I’ve outsourced work in the past to countries such as India, Ukraine, Philippines through websites such as Fiverr and Upwork. While outsourcing sounds enticing since you can hire talent for a fraction of what you would charge a local web designer, it certainly has its downside which many fail to consider.
My first experience outsourcing was not a positive one. I remember purchasing an SEO package from a company in India called Blurbpoint which provided a combination of SEO tactics which today would probably get your website blacklisted in Google. I split the cost with my business partners which came out to about $700 US and looking back I realize we got completely scammed for what we paid. Based on the report I got was a bunch of meaningless backlinks and comment spam. For all I know they probably used a software like Xrumer which was shortly lived comment/forum spam software that targeted sites that didn’t have any anti-spam running on their sites.
I’ve been outsourcing for over a couple years now and to be honest my experience has never been consistent. I NEVER outsource an entire project. Typically i’ll outsource small parts or simple tasks such as data entry.
Finding quality talent on outsourcing websites such as Elance, Odesk, Freelancer and many others is like finding a needle in a haystack. As someone who has an understanding in web development I can easily pinpoint those who are more qualified for the task than those who claim to be. If you’re not careful you’ll hire someone who’s treating your website like a guinea pig or not taking the best route to accomplish a task.
As an example I found several freelancers using inline CSS instead of using the WordPress Child Theme which is bad practice. This method of using inline CSS in your template can result in a damaged website in future WordPress/template updates. In short, they would take the quick and dirty method to making changes to websites and not the correct procedure.
I always get a handful of freelancers who try to tell me that a project will take them 2 weeks when I know it can take 2 days. If you’re someone who isn’t familiar with development then you are probably taking a big risk when outsourcing.
Here are some tips to outsourcing that I recommend:
1. Download and install Skype. This is pretty much the standard for communicating with them. I’ll usually invite the applicants who’s bios stand out to my skype and usually ask them for previous work pieces and questions regarding their experience on the job i’m hiring for.
2. Be knowledgeable in what you are outsourcing and it takes to get the job done.
3. Prepare a document outlining exactly what you need. This will help you understand exactly what you need. It will provide a the freelancer a clear understanding on what needs to be done and save you time when interviewing potential freelancers.
4. Specify that your payment rate/fixed cost is non-negotiable right off the bat. I’ve had a few situations where I spent time explaining the details only to have them haggle with me about the project cost. I include the terms in my project document.
5. Either create a backup of the current site or prepare a development environment. Be prepared for the situation someone damages your website. I was very trusting in the beginning and would give people access to my live sites only to find out they were hacks.
6. Be thorough when the job is completed. Freelancers will sometimes rush through the work and don’t pay much attention to detail. This is also another reason as to why you need to prepare a document.
I’ve hired over hundreds freelancers to date and spent thousands. I have a few select go to people for different tasks but always on the lookout for new talent. If you’re a developer this is a great way to get someone to give you an extra hand or to help with mundane tasks such as data entry.