Choosing a WordPress consultant

Hiring a consultant to help you launch your blog starts with a basic question. Go with a coder or a designer? Or a consultant with a content emphasis? Is SEO important and, if so, which has the best background?

The coder will excel at getting the blog installed on a hosting account and configured with a theme and some plugins. Then, for all practical purposes, the coder turns it over to you with a bit of instruction on logging in, creating a post and uploading an image. He's more inclined to figure out how to do something himself rather than search for a plugin. In sort, his orientation is the code.

The designer will develop or adapt a theme to personalize and brand your blog. He can provide pretty much a turnkey installation. He will have less interest in customizing the code than the theme. Yes, his orientation is your blog's visual impact and, to a greater extent these days, the navigation and organization of content using plugins and widgets available from a vast free inventory. What you see and how you experience it are his preoccupations.

The content oriented one is called a variety of things but the common element is the focus on the content of the blog. Turnkey blog setup, customization, etc. is there to be sure but the theme is likely to be drawn from one of the thousands of inexpensive ones available.

Marketing backgrounds predominate in the content consultants in part because blogs are very effective marketing tools and, in part, because they've learned to write a wide variety of things from press releases to direct mail to ad copy to speeches. Typically, SEO is part of that mix but may also be found in the others albeit from a different angle.

All three assist you in the how to blog. It's just that their focus is on how the blog word, looks or reads.

I'm clearly in the content camp. I don't see the point of a blog if it doesn't provide useful information to a relevant audience and give them a reason to return. Think about it for a moment. You'll put up with a pretty tacky site if it has the information that you really want. And you'll return. The converse is not true: the most beautiful and compelling design won't be a reason to return if you didn't find what you were looking for. Ditto for a site which works very well but is shallow or poorly written and organized content.

Furthermore, for people who offer expertise in one form or another, a blog is the preeminent professional web marketing vehicle. The reason is that a blog is an inexpensive and flexible way to demonstrate your expertise. Neither the code or design ways of thinking are well suited if that's the blog's purpose.

So how do you develop a blog with compelling content, attract and cultivate a following and provide the opportunities of an enhanced reputation, networking and so on? That's another post.