As a designer building sites for clients, you are likely to struggle with one specific thing. And that is keeping up with what’s going on in the WordPress world, and making sure that your sites remain in-tune with the newest best practices and trends in WordPress development.
This is not easy, WordPress is a very popular tool with an incredibly lively community that’s coming up with new solutions literally every day.
So if having to keep your design muscle flexed wasn’t enough, now you have to build a WordPress muscle as well?! (And keep it just as flexed?)
Well, maybe you don’t, and the most obvious way out of this is to hire an outsourcer.
Can this be the solution for you? Let’s find out.
Outsourcing is a very interesting concept. In official terms, it can be explained like the following:
Outsourcing is an allocation of specific business processes to a specialist external service provider.
In plain English, an outsourcer is simply someone who sells their services to another business, rather than to an end customer.
Is it popular? In a word, hugely.
As reported by Udemy, outsourcing is continuously on the rise. More than 2,000,000 jobs were outsourced in 2013 (data from the U.S.). And a big part of this outsourcing happens in the IT sector (with 43 percent of jobs outsourced mostly to China and India).
Your goals and challenges
The reason why outsourcing is so popular is obvious. Companies only outsource the work that can be done more cheaply by someone else, in comparison to their in-house team.
So the challenge for you is to achieve the same thing with your WordPress-related work/tasks.
In other words, whatever you end up outsourcing, needs to be done in a cost effective manner, delivered on time, and be of good enough quality.
Let’s make the above statement the overall reference of what we should be aiming for when outsourcing.
Apart from that, it’s also worth to have a kind of a master cheat-sheet prepared, with very specific goals clearly stated. Some possible goals to set for yourself when outsourcing WordPress work:
- Spend XX% less time on WordPress-related tasks without any loss of quality of the final result.
- Build a long-term relationship with a single outsourcer or a company.
- Devote XX% of the whole project’s budget to outsourcing (in a way that you can outsource part of the job and still make good profit).
What WordPress work to outsource
You probably already have a general idea of what you could outsource since you’re reading this. So now would be a good time to fire up your Evernote and do a short brainstorming session.
Just to help you out, here are some of the common WordPress tasks you can begin with (from the perspective of a designer building a site for a client):
- Complete PSD-to-WordPress conversion. I’m talking about from-start-to-finish work. You give them some PSDs; they give you some PHPs.
- WordPress installation and setup. Seems simple, but this adds up once you have to roll out a handful of sites.
- Keeping the WordPress sites secure. There’s a lot going on in WordPress security right now, with new threats being made public rather often and new plugins that battle them. Having someone to handle this on the sites that you previously rolled out could be a good idea.
- Doing manual code tweaks to enable custom functionalities. There’s always this something that your client wants, but that’s not easily done with plugins.
- Client support for WordPress issues. Just to have someone capable of answering your clients’ questions.
As a general rule of thumb, the more specific you are with the kinds of tasks you want to outsource, the better.
(Wanting to outsource “WordPress stuff” probably won’t give you good results, nor a good outsourcer.)
How to outsource WordPress work
So the next step in this process is deciding what approach you should take when outsourcing the work. Consider these three main paths:
- (a) Outsourcing simple one-off tasks only.
- (b) Hiring a freelancer to work with on multiple occasions.
- (c) Working with an agency and possibly arranging a partnership.
Depending on the time and money investment you want to make, and how confident you feel about your work-delegation skills, you can take an educated guess here and choose the path that seems like the most suitable for you.
To make this easier, let’s look at some pros and cons of each path.
(a) Outsourcing simple one-off tasks only
(b) Hiring a freelancer to work with on multiple occasions
(c) Working with an agency and possibly arranging a partnership
Where to outsource WordPress work
Okay, so I guess you’ve made up your mind at this point and know what part of your WordPress work you want to outsource, as well as how you want to do it. So now, let’s talk about where to go.
I’m going to list a handful of sites here, and based on the path you’ve chosen, some will be more fitting than the others.
The kingdom of $5 gigs. Every(-ish) service listed at Fiver can be bought for $5 (some extras can be added for extra payment). There’s an extensive WordPress category there. What’s great about Fiverr is that you can get simple tasks done relatively quickly and with little supervision required on your part. The downside is that the quality can vary and that you’re limited to the kinds of jobs listed there.
This site is somewhat similar to Fiverr, but the price tags on the jobs – called hourlies – range from around $5 to $500 and more. Most hourlies have good descriptions, with ratings and comments submitted by other users. The directory is very good and covers a lot of possible WordPress tasks.
This is probably the most popular outsourcing/freelancing site out there. Searching for WordPress actually gives you 500 pages of results, so there’s much to choose from. There, you’ll find people able to do anything WordPress related, starting from simple tasks, all the way to handling complex projects.
A site that’s similar to oDesk, but tends to list a bit more pricey providers. It can be a good solution for larger-scale jobs and projects. You can hire people/teams by the hour or by the project. There’s also a workroom available where you can check the progress on your projects. Again, there’a nice WordPress category.
Next, we have Guru, which is very similar to oDesk and Elance in many aspects. This site is believed to be better for hiring U.S.-based teams and professionals. Also, a lot of agencies list their services there. Take a peek inside the WordPress section.
Finally, let’s not forget about WordPress’ own native jobs platform. You can easily post your job there and get someone to do exactly what you’re looking for.
Other pieces of the puzzle
Picking a site where you will do your hiring, and listing the things you need to get done is not the end of the game yet. At that point, you still need to complete the puzzle with a couple of missing pieces.
The main thing to look into would be how to go about recruiting your staff and what to look for in a quality outsourcer over time.
Another thing is training – teaching them (at least to some extent) what you expect and how they should deliver their work. If you’re working with an individual then this step is a must.
Lastly, you have to set up some form of a work management environment where you can log in to check on the progress and give feedback.
Those are all the things we didn’t touch upon here, as it would probably make this guide twice as long. But feel free to chime in and let us know if you’d like to learn about that stuff too(?).
In the meantime, what’s your current way of handling WordPress work? Do you have a trusted person who’s taking care of things for you?