This is the fifth post in a series of posts about “How you can find the best WordPress developers for you“.

Here are the links to the content we have covered so far:

Day 1: Experience
Day 2: Expertise
Day 3: Price
Day 4: Standards

For today’s topic, we are looking at one of the most difficult subjects to master and something that can be a challenge in any sort of relationship.

5) Communication Skills

The lost art of successful communication is something that we hear a lot about, “I am not able to contact my developer” or “I haven’t heard from my developer for over a week” are all too common.

What can you do to ensure you get the right level of communication?

Find the right person – Look for someone who has a proven track record of communicating well with their clients. Speak to them on the phone and use your gut feeling to see if they are a good communicator or not.

Set a schedule – Good development teams will already schedule regular communication as either updates or feedback. We would recommend 2 to 3 times a week during the early stages of development and then daily during the final week of end-user testing.

Set boundaries – It might be unrealistic to expect an immediate response from a developer so ask them how long it typically takes them to respond to emails and calls. This is something that you will have to discuss with the developer as for some 2 hours reply time is adequate but for others, anything over an hour is far too long. Have a conversation and set the boundaries and set them early.

Questions to ask:

  • How do you communicate effectively with your clients? – Find out if they have a communication preference and also if they have had any communication training such as NLP. A good communicator can often be better than someone who is less skilled.
  • Do you have a schedule for how often you update clients? – If they don’t have a clearly defined answer to this then expect to get let down. The best developers will know how often they typically contact clients and will ask questions about your preference so they can work closely with you.
  • What tools do you use to ensure that we are kept informed of your progress? – Do they use tools like Asana, Basecamp or Github to manage the project effectively or do they rely on email and the phone? It’s important that you work with someone who contributes to your business by conforming to your preferred communication method. If you like to be called every day at 4 pm with an update then that is what you must tell the developer.

In the next post in this series, we will look at something that causes massive frustration when dealing with freelancers, ‘timekeeping‘.