Because your website is the first experience people may have of your business, it is imperative that it be innovative and dynamic, with eye-catching graphics, solid content and be easy to navigate. Whether your site is to be one page or five, you want to encourage action and be search engine-friendly. You can attempt to put this all together yourself – if you have the time to take yourself away from your business - or you can hire a professional freelance web designer and programmer to do so for you. Remember how many other websites you are competing with – well over a million and growing by the minute. A great online presence is crucial to your company!
In medieval times, a “free lance” was a knight, equipped with a weapon, who did not serve one master but sold his services as a mercenary to the highest bidder. Today, this term most often means those employed in writing, editing, and designing projects who work not for a business, but on their own.
A freelancer has usually begun his or her career and gained experience in a business or agency. They have left these places of employment because as freelancers they are able to work where they want, when they want. They often pick their own jobs, so they may be especially qualified for your project because it is of a type they enjoy working on. They are able to budget their own time, to not rush and to do the best job possible.
Finding a website designer or programming freelancer is as simple as typing the term into your favorite search engine. There are many, many sites where freelancers register and are then able to bid on projects which are posted. If you find one who might be good, or one contacts you who has potential, ask for samples of their work or the addresses of sites they’ve created. Or ask friends, family or co-workers if they have dealt with good freelancers. Visit their portfolios and look for informative feedback.
First of all, determine what the goal is of your website – to generate leads, make direct sales or serve as a sort of corporate “pamphlet.” Who will your audience be, who will be your users? When you post your project you must have enough details so the freelancer understands the nature of the work and the budget allotted, and can give appropriate quotes.
In the case of hiring a programmer, ask yourself what your users will expect the software to do for them. How will they interact with the program? A freelance programmer will be able to write a custom application to solve a specific problem for you.
But remember to not have unreasonable expectations. After all, you can’t expect the same output from a single freelancer as you would if you were to hire a major company with the capability to put a team of programmers at your disposal. And don’t make the mistake of letting your programmer test his or her own work. It is very difficult to look for bugs in a project you have created. It often takes another pair of eyes to do an objective assessment of the final project.
Many of the same considerations you employ in hiring a programmer apply to hiring a freelance web designer. Look for websites you find attractive and find out who the designer was. Ask friends, family and co-workers if they’ve used anyone they liked. Make sure the designer’s website is extremely appealing and along the lines of what you’re looking for. How much experience do they have? Are they up to date working with current technology? Are they savvy when it comes to search engine optimization? The freelancer should present you with a proposal and what they will provide for their pay. They should be in communication with you during the process. And they must be able to meet deadlines.
You are the manager in this project. You can’t hire a freelancer and sit back for them to present you with the finished project you’re hoping for. Put a lot of thought into what you want even before you type “freelancer” into your search engine. You might even sketch out your ideas. Your freelancer must respect the fact that you know what you want but may not be able to express it in technical terms. You know what tasks or problems you need fixed, so your freelancer must have the time to talk with you about your desires, and tell you what your program needs to include. Don’t rush or be rushed in the planning stages; if it’s not done right the first time, it can be very costly and time-consuming to have your freelancer fix it.
Remember, you know the intricacies of your business, and the freelancer knows technology. Together you can create truly dynamic results.