You’ve had your website up for a while now and you’re a tad disappointed in it’s look and performance. Maybe it was the first one you built and at the time you were so proud with your new found skills. But then you started looking at the results in terms of traffic and sales and that pride started to slip. It nearly took a nosedive when you looked at competing sites.
Your site needs to be tweaked
Think about it like this. Suppose a guy or a gal learns how to ride a bike and grows up to be a cycling enthusiast. When they get their first bike it’s probably a Schwinn beach glider with no gears, no front and back brakes, no water bottle holder and handles that resemble the horns on a Texas steer. So the kid learns to ride a bike and is thrilled…for a little while.
As time passes the kid wants more out of the bike and before you know it he or she has upgraded to a 5 speed, then a 10 speed and eventually to a high end racing bike with custom tires and brakes. About this time they also buy tight spandex pants and a helmet with a little rear view mirror attached.
Each time they upgraded it was because they wanted more out of their bike. That’s where you are with your website. You’re seeing what other sites can do and you’re comparing it to your “Schwinn” website. You want more but how do you get it.
When the work requires skills you don’t have
If you have limited design and development skills the fastest way to tweak your site so it is professional in appearance and performance is to hire people to get it done for you. It’s called outsourcing and before you scream “That costs money” stick with me and I’ll show you that it doesn’t cost nearly what you think it does.
There’s a huge pool of extremely talented people who will work as contractors on a project basis. These are freelancers. Most are individuals but there are some small businesses as well. The key is they have the talent you need but not the overhead that a traditional shop requires. Net result, great work for less.
So what do they do and how do you find them?
To answer the first part of the question, they do everything. You can get simple graphic tweaking such as retouching photos to a complete overhaul of website design and development. And once your site is cranking you can even add an outsourced customer service department.
My wife Arlene made extensive use of freelancers when she built her website EpilepsyMoms.com. The result was a professional site that got launched quickly and is now one of the most popular in her niche. But just like the bike rider she is always looking to get more out of the site, (in her case she wants more content), and she continues to use freelancers to do just that.
Finding these freelancers is a snap. You can search for them on Google or you can visit one of the many outsourcing sites like Elance.com or vWork.com. You can find somebody to make a logo or you can get specialty services like digital IR (infrared) photography. The key though is knowing just what you want and how to evaluate the freelancer.
10 best practices when outsourcing a job
- Put all of your preconceived ideas about what outsourcing costs out of your mind and post a job. Even if you have approached a brick and mortar shop for an estimate and got shocked out of your socks at the price, give a freelance site a shot. Remember most of these freelancers don’t have anywhere near the overhead of a brick and mortar and they are individuals receiving the money directly. This has a serious discounting affect without discounting the quality.
- One of the most frustrating parts about being a professional freelancer is bidding on a job that that has an inadequate job description. In fact professional freelancers may take a pass on a vague description figuring that a) the buyer doesn’t know what they want meaning scope creep is likely going to occur or b) the buyer is just kicking the tires and trying to get a general feel for pricing. Either way it’s a waste of valuable proposal writing time for the freelancer. Make your description extremely detailed if you want to attract the best talent.
- Divide your project into chunks and set deadlines or milestones for each chunk. This allows you to see the progress being made and insures that the provider is actually working on the project.
- The proposal is an important document when deciding on a provider but feedback may be a more telling way to see what kind of worker they really are. Look for good feedback and a high repeat customer percentage. Avoid providers with no feedback in their history.
- If you like the proposal but not the price, try negotiating with the provider.
- Stay engaged with the provider. If he or she has questions respond to them in a timely helpful fashion. Good communications between buyer and provider translates to a finished product that meets the buyer’s needs to a T.
- If you’re using a platform like Elance.com or vWorker.com, don’t be tempted by provider offers of a discount if you take the job offsite and let them work directly for you. It’s a violation of the TOS and it’s also a sign you have a provider with ethical issues.
- When the project is complete and you’re satisfied with the work pay the provider. Don’t string them along. Get a reputation as a prompt payer and you’ll attract the best talent to your projects.
- When you find great providers then build great relationships. Give them excellent feedback and be sure to invite them to bid on your next project.
- Providers get feedback and so do buyers. Getting good feedback is a great way to build your brand. Don’t be shy about requesting positive feedback from a provider.
Outsourcing is the fastest way to tweak your website.
A recognized expert in natural search and outsourcing, James Martell is a leader in the affiliate marketing industry. His approach to the business is “real world” not some super secret technique. His methods are based on intelligent planning, solid execution and effective monitoring of results. His laid back “guy next door” style has made him a popular choice for speaking engagements at affiliate marketing conventions and events across the world. James founded the longest running podcast in the industry “Affiliate Buzz” and runs a highly successful affiliate marketing training as well.
James, his wife of 24 years Arlene and their four kids enjoy life as it should be lived at their home in a seaside suburb of Vancouver, B.C.