two developers working on lines of code

What to consider before approaching a developer

Part two of our ‘How to find the right developer for you’ outlines the points you’ll need to consider before approaching a development agency or freelancer.

Not sure who to approach? Check out the first in our series, Agency vs. Freelancer: How to find the right developer for you

Does the size of the project matter?

Yes as, for both yours and your developer’s sake, the project can often be dependent on the partnership. If you just want a couple of website updates or an off the shelf site, you’re best off reaching out to a freelance developer. They’ll likely be looking to work on their portfolio, so they’ll be just as keen on your project as you are.

However, for your big site updates, changes or even maintenance, an agency is your best bet. With a variety of hands on deck with a whole host of skills, agencies are better placed to manage high-risk projects with quick turnaround times or the requirement of digital innovations.

Bespoke or off the shelf?

While both options can still deliver great websites, themes and plugins, it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons to both.

Bespoke development is great because it’s tailored to your exact needs. Rather than trying to find existing services or tools that do pretty much what you want, you can guarantee that your website, theme or plugin will be developed to align with your vision. 

However, this fresh set of code will set you back. Bespoke work is significantly more expensive than off the shelf work, but if you want something original, it’s worth every penny.

Off the shelf development is handy and cost-effective as it allows your developers to use premade plugins and tools to achieve your desired outcome. These services are cheaper as all you’ll need is a developer who can source and integrate the code for you.

Whilst this is a popular method for most, the downside is that sometimes a chunk of your budget could go towards the use of plugins or products that do 90% of what you want. In that case, it’s up to you to sacrifice, change tack, or invest more money for a product that fills in the gaps.

Though there are pros and cons to both options, the good news is you can often find an agency or freelancer who can offer either off the shelf or a mixture of the two.

Are discovery exercises worth the money?

If you’re interested in making your website run faster, scaling up, or keeping it secure, discovery exercises are well worth the investment.

Offered by most agencies, this service is essentially a deep dive into your website. Looking at the front-end and the backend, it gives your developer an insight into just what needs to be done. 

From updating your PHP to improve security, finding out where your code is slowing down your site, or ensuring your website doesn’t throw errors. Discovery exercises will reveal where your website needs improvement, meaning you know exactly what you need to invest in. 

Specialist or generalist?

Whichever agency you go for or freelancer you employ, you might find yourself wondering whether it’s worth hedging your bets with a specialist or generalist.

More often than not though, your developer specialises in something. Specialists can focus their efforts, and knowledge, on a variety of services and platforms. Within the web development circle, you can find everything from WordPress specialists to those focusing solely on providing and maintaining cloud-based servers. 

For every corner of the internet and everything your site needs from it, there will be a specialist. The benefits of finding the right specialist will far outweigh going for the generalist, even if the price difference is palatable. 

A note on WordPress

If you’re looking for a WordPress specialist, you will likely yield millions of results. From freelancers to agencies, and the middlemen in between, the open source network has created a global business sector for developers.

It’s unsurprising that the content management system has so much business surrounding it. WordPress consumes 61.8% of the CMS market according to W3techs. With over 1.3 billion active websites powered by WordPress, it’s unsurprising that the open source platform’s websites make up a staggering 40% of the internet.

However, it’s important to start a discourse with potential freelancers or agencies ahead of committing any budget. All too often we hear from organisations who have taken on a freelancer or specialist who has a fancy website and not much else. 

Like other agencies and freelancers, we’re more than happy to go in and clean up your site. But you’re unlikely to get the money back that you’ve already spent. 


The only thing as important as finding the right developer for your project is making sure you’re using the right content management system (CMS). Why is this important? Well, firstly, there are so many to pick from. The most popular, by far, is WordPress. However, there are several other CMS platforms out there; Joomla, Magento, Drupal, PrestaShop, to name a few. 

Any developer could tell you what’s the best CMS tool for you to be using but expect many to say WordPress. As it’s open source and offers free integrations it gives you, the site owner, the opportunity to pursue a variety of flexible integrations, themes and plugins. 

However, the one thing you need to be sure of before you approach any developer or agency about your project is to be clear on exactly what you need from your website now and in the future. Whilst you may just need a basic website now, you may wish to add functionality in the future allowing you to quickly manage the site’s content, whether that’s archiving thousands of posts or adding in complex subscription models and paywalls.

Part 3 of the series, Where to find a developer, will be released on the 18th March. Our guide to finding the right developer for you is shared weekly. To catch the next section hot off the press, you can sign-up for our newsletter

You can find Part 1 here

Looking For An Agency? Maybe We Can Help.

We’re Powered by Coffee and we’re WordPress specialists. We tend to work with clients who need help managing lots of content, monetizing their audience, and building innovative code integrations. 

If we’re not what you’re looking for, we could introduce you to some of our friends. We’re a silver WordPress VIP Partner, meaning we’re part of a worldwide partner network of agencies who offer a whole host of skills and experience. We have no doubt that one of them could help you with your project. Why not get in touch?

Coral Wood

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