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Be Careful when Hiring a Web Designer

Over the past few weeks I have been asked several times why I never moved forward with making my “new design” live. While I have mentioned a few of the issues in past posts, I wanted to get into more depth as to help everybody else avoid the problems that I had to deal with.

First things first, let’s take a close look at why I decided to keep the current design for the time being.

1. The new design was not compatible with Internet Explorer. Although a lot of people are switching to Firefox, this is not the case across the board. Obviously, if you cannot view the blog properly with IE, it is a huge problem.

2. The search button and RSS button were not working as they should. While this is probably a simple fix, for somebody like myself with no technical skills, it would have taken quite some time.

3. Perhaps most importantly, it was not widget compatible. During my initial consultation with the designer this was the detail that I stressed the most. For me, it is essential to be able to drag widgets and quickly add information to the sidebar when necessary.

Why didn’t you tell your designer what you needed? Well, this exactly what I did after noticing the problems the day that I made the site live. The designer was accommodating at first, and even left a comment on a post stating:

“we’re the designers for Chris’ new website design and we’re working on the new design edits for IE issues. We’ll have them all complete tomorrow afternoon/evening.”

Thinking that everything would be fixed within a day at the most, I was not worried. Well, after a week or so of no contact, it was obvious that the designer decided to move on without taking care of the changes. Even when I would hear from him stating that the problems would get fixed, there would be several days of nothing to follow.

In my opinion, I made two mistakes during the hiring of this designer:

1. I paid for the entire job upfront. This was understandable because as a freelancer, I know that getting payment upfront is a good idea with new clients. But with that being said, sending 50 percent would have been a better idea.

2. I never asked for past work samples or references. Simply put, this is a huge mistake. When a new client approaches me they always ask for samples, and I am more than happy to provide them. This way, they can get an idea of my style and expertise. It is amazing that I didn’t do this, but sometimes a lapse in judgment occurs even when you are trying to avoid mistakes.

So what next? For now, I am going to stick with the current design. It may be one that others are using, but at the same time the blog is growing steadily. Last month was my biggest in terms of traffic and income, and RSS readership is nearing 100. With that being said, at the start of the new year I will be paying for a new design once again. The next time around I will follow my own advice so that I do not end up spending money with nothing to show for it!

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11 Comments »Web DesignDecember 5th, 2007

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