Hiring freelancers provides e-commerce businesses with more flexibility and more options than if they went with an agency or in-house employee. But when it comes to developing a website, you can't just expect one person to do everything.
Instead, you should break the project down into smaller pieces and hire a specialist for each one. In this blog, we'll provide an outline for you to do just that and point out what you should look for in the freelancers.
Freelance content creator
Let's start with a content creator, because that's perhaps the most common type of freelance work in this age of content marketing. And it's no surprise why -- hiring a freelance content creator lets you schedule by the project instead of making a long-term commitment.
This also might be the most important aspect of your site. According to this Forbes article, your site content will playing a deciding role in your lead generation and conversion efforts:
"One of the best ways to drive traffic is to provide readers with high quality, cutting-edge information. When a visitor lands on your site and sees unique articles, blogs and other postings covering critical news, events or changes in your industry, you are far more likely to stand out from the competition and be recognized as an authority in your field or profession."
There are two kinds of content that your site needs -- evergreen and current. The former stays on your site for months at a time while the latter requires a consistent stream of fresh content. Both are crucial from a marketing point of view.
In terms of what you should look for, we recommend finding a content creator who:
- has a solid body of experience
- understands your brand and professional tone
- has a good grasp on SEO
Freelance web designer
Another common type of freelance work is web design. We can't emphasize strongly enough how important the UX and UI are for e-commerce sites. Consumers today don't even take businesses with poor site designs seriously.
Fortunately, there are freelancers lined up waiting to help your business out. If you're trusting someone with something as important as your site design, then we recommend looking for the following qualities:
- lots of experience
- the ability to design for both mobile and desktop sites
- a style that will match your company's brand
- availability in case something on your site breaks
Freelance SEO expert
Search engine optimization remains a mystery to most people, but the concept is actually quite simple. We all know users gravitate to the top of Google's search engine results pages, so marketers try to figure out what exactly results in a better site ranking.
It's an inexact science, but SEO professionals have a good handle on it by now. This Search Engine Land article explains how they can predicate a certain event's impact on your site ranking:
"They can anticipate how a new data security policy implemented by IT might affect a forward-facing marketing campaign or activity. They know the limitations of the site and can knowledgeably consult with developers to see whether what marketing wants is possible, or offer alternatives. Most importantly, they inform each of these teams on how their activities can stay compliant with (and be optimized for) search engines."
We mentioned earlier that your content creator should have some idea of SEO. But the best strategy is to let him mostly focus on quality and then let an SEO expert come in an optimize your entire site.
As this is a more technical field, an SEO expert should:
- have experience specifically in SEO
- have a great understanding of HTML
- be active and up-to-date so he's optimizing for Google's algorithm in 2017 and not 2007
After the content creator, web designer, and SEO expert have all done their jobs, your site will be pretty much finished. But this last step is critical, and it's one businesses skip far too often.
You need a freelance tester, someone with no expectations or history regarding your business, to go through your site. He'll be able to tell you if your content and UX are engaging, if the site navigation makes sense, and if the branding is consistent.
It's important to note that you cannot do this personally. You should, of course, be satisfied with your site, but you can't evaluate it objectively. You need someone with a fresh perspective, who represents your prospective customers, to do that for you.
When you hire freelancers to develop your e-commerce website, you have control over the entire process. So even if you're not an expert in web design or content creation, you can make sure you get exactly what you're looking for.