When we have little or even no idea at all on something, we google it. "How to..." has become our standard prefix to bring up what we hope could be the solution to what we see as our troublesome existence in that moment.
What are the usual results we get from that? Hundreds of articles and resources listing out things you should do. But what's the answer you were in need of? What's the right solution to your problem (not others')? Well, to get it you need to invest time to assess whether those links are reputable sources or not.
And even if they are, you'd still need to adapt them to your current situation. Wouldn't it be better to have a direct answer to your question right from the start? That's the value of consulting with a WordPress professional.
But there's more to that...
Access to a breadth of experience
When it comes to your business, you don't want to lose nights and days to find a solution. You want an answer, an in-depth one, and as soon as possible, with no time wasted on inconclusive research. As WordPress developer and Codeable expert Daniel Stanojevic explains:
As with all things in life, the more you work with something the more experience you get. As Codeable experts, our in-depth knowledge and expertise allows us to advise you on the best path forward much better than random Google search results will. There is a huge difference in quality between various themes and plugins that all appear to do similar things at first glance, but then underneath differ in approach and implementation significantly. Just knowing these key differences can help save you a huge amount of stress and time down the road, once the time comes to update your site. After all, you don't want a broken site from clicking update on the wrong plugin.
Freedom to focus on your needs rather than the technology required
Having a consultation with an expert in their fields provides you with something that very few things enable you in life: freedom. From a business perspective, it's the freedom to being able to focus all your time on what you really need to get done, on what issues you need to have fixed, all without having to waste resources on finding solutions.
Besides that, having a 1-to-1 consultation with an experienced developer will allow you to foresee and anticipate further scenarios you haven't realized yet, like what's the best way to maintain your website, which hosting can better serve your business and the like. Elaborates Daniel:
One of the best value out of a consultation is that you - the client - don't need to think about technology at all. I don't think you even need to think about WordPress at all. When talking with an expert, you're completely focused on what your business needs are and what you actually want to build and then whoever you consult with can advise you on the best path forward to get there.
Not having to think about all the technicalities and the next steps takes a heavy burden off your shoulders that was surely interfering with your commitment to growing your business.
Opportunity to figure out if the idea is feasible for you
Before you begin treading down the path of launching, developing, or improving your website, it is important to ascertain if the project is worth the time, money and effort that'll go into it.
Having the possibility to directly engage with a developer through a consultation gives you just that, as Daniel highlights:
If your end goal is to launch a website, an application or get a better understanding of how feasible your idea is, the discovery phase, in that case, will be getting confirmation from an expert that your idea is technically feasible, is doable, and makes sense from a professional's point of view other than your own. Through that process, you'll be able to uncover aspects you haven't thought of yet, gaining an enriched vision of what you'll need to focus on and, ultimately, your goals.
Better picture of deliverables, costs, and timeline for midsize and large projects
Expectations for a project vary from person to person. A professional and experienced WordPress developer knows, at first glance, the depths of things that might look simple to many non-technical business owners.
When it comes to projects that are above $2,000/$2,500 - which are usually referred to as midsize projects - just having a list of project requests like "I need X to do Y" isn't going to make the cut for a successful project.
Don't raise your eyebrow yet. Let me explain.
Having a clear, informative, and as exhaustive as possible project brief is a must for any project. It's in your own interests to craft one up that embraces these standards.
Why that? Well, you're free to have a sloppy one, one that required 15 minutes tops to be created, and then fire it away. "It's now all in the developer's hand", you think.
No, it's not. If you do that, you're setting your business on a very risky path. Your project brief is your insurance: if something isn't written there, you can't have it fixed, improved, changed.
And when there's more money involved in a project - don't forget: it's your money -, you'd need to have as many details as possible to be part of the documentation you and your developer agree on. These further investigations, details, and enhancements are generated through what it's called a "discovery phase". In Daniel's words:
Having a discovery phase on larger projects is an absolute must so that everything is clearly defined. I usually type out a project specification after a consultation if we're going that route. And I define in detail what exactly will be done, how it will be done, how long it will take, and then that's something I send to the client and they can review and let me know if they have any changes they want.
Comprehend and align your expectations with the process
The discovery phase is strongly suggested to empower you with even more information on your project.
A real-life example will help you see the value of it: as soon you grant access to your website, the developer starts noticing that the WooCommerce extension you'd like to customize needs to be updated. On top of that, it also has some dependencies with other custom plugins, some of which need updates as well.
Now, the developer is stuck. Your project is on-hold.
If you had a discovery phase before the project kickoff, your developer would have highlighted those things and you'd have been able to make a decision in a stress-free manner.
Larger projects come with their own specific requirements and technicalities that, if ignored in the beginning, could cost you a lot of time and money at the end or mid-way through the project. Daniel further explains:
For larger projects, which can take weeks or even months, I insist on having a discovery phase. Usually, in my discovery phase, I like to work at least on some beginning wireframes for the project because a wireframe is an outline of how the page will function and what it'll contain. It's not about design, it's about knowing that this page will consist of the following things, and a user will be able to do A, B, C, and D. Without that, larger projects generally end up being a mess.
Working with outsourced developers has proved to be a cost-effective way to run and grow businesses. Technology is breaking the barrier of location, making it easier for your business to attract and work with the best developers worldwide.
I understand, though, it could be a challenge for some because most of the work is done through written communication. Also, not being able to talk with the developer you just hired might seem "weird" or at least uncommon to some. That's why on Codeable you can have a 1-to-1 private call with one of our pre-vetted developers.
Even for those that are more used to written communication, jumping on a call with a developer can be beneficial because, for example, an unintended and critical issue popped up or your project might require further analysis up front. Having a direct and preferred channel of communication with your developer goes well beyond your writing skills and time constraints.
At the end of the day, the possibilities with a consultation are endless but you get always the same beneficial outcome: one hour of quality information is worth many hours of aimlessly wandering and frantically googling.
Daniel Stanojevic is the co-founder of pixelDuo, a small development agency focusing on quality over quantity and long-term client relationships. With over a decade of WordPress experience they have created countless solutions helping businesses all over the world thrive. Since 2013, they also build web applications with the Laravel framework.