Five Things to Avoid in a WordPress Membership Site Developer

It’s important to know what to look for in a WordPress membership site developer, because finding the wrong one can be very frustrating.

The worst part is receiving a website design that just doesn’t work for your business. It takes time away from your business and it could make customers run for the hills. Look for these warning signs before hiring a WordPress membership site developer, and find someone who will be a great fit from the start.

If you encounter a WordPress membership site developer who ticks a few of the red flags from this list, you’ll end up spending more money to hire the right developer to clean up the mess.

It is devastating for a developer to have to tell a client, “I’m sorry but I need to charge extra to clean up what someone else did.” It’s best to avoid the mess in the beginning, by hiring someone who has experience and a strong track record.

Watch for these five signs that a developer will leave nothing but messes for a great developer to clean up.

1. A Savvy WordPress Membership Site Developer Won’t Beat Around The Bush

If you are working with a membership site developer who tells you that some features and capabilities are impossible, but won’t tell you why… that’s a red flag.

For example, if you see a feature on another membership site that you believe would work for your business, and your designer tells you it’s not possible, ask why immediately.

Remember, if someone else has done it, it can be done.

Perhaps there are reasons why the designer has said no, including your budget, site configuration, or additional programming time.

If those are the reasons, talk more about how to fix the issue that is stopping the developer. If they still insist it’s not possible, or if they become irritated with your questions, it’s time to find someone else. Often, if a developer says it’s not possible, it’s because they cannot actually do the work.

2. Is The Price Too Good To Be True?

Discounts in the world of web design typically translates to less experience. This is one of many businesses where cheap equals low quality.

Many developers know that anyone charging full membership site design and integration with a platform like Infusionsoft or Ontraport for a low price doesn’t actually know what they’re doing.

No developer, making an honest living, and who knows how to do the job, would charge basement-low prices for the job.

In fact, low prices are either those trying to learn how to set up a membership area for the first time and want to use your business as a training ground, or they don’t know what they’re getting into.

It’s always best to pay a little higher price to get the quality you need for your website to reflect the level of experience you want to deliver to your customers via your members only area.

When it comes to setting up and designing beautiful AccessAlly membership sites for Infusionsoft or Ontraport, you should expect to invest between $2000-$4500 for a full integration, depending on the size of your e-course or complexity of your offerings.

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3. Solid WordPress Membership Developers Give You The Reigns

Can you update the site on your own after the designer has walked away from it? If you can’t, you don’t have a quality website.

There are very few reasons why a developer would leave you with a website you cannot update yourself. This situation raises red flags all over the place.

If you have a new product to sell at midnight, why should you wait for the next day for your membership site developer to be available?

If you have a customer question that can be answered with a website update, what’s wrong with you completing a simple update on your own? It is, after all, your site, so you should be able to change it without waiting for someone else.

WordPress membership sites, when done properly, handle membership plugin updates or new plugins without issue. Shoddy work, done by a developer who doesn’t know what he or she is doing, will fall apart if you attempt an update.

If a developer tells you to leave your hands off your membership site, ask why, then find a developer who will be happy to educate and keep things as user friendly for you as possible.

You will have to update your plugins, but that should be explained to you. WordPress will also send you update recommendations, so you shouldn’t have to run to a developer every time there is a new available update.

4. A Strong Developer Knows Which Plugins Are Right For Your Needs

There are a lot of WordPress membership management plugins to choose from… and a professional membership site developer who has experience, will know which ones to recommend for your particular business needs.

There’s no “one size fits all” membership site plugin for WordPress. There are great options based on which email marketing system you use, what user experience you want to create, and what type of courses you’re delivering.

A strong developer will be the expert you turn to in order to make the right decision for you.

There are plenty of lower cost WordPress membership site plugins that you might have heard of or even tried, but if you’re looking to set up a customized and truly professional level membership site then these plugins may have limitations.

A confident developer will know the ins and outs of different WordPress membership site plugins, because they have hands on experience setting them up and using them with other clients.

5. No Knowledge About Using the Site

This might be hard to believe, but some developers will create a site, then not explain to the customer how the site should be used.

This goes hand in hand with the designer who tells you to never update your site once it’s finished. The designers basically hand you the keys to your car, but hide the locks so you can’t get into the vehicle.

As the site owner, you must be able to make changes, change the content, and have access to the Wordpress dashboard. If these things do not happen, it’s time for a better developer to come in.

Some designers will do this to collect a monthly fee and keep clients. This is morally wrong; good web developers will create a user-friendly Wordpress site then hand the whole thing over to the client.

It is, after all, your site, and you should have full access to it. Great developers don’t need to hold onto you month after month, although if you prefer to work with someone on a retainer basis that’s absolutely possible.

While it is not a designer’s job to completely teach a business owner how to use a WordPress plugin or WordPress itself, it is important for the designer to give the business owner a few basic tips.

If you’re using AccessAlly for your membership site, then you’ll have access to step by step training videos that walk you through how to add course content and create new sections of your membership site.

Some designers will talk you through the process, others will send specific instructions in an email or via video. Work out how you will learn your website with your designer; great designers will point you toward places to learn.

Picking The Right WordPress Membership Site Developer

Now that you know what to avoid, it’s time to discuss how to find that great designer. Begin by asking questions. No question is too small and no question is “too dumb.”

Too often, women business owners have to prove themselves repeatedly, and we think we should know everything. Designers know we are experts in our business, but we are not experts in all things membership site design.

They expect questions that may seem silly, but they’re understanding. A good membership site developer wants the questions that will encourage a conversation on how to make the membership area for you.

Ask questions regarding the points above – ask if the designer operates in any of those manners. Remember that cheap doesn’t equal great, and look at the overall cost of your website.

If you have to hire a higher-priced developer after the low-priced designer does a terrible job, you’ll spend double your cost.

Finally, talk to other clients of the designer. These people will tell you the truth, and if the designer is good, he or she already has a list of clients for you to call.

Talk to customers directly – testimonials can be faked, unfortunately. Do your due diligence to find the best designer possible.

Nathalie Lussier

I’m a writer, technologist, and regenerative farmer. I founded AccessAlly with my husband in one frantic weekend to solve my immediate course platform issues. Over a decade later the company has grown, and our product has evolved to serve millions of learners across the globe.

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