When WordPress site owners start experiencing WordPress issues, many wonder if hiring a WordPress developer is worth it. For the most part, yes it is. Provided you hire a developer with necessary WordPress developer key skills. 

Deducing the skills a WordPress developer should have can sometimes  be complicated, especially if you don't understand your WordPress issues, what exactly they need to be fixed, what to look for out for and who to stay away from. 

By the end of this post, you will be informed on the key skills a WordPress developer you hire should have.

What do WordPress developers do?

WordPress developers design, implement and manage WordPress sites for companies/people who host their sites through WordPress self-hosted open source WordPress.org. They also design themes and plugins installed on many WordPress sites.

WordPress has a front-end and a back-end system. The front-end system is the visible part for users (pages, posts, themes, menus, navigations, etc). The back-end system is the behind the scenes admin area where the programming happens. 

WordPress developers know their way around both the front-end and the back-end systems. They use their skills to navigate these sytems and create attractive and user friendly websites for their clients.

In doing this, WordPress developers have to be considerate of SEO and marketing needs and know how to integrate these needs into designing, implementing and managing WordPress sites.

What are WordPress developer key skills

According to W3Techs, WordPress accounts for 43.2% of all websites on the internet as of January 2022. This means that the WordPress developers market is big and quite lucrative. While you won't have trouble finding a WordPress developer, you still have to ensure you that you hire someone who can do the job.

From WordPress agencies down to WordPress freelancers, not every WordPress developer out there has the key skills to do the job. Given this, you should be informed on how to find a WordPress developer  and also know the key skills a developer should have before you hire one.

WordPress developer Coding key skills

1. WordPress software

WordPress is an open source platform maintained by a community of people from all over the world. This community is open to anyone who wants to contribute to WordPress’s success. A WordPress developer who actively contributes to the platform is probably more in-tune with the platform more than the one who does not. 

There are different ways to contribute to WordPress. Being aware of what a WordPress developer actively contributes to the WordPress community can help you determine if they specialize in what you need help with.

2. PHP Coding

PHP is an open source programming language that the bulk of WordPress is built on. Without question, every WordPress developer should know PHP programming language. As a server language, PHP is responsible for all processing that happens on the web server before anything is delivered to your visitor’s browsers as per their requests.

3. HTML 

HTML (Hypertext markup language) is a principle web development language used to describe the structure of your WordPress site. Because HTML is used to build website pages, WordPress blocks are built using HTML language. Even though HTML is not a coding language, it is a big part of website design and that’s why every web developer should be familiar with it.

4. Javascript 

Javascript is a front end Programming language. This is the coding that controls the interactive elements of your website. Working together with CSS and HTML, Javascript language makes your web page dynamic, responsive, structural and stylish. Evidently, Javascript is a big part of website design and it is a necessary skill WordPress developers should have.

5. SQL Coding

Structured query language is a programming language used to manage databases. This means it is a part of your WordPress’s back-end development. The PHP programming in WordPress works together with the SQL to retrieve data from the database. An extension to being familiar with SQL, WordPress developers should be able to create queries on a database. 

6. CSS

CSS or Cascading Style Sheets is a coding design language used to define the visual appearance of your WordPress site. It works to adapt your website to different devices as well as manage your site’s style characteristics. A WordPress developer helping with the front end development should definitely know their way around CSS.

WordPress developer non-coding key skills

1. Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is the process of improving your website’s visibility on the search engine results in order to increase traffic on your website pages. SEO is a big part of marketing but it also has some technical elements which WordPress developers should know. Technical SEO is concerned with indexing, crawlability, redirects, structured data, etc. A WordPress developer should know how to manipulate these elements to reduce your site's loading time as well as the status of your web pages to Google bots.

2. Business minded 

Many people use WordPress for their business websites. This means WordPress developers you work with should know the best practices for business oriented websites. They should be able to implement the necessary structures that support online business's objectives forward. WordPress developers should be able to translate their client’s business goals into responsive website designs.

3. User experience (UX) & User Interface(UI)

UX and UI are a part of a developer's scope. 

UX is how a user interacts with and experiences a product, service or website. To yield wanted results, it’s crucial developers create products that are easy to use, efficient and anticipate actions a user will have to take to reach their intended goal. Does your website provide value? Is your website easy to use? Is your website pleasant to use? Does your website offer needed solutions? — These questions should all answer yes when your hired developer is done designing your site. 

UI is the design of touch points people use to interact with a product i.e a website. UI points should work to make your website’s UX pleasant. As per your developer's insight, your UI points should appeal to people’s sense — touch, sight and auditory. UI is important because it meets the expectations of an effective well-functioning website.

4. Honesty 

There is no magical way to know if you’re entering a working relationship with an honest person or not. Even so, it’s still important to work with WordPress developers who are honest. This will save you money and time. Whatever your reasons for hiring a WordPress developer, you want to work with a WordPress developer who is honest about their limitations, processes and commits to what they promise to do.

5. Communication

WordPress projects vary and the needs are usually unique to to each site. Whatever your case, you want to work with a communicative WordPress developer who is transparent about the changes he is making on your site. And since working on a WordPress project can be an ongoing project that takes a while, it is less stressful and reassuring to work with a WordPress developer who is consisntent with their communication. Stay away from people who appear and disappear as they please. 


Above all, you want to hire a WordPress developer who will do the needed work without wasting your time and money. There's a list of things to consider before you hire the best developer for your needs.  You also have the option of working with either a WordPress freelancers or a WordPress agency. The right choice lies in doing your research.

Don't get lost in the search if you are in need of an emergency WordPress help. Our team of WordPress developers with all the necessary WordPress developer key skills is available. Get in touch. 

John Hooley
President, Steward

John is a graduate of 10,000 Small Businesses, a certified Customer Acquisition Specialist, and a Zend Certified Engineer. He speaks and writes on connecting digital strategy to association goals. Outside of work he's an avid traveler, climber, diver, and a burgeoning sailor. He also volunteers with Rotary and Big Brothers Big Sisters.