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Lately I’ve gotten several calls from people who were scammed, screwed and/or simply messed up by their WordPress web designer who did not exactly have their best interests in mind. I’m not saying that most web designers are full of baloney. The majority are hard working and honest. However, here are 5 possible “horror stories” and what you can do to avoid letting these circumstances happen to you.
Just a side note: Most entrepreneurs are busy, talented people. They have great ideas but may not be very technical. That’s what getting someone to help you is all about. Focus on your skills and talents and let others take care of the things you would rather not do, or don’t have time to do, because it will make you more money in the long run.
1. Paying More Money for a WordPress site than you need to
If you are a large corporation with tons of capital, it may make sense to pay 5 figures or more for a tricked out WordPress site. However, most entrepreneurs have smaller businesses and work from home. It’s easy to get talked into paying more than you need to. I think that sometimes, a web designer assumes you know nothing about how WordPress works and they try to charge you as much as they would for a static html site, where each page gets created separately.
The great thing about WordPress is that there are thousands of templates out there. Some are free and others cost as much as $80. That’s not a big business expense, right? Premium (commercial) themes are updated frequently, have clean code, and look professional. The cool thing is: you don’t have to be a tech genius to operate them. The theme, itself, has been pre-coded for you. Making color and style changes, in most cases is fairly easy. Plus a premium theme company offers support. You may or may not choose to style your theme yourself, but if you hire out, it shouldn’t break your bank account. If someone gives you a price that appears to be way out of the ballpark for your budget, make sure to get a 2nd, 3rd or even 4th opinion. An even better idea is to get a referral from someone you trust who has worked with that web designer or consultant.
2. One the other hand, cheap isn’t always a good idea either
You may decide to get someone from a 3rd world country to work on your site for peanuts. A WordPress expert in the Philippines gets paid less than your babysitter. Again, you have to be careful. If you need something done immediately and they are in a completely different time zone it could be a major disaster especially if your Skype is acting loopy. There are have been some funny incidences of horrific content written by an outsourced freelancer who obviously has language barrier issues.
Hiring an intern has its pros and cons as well. If you find someone who is dedicated to working with you and will not take off for a better offer or a fun party, that’s perfectly fine. The problem is; some interns are there simple to get a class credit. They may not relate to you as far as age and personality. For instance, if they’re in their 20’s you may have to be adept at texting if you want to communicate with them.
IDEA: When hiring someone to work on your site, think of them as your team member. If they are a team player, are reliable, return phone calls/emails immediately, and are efficient, it’s a good thing. If not, find someone who would fit the bill better.
3. An Artiste Web Designer is not necessarily the Best Choice if Your Purpose is to run a Business
There are plenty of “web artists” and “web geeks” who have no clue how to structure your online business. They’re great at making your site look “pretty” or “cool” but not necessarily functional. You might have a black unreadable background, unfriendly web fonts, bells and whistles that get in the way of making a sale, etc. To be completely honest, the more simple and clean your site looks, the more conversions you’ll get. Here’s an example. Your logo takes up the first top half of your page. What is above the fold on your site is an important piece of web real estate. If you want a prospect to take action, make sure an obvious link to that action, appears above the fold. If a viewer has to scroll down to find it, or if your site is stuck because there are too many flashy objects slowing down the load time, your prospects will leave, especially if their computer is slow or they’re looking at your site from their phone.
4. Your Web Designer Took off to Neverland, or you fired them, and you are being Held Hostage without Access to your Files and Passwords
Sometimes a web designer will install an application or account that only he or she has access to. This may occur with a plug-in or a video site, for example. It can also happen on sites like Google Docs or Dropbox, where you are sharing files but your designer has ownership of the files. Make sure your files, video sites, plugins, and outside accounts are in YOUR name and not theirs. Occasionally a “fired” web designer may decide to get mean and hack your files and accounts. It’s always a good idea to get references before hiring and don’t just call someone from an online job site. It’s necessary for your web designer to use your passwords to work on your site, but you need to be able to change your passwords if it becomes necessary.
5. Your WordPress site is User Un-Friendly
WordPress is supposed to be easy for people to use. That’s one of the reasons many business owners and entrepreneurs have switched from static sites to WordPress. However, a geeky designer may decide to get very complicated with their coding to the point that only they or another super geek can operate the site if changes need to be made. There is no reason, nowadays, for this to happen. Premium/commercial themes and most popular free themes have widgets. Widgets are cool little features where you can place items such as text, images, opt in boxes, plugins, and much more, easily on your sidebar and move them around in any order you want. If your site has no widgets it means all this has been coded into the design and it’s much harder to change without the possibility of blowing out your site.
What happens with a super geeked out site is that when changes need to be made, either the original web designer or a specialist has to be called in to make it happen. This, of course, costs you much more money. The funny thing is; sometimes these sites are not spectacular to look at. There are just so so as far as appearance and function. It pays to purchase an $80 theme if it will save you time, money and look attractive at the same time.
There are different types of people you can hire to work on your site.
A True Web Designer is needed if you want to create a completely custom theme. The designer will either customize a premium theme or create the theme completely from scratch. The problem with coding a theme from scratch is that if WordPress makes changes to its versions, which it frequently does, you want to make sure your site will make it through the changes without breaking the theme. If the theme hasn’t been updated in ages you could be sitting on an online time bomb.
A Blog Consultant – This is someone who is very familiar with WordPress but may not be an actual coder or graphic designer. A consultant may work with simple code, or even more complicated code, especially with a premium theme that offers support. Many times theme forums will give a consultant the actual code to copy and paste into the theme. However, a blog consultant will not usually write design code. A consultant is able to customize the theme as far as changing colors, fonts, uploading files, logos, images, video, etc., For someone on a limited budget, a blog consultant is all you really need, especially for day to day work, such as adding and configuring plugins, making editing changes, adding additional features, products, sales systems, etc.
A Graphic Designer – If you want to brand yourself with logos, images, and other image related features on your site, you might want to enlist the help of a graphic designer to give your site a more professional and/or unique image. A graphic designer will work with Photo-Shop or another graphic program.
a Virtual Assistant – A virtual assistant will organize you and take care of day to day issues such as posting articles, creating content, working with your email newsletter service, tele-seminars, coordinating online events, documents, Social Media updates,etc. He or she may not be a WordPress expert, but is able to post, write pages, check web traffic reports and other tasks.
An SEO Expert – Takes care of increasing your search engine optimization to help bring traffic to your website using specific keyword strategies and tactics. An SEO Expert will give you advice on what types of pages, posts, press releases and social media you will need and will analyze your website statistics.
Public Relations Expert (PR) A PR person will create and send out press releases,oversee media relations, and promote you to various news outlets. They may also help to create events both offline and online.
So have fun and get your WordPress site up and running without any horror stories.
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