tips for getting an awesome outsourced web developers

Tips For Uncovering Awesome Outsourced Web Developers

Finding a website ‘builder’ for a new site, from a clean slate, is a piece of cake.  It’s even easier if their has never been a live site up and you have no traffic sources or inbound links.  Getting work done on a live website is a whole different animal.  A mean, mean, animal.  If you’re going to have a website that breathes, you will sooner or later need to cross paths with this animal.  You’re breathing website will need updates, you’ll want things changed, you’ll need pages redesigned.  Getting this stuff done on a live website is no easy task.  I’ve outsourced well over 100 development project and I’m continuously frustrated with finding excellent developers.

In the process of having work done, you need to make sure of two things

  • That your website remains up and fully function during the process.
  • That the development work is ‘functions’ with the rest of the site and is up to par.

Keeping these two things in check is a headache in itself.  I find most developers just do a ‘quick & dirty’ implementation on the work, most likely because they lack the skills.  This leaves you with a site that has more problems than when you started.  It’s an extremely frustrating situation.

Here’s what I do:

  • Never let new developers work on a live site. If it is their first time working for you and you are not 100% comfortable in their abilities, set up a development copy of the website.  Let them do their work on the development site, and then copy the website from development to live site.  This will save you from the ultimate headache of having your website down when customers are trying to surf (your site).  Its happened to me, and I’ve lost countless dollars as a result.
  • Make A Specific List of Tasks and Standards for the project ad (on Freelancer, Upwork, Codeable, etc) Literally spell out every detail that needs to be done, line by line as if you are writing a checklist for an airplane operating manual. Then come up with standards regarding the quality of work.  The standards are crucial as many Freelancers will do a hack job in which their project is ‘completed’ but they create other problems on the site.

    My typical development standards for outsourced projects.

  • Make a Screen cast video. Task list and conditions can be rather difficult for anyone to fully understand and rarely clearly communicate the full scope of work.  Just try reading some job postings on Freelancer.com and you will see what I mean.   It is extremely helpful to make a screen cast video explaining, and talking through the entire project.  This makes it easier for Freelancers’ to understand your requirements, and help get more accurate bids.  I make the screen cast videos easily using a totally free program called Screen-Cast-O-Matic.

Tip: In the video tell the freelancers watching the video to let you know in their bid posting.  This helps filter through those just placing a random number in there.

  • Invite Excellent Freelancers To Your Project. The best freelancers, the ones you want, don’t go looking for projects.  In other words, the good freelancers are too busy to look at project listings.  You’ll need to find them.  com has a good filtering tool which allows you to filter through profiles and find the top rated people for each project.  Then contact them directly asking them to bid on your project.  Most of them will bid your project if asked, but otherwise would’ve never found it.  This gets you in touch with a top notch talent.
  • Go With Us OR European Developers. Yes many developers are from Asia, and I do run the risk of sounding prejudice, but my experience has been that US and European developers tend to take a more holistic approach to the project, pay more attention to detail, and test things before delivering.
  • Chat before hand. Before hiring anyone for any task, I always make sure to do a Skype video chat and usually screenshare.  This allows me to assess my Freelancers’ communication ability so I am sure I am not just getting someone typing in “I understand” and “no problem”.  This cuts down on a lot of miscommunication and poor hiring decisions.  Despite my regular chats though, many Freelancers’ still fail to Perform.
  • 1 Chance Only For Revisions/corrections. I’ve gone through multiple rounds of feedbackand revision for things that should be clearly obvious deficiencies for anyone capable.  Its frustrating and time wasting.  Now I only give one chance. Once you’ve got some work done, take the time to review it and give your freelancer one round of feedback.  If they can’t take care of it after 1 round of feedback, end the project, get back what money you can move on.
Founder of a home service / specialty trade contracting company (think patio's and deck) with a focus on customer experience. Quantitative investor. Data driven marketer. Runner.

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