If you have a business and don’t have a website, you are losing out on great opportunities for your business. But before you rush out and get a cheap website done by just anyone, understand there can be a high cost of cheap website hires.
Some companies aim is to get the cheapest person they can find to develop their website and this is mainly because of the lack of understand of how important a website can be to their business today and to the business they aim to be in the future.
I met Lewis in 2015, we connected at a networking event in London and built a friendship over both our passions for health and fitness. Once I told him I work with small businesses on website design and branding his face changed colour as he told me his website horror story. In 2013, his shop that sells workout supplements and protein powders was getting a lot of requests for a way for students to purchase supplements when they are away at university. A solution to this problem was to create an e-commerce website that people can buy online and he ships the goods to them.
Lewis didn’t really care much for technology and just wanted it done quickly and cheaply to keep his loyal customers happy. He found someone on a ‘compare the market’ style website and hired them for a few thousand pound. It all seemed to be going well, he was somewhat happy with the end product, or so he thought. The website went live, and that’s when all hell broke lose.
Firstly the cheap website couldn’t handle all the orders that came through and bugs started appearing. Because Lewis had already paid the person, as the website was complete the power shifted to the freelancer as there was no incentive for him to make the changes. After a few bugs where fixed by the freelancer, he disappeared and stopped replying emails, literally returned home (E.T Pun).
Lewis underestimated how much orders he will have, he was building for today and today he thought he will only have a few orders every few days. But that was not the case, he had a lot more than that and since the website was not working well, each day the website wasn’t working optimally he was losing money. More money than he imagined.
That’s why it’s important when hiring to understand that the website will be used in the future too. It’s important to hire someone with enough experience to build something that can be edited by others in the future as this makes your website a foundation for other functionalities to be added in the future without you having to rebuild the website. Secondly, building for tomorrow is building with the thought in mind that the website can grow quickly or be adaptable to tomorrows demands.
Unfortunately lewis didn’t think that far and he had to hire someone else, and quickly, in panic mode he put another job post up and someone else had a look at the website and said “man, this code is sh*t”. Lewis heard ‘sh*t’ and his heart sank but had no clue what he meant by code. He soon realised no other freelancer can work on the website and would have to start again. This story goes on but I do not want to bore you guys with the details, let’s look at how to avoid these key mistakes.
Ask the freelancer these key questions and look for references and proof:
The last one is key, at the end of the day, it can be a long lasting relationship between you and them so it’s important you get along. If you can tick all those boxes with a cheap website hire then by all means hire them, but make sure you are building a website for today and for the future.