How to Become a Freelance WordPress Developer?
Have you ever wondered what technology is behind the blogs, the webpages, and the sites that you browse or how are the blogs hosted, built, designed to give you a fantastic experience? Enter WordPress. First released in 2003, WordPress is an open-source content management system, which is used for publishing almost everything on the web and forms the backbone for almost 35% of the content that is found on the web today. Constantly evolving, courtesy of its open-source structure, has led to the creation of an army of workforce known as WordPress Developers. They continuously toil to improve it, and either work with certain organizations or take up freelance work.
In 2020, the gig economy is booming. Businesses are looking to hire freelance WordPress developers all the time and it may be a great time for you to start.
So, if you want to become a top freelance WordPress Developer and get hired you have to follow the steps below.
Craft Your Skills
The core of the skills will come from knowing the technology and having familiarity with the core functions of WordPress. While being well versed with programming languages such as HTML, PHP, MySQL is the first criterion, it is equally important to keep up with the advances that are made in WordPress itself. Once you learn a tutorial, try to experiment with it and apply it to your own projects. Some developers also develop a plugin and release it to the market. They gather feedback on the plug-in and make changes to meet user needs. Doing so will not only allow you to improve skills but also can work as an important feedback tool. Apart from the front–end skills, back end skills such as debugging, core patching is also equally important. Contributing a foolproof core patch can add to your experience immensely.
Make reading a mandatory habit. Each day or every week, set aside an hour or a few clear hours, respectively to read and take notes to enhance your skills. Considering the subject of your interest in WordPress, you could read the blogs of renowned developers to gain insights into their works. Writing your own blog is another way to reach out to other developers, and seek inputs on your thoughts.
The third way to craft your skills is to become an active contributor to online forums and answering queries posted by various other developers. Attending WordCamps and freely interacting with the community of developers would enhance your horizon and allow for a wider exchange of ideas.
Create a Marketing Strategy
With the skills in place, it becomes important to identify which areas of the WordPress development you would like to focus on. Your marketing strategy has to be designed around the solutions you’re offering. For instance, if your area of interest is working on core then your marketing strategy should highlight your abilities in solving bugs, testing new features, and finding potential flaws and security breaches. On the other hand, if your interests involve developing plug-ins or themes your strategy should be to identify a profitable idea, and create a version of it and release it for beta testing and feedback. Doing so will not only allow your content to garner attention but will highlight your abilities too.
Use of SEO (search engine optimization) is also recommended such that the positioning of your webpage can be done strategically to potential clients.
Often the customers prefer to get the first-hand experience prior to making the critical decision to buy the product. Thus, one of the strategies to market your work could involve allowing a free trial of your product with certain limited features. A demo trial is also a great way to pitch the full spectrum of features in your product.
Another way is to have bloggers, industry experts, and influencers review and talk about your product. A great way to do so is to reach out to the bloggers, influencers, and give them a premium version of your product for review and comments. This ensures your product will get mentioned on their digital platforms such as website, social media, etc. Doing so would allow your work to be featured to a larger potential clientele.
Convert Leads To Clients
Using a multitude of marketing strategies will certainly introduce you to prospective leads and clients. However, converting the prospective leads to clients requires a different set of efforts. A fantastic way of listing all inquiries as potential leads is to give an option for visitors to your website to register themselves. These registrations can be customized to collect basic information such as name and contact details to seek specific inputs on how they became aware of your webpage, and / or what were the specific requirements. Armed with the data on potential clients, you can use cold calling, send across work profiles, and offer a free consultation to convert the leads to clients.
Besides the usual route of advertising your work on various platforms including social media, a great way to get clients is by making one’s self merely available as a solution provider. Nowadays, most of the process can be automated using various social media management tools like Hootsuite, Later, Buffer and others.
You may do some no strings attached pro bono work for some important clients. If they like your work ask them to endorse you and refer you to other potential clients. Further, the more you share your knowledge, both offline and online, the more people are likely to turn to you and introduce you to potential clients.
During the community meetups, WordPress events always talk about your on-going projects to people. The projects executed are a great way to showcase your abilities and gives the leads a fair idea of what to expect.
Last but not the least, try and get an understanding of what your lead seeks from talking to you. Leads turn into clients when they understand that not only do you have the best solution to fit their requirements but your work provides value-added products too.
Deliver Great Service
“There is no alternate way to delivering a great product and a satisfying client-vendor interaction experience”. Read the above sentence again, and multiple times if required.
It doesn’t matter what you do – build a new website, custom software or simply provide monthly maintenance, your job is to deliver amazing service to your clients and keep them satisfied.
Delivering a defect-free project, which conforms to the scope and is submitted within the agreed time period is well appreciated. It is the overall client experience that makes a huge impact. The ultimate goal of all your work should be to provide an unparalleled experience from the start to the end of the assignment. Commencing from the first client-vendor interaction to understanding the requirements, designing the product and final delivery- the entire experience for the client should be as effortless as a breeze.
Gone are the days when the client’s role was limited to just explaining the requirement and taking the delivery of the product as per the agreed timeline. Nowadays, most clients like to be involved in the project at each step and prefer to be kept abreast of various possibilities within the scope of the work, along with updates on the progress of the assignment. With a multitude of gadgets such as computers, notepads, tablets, and phones being available -ubiquitously guiding your clients and designing a product that can seamlessly adjust to the gadget is also essential. Hand Holding and reassuring the client at each stage of the task will help in better evaluation of your work.
Build Relationships With Your Clients And Get Repeat Work
There are no doubts about the fact that businesses are built by nurturing relationships. In a highly competitive world, possessing interpersonal skills hold as much weight, if not more than the technical skills. Therefore, as a vendor, your soft skills should be honed to foster lasting relationships with your clients.
First and foremost, the requirement for building a great rapport with your client is, to be honest. Be honest with your clients and build closer communication. Keep the clients abreast with the pace of the project and seek their inputs wherever required. Secondly, give the client a curated personalized experience from start to end. Such acts make the client feel valued and positively affect the perception of the vendor.
Finally, you should put in your best efforts to try to exceed the client’s expectations. This could range from sharing your knowledge to suggest better solutions than what the client envisaged to advancing the delivery of the product. A satisfied client is less likely to look for other options because he or she would respect the client-vendor camaraderie and would not shop around for other vendors. Building strong relationships has multiple advantages in the form of getting repeat work and also being recommended for new work. A personal recommendation from a renowned client can open many more doors of opportunities and help in the multi-fold growth of your freelance work.
Summing it Up
To summarize, in order to be a WordPress developer, you need a few prerequisites. These include – a mindset of continual evolution, willingness to give substantial hours for conducting trial and errors in developing components, preparing yourself for potential falls, reading, setting up local development forums, and actively participating in WordPress events. While constant learning and re-learning are a given, honing one’s soft skills is equally important as it helps build a client base and increases your footprint.