Developers are the heart of the open source community. Their talents are directly responsible for the success of globally recognized projects such as Linux, Joomla, and the blogging platform known as WordPress. Thanks to the ongoing contributions of developers, WordPress is a robust, flexible application that can be enhanced through themes, plugins, and several other add-on components. But while the platform itself offers great opportunities for contributors, not everyone is thriving the same. Just as some plugins have a higher number of downloads and installations, some developers are constantly working while others are struggling.
Like many other niches, the WordPress development field is highly competitive. Having a hard time gaining that crucial edge? The following tips will put you in position to stand out as a WordPress developer.
Offer Rich Customization Options
This is a pointer that can help any developer who specializes in WordPress themes. One of the many reasons bloggers choose WordPress over the competition is because of all the customization possibilities it serves up. Giving users the power to control the look and feel of their blog is a powerful way to create the type of impression that has them remembering where they got that awesome template from when they need something else.
WordPress theme developers can cater to the freedom fanatics by simply including a an options panel in their creations. These options are a dream for inexperienced users because they allow them to customize the appearance of their theme without having to bother with any HTML or CSS. Once limited to premium themes, the option panel is becoming a common trait of all themes, and rightfully so because they are quite valuable.
Make PHP Your Friend
Most developers spend their time working with HTML and CSS, but there is another programming language that drives WordPress, and it is arguably more powerful than both of the aforementioned languages combined — PHP. PHP is the language WordPress itself is coded in, and by learning it, you can help users save time by not having to deal with plugins (in some cases), and also pick up a skill that is highly sought after in the world of programming.
PHP can benefit WordPress developers in numerous ways, including by allowing them to:
Create more efficient forms. Serious bloggers know all about the importance of web forms. With PHP, you can use the powerful programming technique known as AJAX to create forms that are faster, easier to user, and overall more effective than others. Being able to maximize efficiency will definitely separate a WordPress developer from the crowd.
Develop dynamic thumbnails. One of PHP’s greatest strengths is its ability to create dynamic web content. This quality comes in handy for the developer that has been tasked with implementing a thumbnail-friendly portfolio or template for a client. PHP adds efficiency to the process by allowing you to automatically take larger images and scale them down to thumbnails.
Build better plugins. Some of the best WordPress plugins are PHP scripts. Well coded PHP scripts. There is a learning curve here as there is with any programming language, but developers should take comfort in knowing that all you need is the very basics to build awesome plugins that get users talking.
Promote Your Brand
Being a WordPress developer obviously differs from other professions, but when it comes to succeeding, many of the same rules apply. Just like with any business, you need to actively promote your brand if you want to get noticed. Simply creating a great theme or plugin won’t do it.
Luckily, developers have several options for promoting themselves. For example, you could:
- Create a website to showcase your work
- Use screenshots and videos to allow potential users to visualize your creations
- Provide continuous support for your products
- Add your work to the WordPress directory
Good work speaks for itself, but knowing how to market yourself and your work is critical. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran, this is a skill you must “develop”.
WordPress developers are a part of one of the biggest and most active projects in the open source community. The strength of the platform alone makes it a great bandwagon to hop on. But as I mentioned, not all the members of this community are enjoying good results. So in addition to everything that has already been covered, developers should understand the importance of staying the course.
Achieving success may require you to travel a longer and more difficult road, but with a commitment to the process, you’re destined to come out on top.