So, you’re an entrepreneur with a great range of products; now you need an ecommerce store. But just how complex is it to build an ecommerce website and store with the functionality and reach you need?
That depends on many things, such as how well you understand the needs of your customers. Easy browsing, the ability to fill a cart, preferred payment gateways, easy returns, and fraud protection are the basics. Unfortunately for some, the ease with which you can build an ecommerce site also depends on your coding and development expertise.
Here’s how to find and hire great ecommerce developers so that your time is spent doing what you do best—creating new products and marketing them.
Do You Need a Developer for WooCommerce and Magento?
You might be an amazing visionary when it comes to products and fantastic at thinking out of the box when it comes to marketing, but back-end coding? Not so much.
“Don’t worry!” say Magento and WooCommerce. According to them, there is a huge community of developers out there on discussion boards and Facebook groups eagerly willing to offer their expertise to help you. While that is true, it would be much more expedient and probably wiser to find an expert developer who can build and maintain your ecommerce site for you. Here’s why.
The World of WooCommerce Plugins and Magento Extensions
Do some research on ecommerce site builders and you’ll quickly become intimate with the terms “plugins” and “extensions.” WooCommerce is built on the content management system (CMS) WordPress, and everything, I mean everything, that an ecommerce merchant might want to do with their website is done through a plugin. In fact, WooCommerce itself is a plugin. Magento uses the term extensions, which means the same thing.
So, what are we talking about here? We’re talking plugins and extensions for payment gateway integration, inventory management, tracking, marketing, reporting, and analytics just to name the basics. And if we drill down to the nitty gritty, there are plugins that will change your website design, change the languages and payment options depending on the consumer’s global geolocation, create and integrate intelligence tools such as chatbots and virtual assistants, automate pricing and discount strategies, and create product descriptions and blogs.
As you can see, the list is endless, which is why you should hire a WooCommerce or Magento developer if you are not one yourself. Because how do you know which are the right plugins for you, and how do you successfully integrate them?
Let’s be honest, creating a successful ecommerce platform is not as straightforward as it looks, and it requires your full attention not just during the building process, but also after it is released. As a merchant, do you have the time and coding wherewith all to research the best plugins and extensions to get your site up and running and ready to scale? I didn’t think so.
So, what are your options?
Your Options for Finding Developers
You have three options. Hire someone in-house, hire a developer from a development agency, or hire a freelancer on a more short-term basis.
According to Turing, an agency that matches developers with companies or individuals looking for developers, the cost of employing an in-house WooCommerce developer in the United States ranges from $61,000 to $89,000 annually. This cost can rise to $109,000 for a front-end developer.
However, the hourly cost of a developer through an agency like Turing, ranges from $41 to $80. Also, if you go with an offshore developer, from India, for example, the hourly cost could go down by 25 to 40 percent.
Apart from cost, the advantages of using an offshore developer are that you don’t have to provide office space, insurance, benefits, and incentives, and you don’t have to pay recruitment, onboarding, and training costs. But what are the disadvantages?
The disadvantages are that an offshore developer may be less integrated with your team if you are a larger business, whereas an in-house developer may be better able to see the big picture of your business and map out a strategy for scaling. Also, an offshore or remote developer will be less in tune with your brand, culture, or existing systems. It’s up to you to decide whether that would be an issue for you.
What Should You Look for in a WooCommerce or Magento Developer?
If you have no coding experience, how do you know that a developer can deliver the ecommerce site you need?
Whether or not you go through an agency, it’s a good idea to know what baseline skillset level you should be looking for in a developer. For a WooCommerce developer, here’s a list of skills that Turing considers to the bare minimum.
- Experience converting a WordPress website into a WooCommerce store.
- Expertise with WordPress theme development
- Experience with front-end development
- Familiarity with WordPress plugins
- Knowledge of the Git versioning tool, PHP, and MySQL
For a Magento developer, here’s a list of basic skills that TopTal, a freelancing platform, lists. The skills listed by Toptal are not that much different from the skills required for a WooCommerce developer.
