your remote WordPress developer

If you need help with scheduled and requested updates to old websites, it’s good to have the same remote developers every time.

They would know how your websites are built, and you can trust them to know what to do when working in your systems.

Assigning such updates on a per-project basis is possible, but not as easy. For us, it’s not always practical to have the same developer available since we need to let them work on other projects too.

Additionally, it’s more challenging to estimate how long it will take to fix existing sites than to build new websites from scratch.

If you primarily want to have your remote WordPress developers build new websites from scratch, you could consider having them work on a per-project basis as well.

The scope, timeline, and price are easier to define, and there’s less back-and-forth needed with the developer during the project.

For substantial projects, however, say over 160 hours of development time needed, it tends to be challenging to write requirements that cover all the things your developers need to know.

In this case, we’ve seen that preparing good instructions upfront and hiring the developer to work for you on an hourly basis works better.

This way, you can keep close communication and adjust the scope without requesting a new quote for the additional work.

Most agencies will have a mix of maintenance tasks and new website development.

For this scenario, you can either have full-time remote WordPress developers to handle all of those tasks or use a mix of in-house developers, remote developers, and outsourced website development projects.

Decision factor 2: Style of working with remote WordPress developers

If we look at complete WordPress development projects, some agencies prefer to work closely with their developers during the build phase, while others work with clear handovers and less daily interaction.

A process with clear handovers has a significant benefit in our experience, especially when working with remote WordPress developers.

With a development brief and all pages designed in advance, you don’t need to spend much time discussing and waiting for answers.

If you’re used to working with in-house developers, this might not seem like a big deal.

But working with a remote developer means you’re not entirely sure when they’ll reply, and unless you are quick to get on calls or even video calls, you’ll spend much more time clarifying what you mean and resolving misunderstandings.

Decision factor 3: Specific preferences for how websites should be developed

We have worked with hundreds of digital agencies. Many have adopted similar best practices, but we also know that many agencies have their preferences for building their websites.

  • Should we use page-builders or Advanced Custom Fields?
  • Do you need support for Internet Explorer 11 or not?
  • Should the homepage show the three latest blog posts by default or a manual selection?
  • Do you prefer Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, or some other form plugin?

Add to that all the pet peeves that agencies have around the way their websites work on mobile, naming of fields in the backend, etc., and you understand that it could take a bit of time to get used to working with any given agency.

When we work with agencies on a per-project basis, we assign the next available developer to work on their projects as they come in. For agencies with a long list of preferences, we try to give developers that have worked for them before, but that’s subject to availability.

We usually recommend hiring a remote WordPress developer for these agencies instead of making the relationship more efficient.

Decision factor 4: Amount of WordPress development work needed

Last but not least, the decision between hiring a remote WordPress developer and working with a development partner on a per-project basis comes down to the amount of work you need to do.

We offer lower rates for full-time developers than we have for fixed-price projects. So if you have enough work to keep a full-time developer engaged, it’s usually cheaper to rent one full-time.

If you have two or more full website projects that you need to build every month, our rule of thumb is worth exploring hiring a remote WordPress developer from our team. So why not get in touch and let’s talk about what you need for your website?