One popular way getting your website designed and developed at an inexpensive price would be to outsource your project overseas or to some other part of the country (where it may cheaper, such as rural areas). You can try :Guru.com, Base Camp, Huddle and Elance.
Elance is probably one of the first and most popular places to outsource your website project to offshore developers. There are certainly many pitfalls to this process as well.
Some Quick Tips about submitting your project for vendors to bid on:
- Be organized and give as much information as you can.
- Do not hold back info for the sake of trying to get low ball bidders or “see what the landscape is like.”
- Carefully look at the reviews by other customers of the vendors before choosing your vendor.
- Look at how many repeat customers a vendor has an additional source of information.
Project/Job Description Should Be Well Thought Out
Make sure your job description is well organized and descriptive enough, so bidders can take a look at your project and bid on it accordingly. The more thorough you are in your project description, the better. It is not fair to bidders to skimp on your description details. You will only end up with lowball bidders who do not have much experience within their trade or within Elance community.
You can find some inexpensive web designers Elance; however, you must understand there will be a lot of work on your end because it will not be as easy as working with someone close to you in which you can meet with one-on-one. You will have to find new ways to communicate such IM (Instant Messaging), e-mail, Skype and so on.
Do Not Go With the Lowest Bidder
Some bids you will recognize as being way off (i.e. too low or too high). You may have a project that may normally go for about $1800.00, and you will get some bids that are around $700.00. This may seem like a dream come true but very wary of such low bids.
Know How to Price Your Project
I had a client who posted his website project on Elance and set the budget at $48,000 because he was including marketing expenses. He didn’t understand the bidding process. Also, be realistic in your expectations. I’ve seen businesses owners a post a project ask for the world on a two-dollar budget. With that kind of perspective, you certainly get bottom feeders.
Don’t Be a Jerk
I see a lot of would be clients come off as real jerks, making all sorts of demands when the set up their job description. No self respecting vendor (one that is really good at what he does) is going to be subject of such absurd demands. Only jerks work with jerks. Don’t be one and you will be pretty much all set.
Don’t Ask For Mock-Ups or Spec Work
If the vendor does not have what you are looking for in their portfolio, move on to the next vendor. Asking for free mock-ups will only attract vendors who will not work out in the long run. It is very gratifying that someone would go out of their way to create spec work for you without you prompting but unfortunately, those that offer these mock-ups are usually not good vendors to work with. You are better off sticking to looking at a vendor’s past work.
Looking at Body of Work (i.e. Portfolio)
Make sure the portfolio is thorough and strong. Do not be overwhelmed by a lot of images in a portfolio. You must look at each portfolio piece and evaluate it because many vendors will put up a lot of jpeg images (thumbnails) of website that they have worked on but the actual portfolio piece (the real corresponding website) does not really exist.
Reviews and How to Evaluate Them
Reviews are a good way to gauge how a vendor performs but you must examine the reviews with caution. The rating system on Elance is a bit unconventional and it leads to a lot of confusion and artificially high ratings. You will see on a lot of 5.0 ratings with a few other rating points sprinkled in there. Th9is may seem a bit skewed, so make sure to read the written evaluation associated each one.
Another thing to watch out for is that many people simply do not give reviews after their project is finished. My suspicion is that if a vendor has not done a good job for the buyer and the buyer does not necessarily want to give a bad rating, then the buyer will simply not place a review at all—similar to abstaining from a vote. Like I said before, a 5.0 is equivalent to an A+ in my book and very few people are that exceptional.
Look at Repeat Customers
One thing on Elance that is easily over looked is how many repeat customers a vendor has. This one indicator will probably say more about a vendor than anything else (including portfolio, high ratings, etc.). For instance, if a vendor has done 100 projects on Elance and has an average score of a 4.9 but only had 3 out of 100 repeat customers, then you need to dig a bit deeper to find out why.