As of March 2018, 30 percent of the websites on the entire internet are powered by WordPress, making it the top content management system (CMS) in the world. And the theme you choose will have a huge impact on how effectively your website engages and converts visitors.
If the theme doesn’t look good, doesn’t load correctly or loads too slowly, or if it doesn’t work with the plug-ins you’re using, you won’t get the traffic or conversions you’re seeking. In order to get a great-looking and top-performing site, you should take the time to find the best WordPress designer to hire. Take a look at our list of the top WordPress theme designers on 99designs to get started.
The 10 best freelance WordPress designers to hire in 2020
How did we choose them as the top WordPress theme designers?
We consider a few different things when we choose our top WordPress theme designers. They are:
Every designer who works with 99designs is hand-vetted by our in-house team and sorted into one of the following three categories:
- Entry level
- Mid level
- Top level
When you work with a top level WordPress theme designer, you can expect top-quality communication and work from an experienced designer with an extensive portfolio.
But don’t assume that an entry level designer can’t produce a great WordPress theme; these are often young designers who are working on building their portfolios. Entry level means that a designer is new to 99designs or meets our minimum criteria for conceptual thought, execution of design principles, technical skills and communication skills for client satisfaction.
Experience with WordPress theme design
Working with WordPress means working within the limits of the CMS. It’s a flexible platform, but it’s still got its edges and boundaries. An experienced WordPress theme designer is familiar with these boundaries and designs themes that fit within them.
With this in mind, understand that designing a WordPress theme is a more niche process than regular web design. A competent WordPress designer creates themes that can easily be coded to work in WordPress. The designers on our list have proven their WordPress chops by working on multiple projects with that CMS.
We wouldn’t promote WordPress theme designers who can’t work professionally with clients. Working professionally means taking the time to communicate effectively and being proactive about resolving potential difficulties before they arise. It also means:
- Getting work in by assigned deadlines
- Using the constructive criticism they receive to improve their work
- Engaging with clients in a friendly, positive way
What it comes down to is this: WordPress theme designers who consistently produce effective WordPress themes—meaning themes that make websites look great, run well and ultimately, convert visitors—are our top picks.
What to think about when hiring a WordPress designer
There are a few things to consider when you’re shopping for a WordPress theme designer. Some of these are objective: you can hire a WordPress theme designer who knows how to make a theme mobile-friendly or one who doesn’t. Other considerations are more subjective, like whether a designer’s style fits with yours.
Objective considerations to keep in mind are:
- Coding needs. Do you already have a developer and just need a great design? Or do you need someone who can code the theme after they’ve designed it? If the latter, make sure you ask a designer if they offer that service.
- Knowledge of plug-ins and compatibility with them—particularly, how they relate to human-centered design in a WordPress theme. You’re probably going to use at least one WordPress plug-in on your website, and a lot of plug-ins change how a theme works and feels. If you plan to use a specific plug-in, make sure you mention it to your WordPress theme designer so they know to design the theme with it in mind.
- An understanding of how color choice impacts usability. Look at other WordPress themes in the designer’s portfolio: do they use background, text, and highlight color choices that complement and contrast each other, or do the themes look jarring, washed-out or simply dull? Can you read the text against the background? When you have a custom WordPress theme designed, you can decide which colors you like, but your designer should have an understanding of how colors work together and with the viewer’s eye to guide your color choices.
Subjective considerations to make are:
- The designer’s style. Take a look at their portfolio to see if they’ve created themes that look like what you want in a website
- Support after project completion. When you update your website in the future, can you handle it yourself or do you need to work with a designer who will do that for you?
Are you ready to hire an amazing freelance WordPress theme designer?
When you hire a WordPress theme designer, you have to hire somebody who thinks about technical limits and capabilities and works them into designs while managing to create works of art. In this way, a WordPress theme designer is more like an architect or an interior designer than a painter or an illustrator—their flair for design rests upon an understanding of how their designs work. Your website’s WordPress theme is the world’s first point of contact with your company. Even if its aesthetic design is perfect, poor functionality will drive visitors away.
You can trust the WordPress designers on 99designs to be competent and professional—we vetted them ourselves.