- Strong object-oriented programming knowledge
- Excellent PHP knowledge
- Experience with front-end development
- Extensive LESS & CSS knowledge
- Magento certification is a plus
Even if the candidates claim to possess these skills, how can you be sure they are seasoned developers? Here are some best practices to help you find a good developer.
Articulate Your End Goal, But Be Flexible
Before you look for a WooCommerce or Magento developer, consider what your priorities are as far as your end goal for your ecommerce site is concerned. It will be important to articulate what your priorities are because they may be very different from those of a developer.
For example, your concerns might be the design and branding of the website and how quickly you can scale your business. Perhaps you want to build a few different websites for different countries. In that case, you might want to prioritize accepting international payments in different currencies and offering your site in other languages.
A developer, on the other hand, may be more concerned with whether your servers are sufficient for scaling and whether your site load speed is adequate. Google has found that 53% of mobile website visitors will leave if a webpage that doesn’t load within three seconds. That’s a more urgent problem than whether the product description for your Air Zoom Pegasus running shoes has been translated into Polish.
The point here is that you shouldn’t run before you can walk, and a developer who can set you up for the future rather than use extensions and plugins as quick fixes will mean fewer headaches down the road.
Where and How to Find a Top-Notch Developer
If you are unsure what type of services you need, hop on to one of the WooCommerce or Magento Facebook groups for forums and ask some of the contributors what steps you should take.
There is a huge community of Facebook Groups for both WooCommerce and Magento. Learnwoo lists them here along with a video. Magento users can hop onto the Magento Developers’ Facebook page and start a conversation. Merchants can even find a developer on these sites, although they should be careful to ask for credentials and references from other clients.
Going through a reputable agency that specializes in finding developers has its advantages. Agency representatives are experts in matching talented developers with clients. Also, if the fit is wrong, you can request a different person. Using an agency will cost more, but it will save you time and probably be worth it in the long run.
Design Rush offers an extensive list of ecommerce development agencies. The names include Webdesk Solution LLC, Ziffity Solutions, Sunrise Integration, Top Notch Dezigns, Codup, and more.
If you prefer to find a developer independently, here are some possible sources.
Toptal is a platform connecting businesses with software engineers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers. The platform filters freelancers based on their talents and selects the top 3 percent for clients, so you should be getting a well-vetted candidate. Developers are usually hired on a per project basis, so you can try out a developer on a limited capacity and then use them again if you are impressed with their work.
You’ll find many developers on the Upwork platform that matches freelancers with companies who need short-term services. You can submit a proposal and review a list of candidates who will give you a quote for their services. To make sure you find a qualified developer, choose one with significant project experience that is similar to your situation. Look at their history and how their clients have rated them. Upwork has hundreds of top-notch professionals, but also hundreds of cheaper candidates who might not have the experience to deliver what you need.
Other similar generalist freelancer platforms to Upwork are Guru, Hired, and PeoplePerHour.
Stack Overflow is an open community forum for developers of different skill sets and expertise. They are constantly exchanging knowledge and advice on the discussion platform, but there is also a job board where you can find proficient freelancers.
LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media platforms for hiring employees. You can search for profiles who’ve listed Magento or WooCommerce as a skill and reach out to them. You can also list your job requirements.
The developers on this platform are well-known for specialized technical Magento skills. Mageplaza offers a team of developers sometimes for a cost as low as $15 an hour. The team can develop and launch your website, customize and upgrade it, and provide ongoing support and maintenance.
Finding The Right Developer at the Right Price
Finding a developer is not a problem; there are plenty out there eager to help you out. The problem is finding a good one for the right price.
Before you contact an agency or seek out a candidate elsewhere, determine what your goals are and what assistance you need. A development agency is likely to be the safest route, but probably the most expensive, because they are likely to understand what your exact needs are better than you.
The other alternative is to identify your own freelancer on sites such as Upwork or LinkedIn. If you choose to do this, choose someone who has experience and a proven record with similar projects.
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Contact Cartis Payments today to find out how they can help you build a better ecommerce store.