Your budget matters, but creating or redesigning your website is a lot like building a house. Since the ethics and experience of your contractors will vary, any estimates you collect are just one factor in your final decision, and you’re counting on the contractor you hire to deliver quality work as promised, often using a team. How much do you know about the professionals someone else selected to work on your house? How about the person or people building your website?
Three Important Questions
For more than 10 years, graphic designers and web developers have hired me to join their project teams. I write for their clients, or I edit the content their clients have supplied. Some designers and developers are also writers who want a second approach to an existing project or who need extra assistance during an uncommonly busy month.
In most cases, I talk with their clients directly as I write or edit content for websites, brochures or other marketing collateral.
If you have purchased a website design package which promised additional services such as SEO, writing, etc., the easiest way to uncover how your designer will select additional talent is to ask three simple questions.
- Are you the designer who will build my website?
- Will you be hiring an SEO specialist, and/or what type of SEO will you apply to my website?
- Who is writing my content?
The Writers Hired for $5 an Hour
At a tech conference I attended, one of the presenters – a website developer – told other developers she hires writers online for the bargain price of $5 to $10 an hour. I visited her website after the event; her smallest website design packages were several thousand dollars.
Her advice made me think about a month I spent studying French in Paris with a group of other college students. My grandmother paid for my trip, an expensive package deal which included three meals per day. Although my university accepted the course credits offered, the organizer was not affiliated with the school, so any leftover funds belonged to him when the trip was complete. We weren’t expecting fancy, multi-course meals. We also weren’t expecting to eat at McDonald’s or similar French fast-food establishments every day, but that’s exactly what we did.
Sometimes I like a bit of fast food. Maybe you like it, too. But I also like to know exactly what I’m buying. I want the meal I ordered.
Cheap creativity can vary in quality and, sometimes, originality. You can find many online stories about experiments with such low-cost creative outsourcing, including this one by designer Sacha Greif of Folyo: The $5 Logo.
I wrote a post about how “scraping,” online plagiarism, can hurt your site after talking to someone who wanted to sell website packages for just a few hundred dollars each. That designer was planning to copy and paste content found online into new websites for clients, with minimal changes, if any. Search engines and visitors want original content, not websites that are duplicates of someone else’s work.
Want to know what you’re buying and who is building it? It’s easy to find out. Just ask.