A Website-Drama in 10 Acts
(written, performed, partially directed, suffered, survived, reported by me)
For the impatient audience:
Right now, I have an up and running website. The End.
For the practiced reader:
April showers bring May flowers…or how after six months my website is finally open for business.
This is for all of you that think about setting up a website using a freelancer, and for all of you that want to have a good laugh!
Honestly, I did not expect this to be such a Sisyphus struggle – taking one step forward and three back. Me being such a classical cliche entrepreneur, of course, I wanted to do as much as possible myself; spend a minimum amount of money, get the maximum out of it, and that as fast as possible. Let’s just say, I paid dearly maybe not with money but with lots of hours, nerves, frustration, sweat and tears. So much so that I started believing that it might be a sign I should not have a website all 😉
On the positive side, I know now SO much about domains, hosting, website building, code, back-up, css, themes etc. than I could have ever imagined possible (or wanted to know for that matter). It all started out so promising and harmless; I registered my domain and hosting in 10 minutes (with ‘Go Daddy’) and I knew what functionality, design and structure I wanted. A colleague had recommended a huge tech freelance platform called ‘Freelancer.com’ and sure enough after putting my project up (of building a customized ‘WordPress’ template), I had more than 20 offers that promised to build it very cheaply within 21 days.
Although you can see the numbers of jobs a freelancer has completed successfully and read some customer references, I had no idea how to select one over the other. Naturally, I looked at the price and time line and looked at work samples etc. but in the end, I picked the one that started chatting (over the platform) with me first. Here come crucial indicators (I wish I knew) when NOT to pick a freelancer:
- if the level of English is questionable in the first chat. It can only get worse, because the guy writing to you at this time, is the boss – every other person in the team speaks (even) worse. The number of times, I had to read a (so called) sentence out loud over and over again, were countless…I think deciphering hieroglyphs would have been faster.
- if they cannot provide live sample websites. I found out (way too late) that the ones they gave on the platform, were really more mock-ups than a full-blown functioning website. Also, look at the re-hire rate, that really tells you if someone was happy with the working relationship.
- if they say the time difference is not a problem. As most of them are based in and around India, you are looking at 12-13 hours (!). In my case, I don’t think they understood that I was behind them and basically, we barely managed to chat, exchange updates, comments when we were both online. That makes for very slow progress and unsettling sleeping habits.
- if they don’t tell you how many different people will be working on your project. I just wanted to throw in the towel, when I got asked the same thing over and over again (being addressed as SIR again). Not only did I not know what was going on, but I think they didn’t either.
- if they are trying to sell you something more or different, before they have completed what you have hired them for . Not a week passed by without them trying to sell me a logo design, search engine optimization etc. All I wanted was for them to build my template and make it easy for me to manage it.
- If they are not insisting and have an efficient way/process to give feedback and track progress. You don’t want to know the hours I have lost in trying to explain what I was happy with and needed changed etc. Also, the 21 days turned into 4 months with them just not doing anything at times.
- If they are not promising you a back-up file with your custom made theme template (css sheet) that they are sending once the job is done. Through whatever weird incident (that even Go Daddy people hadn’t seen before), my theme sheet got renamed and oh, surprise – got thrown out. ‘My’ freelancers did not make a back-up and had the nerve to tell me that they would have to build it from scratch, charging like it was a new job.
- if they say something is not possible that logically seems not such a big deal of a request, i.e. a change of font style, size or header characteristics. That simply means they don’t know how to do it.
- if they want to log in into your WordPress account using your personal log in and password. Thank heavens, I did not agree to that and forced them to set up a separate user within my account. Had I agreed to them using/sharing my ‘user’ set up, I would have never been able to tell who had created, edited, changed what! It would have all been ‘me’.
- if they don’t offer / know that one can create your template in an off-line environment that can be activated when you are happy with it.
There you have it…I ended up hiring another freelancer to make the last changes, and I would re-hire him. I hope knowing these points will support you in having smooth sailing. Or maybe it has convinced you to just hire someone to do it for you. Either way, I do want to share why I took on the challenge of having a website altogether 🙂
As a professional accredited coach (ACC) and consultant (BSc, MSc) I support professionals to move successfully through transition (e.g. promotion, job change, self-employment), through the optimal application of value systems, behavior patterns and state of mind. It is my goal that clients can help themselves, developing a sustainable resourceful state of mind, which will let them make even better choices and develop more productive communication with others.
If you are curious, I’m happy to reserve time in my calendar to give you a sample experience. At your service, if you want to put it all together.