When a client approaches an individual or company to build them a new or upgrade their old site to WordPress they expect the person doing the work to know exactly what they are doing, right?. I mean you wouldn’t take your car to be repaired at the local grocery store by a worker who isn’t a mechanic but has read a few tutorials online in their free time.
Unfortunately this is exactly what is happening to some unfortunate people within the WordPress eco-system who are making bad decisions on who they hire to build their new but in the end not so awesome website for them.
When I was freelancing it was always hard for most of my customers to understand the technologies like PHP, CSS, HTML, jQuery and that’s the exact reason they came to me as they expected me to understand these technologies so they didn’t have to. The client pays for your experience and knowledge of these technologies along with WordPress itself and if you are going to take part of their children’s inheritance in return for your work it would be best if you understood them too.
Too many times I see self titled / proclaimed WordPress Professionals / Consultants etc who do not have basic CSS, HTML, PHP, jQuery skills and a lack of general knowledge of WordPress itself. Can you really be a WordPress Professional / Consultant without these basic skills? I would say that it’s a definite no.
It’s true to say due to it’s open source nature that WordPress development can be done by anyone but it’s also true to say that not everyone can do WordPress development well.
1. You Cannot Build A Complete WordPress Product From Nothing
Can you take a PSD file or a project brief and construct a fully operation modern responsive WordPress theme or plugin from design to finished product writing all the code by hand and using all available technologies like HTML, PHP, CSS3 and jQuery.
This is a true test of your understanding of WordPress and the technologies that are used to build a theme or plugin, If you cannot take a theme from an idea to a working product your skill set will always be lacking and your not ready for any client work just yet.
2. You Cannot Successfully Debug WordPress, Plugin and Themes
Can you successfully debug websites HTML, CSS, PHP, jQuery, plugins and themes for issues and then write the code to resolve this issue yourself. If you cannot solve issues with websites then your not ready for client work as clients expect results and if you cannot resolve issue then the will find someone who can.
Not being able to resolve issues for a client shows them a lack of development knowledge on your part and sooner or later they will find someone more experienced than yourself who can do the job they are paying for.
3. You Edit Theme Files Via The Inbuilt WordPress Editor Feature
If you say yes to this at any point then you definitely shouldn’t be working on any client projects as this is a huge no no even for the smallest of edits.
4. You Don’t Know What FTP Is Or How To Use It
Do you know how to use FTP to upload WordPress files and fix issues on a hosting environment?
5. You Do Not Use A Good Quality Text Editor, IDE and Version Control
When working on a clients site do you use a good quality text editor like Sublime Text and version control like Git or similar to store your edits for future reference.
6. You Live Off Of Theme And Plugin Settings
If you make your living by checking and unchecking theme settings and when there isn’t a setting for the feature you are trying to modify you fold and cannot proceed further with the clients requests then your not ready for client work.
7. You Contact Your Product Vendors Support For Simple Customisations
If you need to change the colour of an element in a theme or you wish to add a new area altogether if you contact the theme providers support services asking how to achieve this your definitely not ready for client work.
8. You Don’t Know What A Staging Site Is
When working on a clients site do you create a staging environment to perform your edits on then deploy your edits to the main client site when all added functionality has been tested. Or do you simply work on the clients live site hoping that it all works out, if so then your shouldn’t be doing client work.
9. You Play The Blame Game When Stuck
Do you play the game of blaming everyone else but yourself to the customer when you cannot setup a product on a site or cannot debug an issue that has appeared when building the clients site? If you find yourself doing this which is usually due to a lack of development knowledge then your not ready for client work.
10. When The Shit Hits The Fan You Don’t Stick Around
Not all clients are laid-back easy going people and as they are paying you for your services they expect professionalism and dedication. When they turn up the heat or they are unhappy with what you are doing if you do the all to common disappearing act on them then you should never be anywhere near a client or be taking their money.