New Website Design and How Much It Cost Me

Website ScreenWelcome to the new TheNewYorkBudget.com, launched last week! As you can see, it’s a brand new design. I installed a new theme and changed the layout of the home page completely, adding fancy shmancy widgets with an email sign up form, my video, some of the posts that I think encompass what the site is all about, and of course, the normal blog posts.

I am hoping with this redesign, people who stumble across my site for the first time will understand what the site is about (instead of just seeing a random post about a website redesign fill up the entire screen). Now, I know a LITTLE bit of code, mainly html and css, but I have nowhere near the chops to pull this off myself, so this was my first experience with:

oDesk.com!

Here’s how my experience went:

Posting a Job

Signing up for oDesk was easy enough – just like any other site. It was extremely easy to set up a job posting. In an effort to be as clear as possible, I even made a wireframe beforehand using GoMockingBird.com. I just used their free trial to do it since I was only mocking up one page and I didn’t need to save it for later or collaborate with anyone else. I wrote a detailed post about what I wanted and picked a budget based on other, similar jobs I had seen posted. So far, so easy.

Picking a Designer

The offers came pouring in! People sent me links to their previous work and cover letters. It seemed as though a lot of them were canned responses, so I gravitated towards one that specifically mentioned the wireframe that I provided and said that she understood the task and could do it. I set up a meeting with her on Skype and chatted with her. Her English was not great, so I probably should have stuck to text chat, but we figured it out and I finally decided to choose her. I’ll admit, even now, I’m not exactly sure what my criteria were or should have been. Did I pick the right person? I’m still not sure. I’ll get to the positives and negatives of this job in a moment.

The Cost

The designer and I agreed to terms on a payment of $133.33 for the whole job. I had also found a them that I wanted to use that was priced at $45, bringing my total spend for this revamp to $178.33 – that’s a lot of money for me to spend all at once. But over these past few months, this blog really has become a priority for me, so I am willing to put some money into it. You could argue that the improvements weren’t worth $178.33, that the blog would still have had just as much value without the change and you might be right. But the switch felt right to me and while I am logical and analytical most of the time, every once in a while, I jump in when something feels right.

The Process

I said that I wanted this project to take a week. Looking back, that was an extremely aggressive timeline. However, the whole thing took FOUR weeks, definitely longer than it should have. Lucky for me, I didn’t have any hard and fast deadlines, so I was happy to take the time to get it right. My designer was good, I would say, but not great. The language barrier was a small issue, but I had to keep explaining and re-explaining what I wanted to her in the same words before she understood it. The process was slow. Finally, though, she came out with the product you see here and on the home page.

Positves/Negatives

Positives:

  • The site turned out looking how I envisioned it
  • While the process did take a long time and some hand holding, it didn’t burden my day-to-day TOO much
  • In relative terms, I got this service for EXTREMELY cheap. Companies pay thousands of dollars for updates like this
  • To Be Determined: Hopefully the new site will provide a better experience, especially for new readers

Negatives:

  • The process did take longer than expected and required repetition of instructions to the designer
  • The website could use some touch-ups with fonts and images (I will be working on that)
  • The site looks TERRIBLE on mobile. The theme is “responsive” which means it changes to fit smaller screens, but the new widgets I had created are not responsive. I will figure out how to address this as well.

 

Overall, I am happy with the experience, but it’s too bad that I have more work to do, even though the contract is done. Hopefully my experience helps you with a future decision to use oDesk or not. For now, enjoy the new site!


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20 thoughts on “New Website Design and How Much It Cost Me

  1. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life June 19, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Congrats Dave! It looks great. I actually got my logo done on fiverr!
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted: How Much Do You Need to Live In New York City?My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget June 21, 2014 at 8:17 am

      Thanks Stef! Definitely still needs some work, but I do like it, overall!

  2. Aldo@MillionDollarNinja June 19, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    It looks pretty good. For some reason I thought it would be a lot more than $130. I’m still using a free theme, but will upgrade soon to have more control. I’ll take a look at oDesk and see if it’s good for me.
    Aldo@MillionDollarNinja recently posted: Spent: Looking For Change (Documentary)My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget June 21, 2014 at 8:18 am

      Thanks Aldo! My experience with oDesk is that it definitely still takes a lot of work – fortunately it’s project management work and not actual coding!

  3. Broke Millennial June 19, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Looks snazzy! Congrats on taking the leap to make your blog such a big priority.
    Broke Millennial recently posted: Perhaps I Should Move to Germany?My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget June 21, 2014 at 8:19 am

      Thanks Erin! Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun so far, and I definitely want to put forth the effort to make it better in all ways!

  4. Kassandra June 20, 2014 at 11:43 am

    The site does look good. It’s usually a hit or miss when hiring someone from ODesk or Elance. It’s enticing to use people from overseas because they offer cutthroat rates and many can get the job well done but sometimes it doesn’t work out well. Not to say that hiring a native of North America will guarantee you a better result but as you mentioned the language comprehension with the person you hired did cause you some issues.
    Kassandra recently posted: The S.O.L.O. YearMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget June 21, 2014 at 8:21 am

      I absolutely agree with you on that. It was definitely a process, but it would be hard for me to justify paying $500 – $1000 on an upgrade to this blog at this point.

  5. Kristin @ Brokepedia June 23, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Looking good! I like the video addition, too. Can I ask who did your logo? It’s great.
    Kristin @ Brokepedia recently posted: The Search for Cheaper Phone Plans: My Switch To TingMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget June 23, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks Kristin! I actually lucked out on the logo. A buddy of mine was doing a project with 99designs.com and so I had that created via a project there. Normally, it’s a pretty expensive alternative, but can yield great results if you are willing to drop $200 – $300 on a new logo!

      • Kristin @ Brokepedia June 25, 2014 at 5:50 pm

        Good to know. I want to update my logo at some point. I used some cheap logo generating company to do it, and I feel like it’s kinda boring. Thanks for the info 🙂

        • Mr NYBudget June 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm

          Any time! Best of luck with your logo!

  6. Evan June 24, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Looks good! I have used oDesk for various things in the past – if you can get over the language barrier you can get pretty good work for a lot less then stateside.

    I am a huge fan of the headway theme and most things on elegant themes
    Evan recently posted: The Guaranteed Renewability on your Term Life Insurance Policy is Likely Not a Viable OptionMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget June 24, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      Very true – the language barrier created some problems, but I worked through that. I am actually having trouble with a designer on another project I am doing, but I guess there are always some bad seeds.

  7. Evan June 24, 2014 at 11:48 am

    P.S. you need to install a subscribe to comments plugin – if you need help email me
    Evan recently posted: Is Cash Fungible? Do You Create Separate Bank Accounts for Goals?My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget June 24, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      Thanks for the tip! I just installed and it should be up and running!

  8. Anna June 30, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Wow! $175 for the entire site is a really good deal. The site looks slick and should serve you well. I never really have that much luck with outsourcing. I always end up just doing it myself!
    Anna recently posted: Frozen Elsa CostumeMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget July 1, 2014 at 8:04 am

      Thanks Anna! I actually like to do most things myself, but honestly, that sometimes leads to me screwing things up, and I definitely didn’t want to do that this time!

  9. Ryan @ Impersonal Finance July 9, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I know I’m late to the party, but it looks awesome man. Seriously, very nice.
    Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently posted: a quick rundown of my past 90 daysMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget July 15, 2014 at 11:59 am

      Appreciate it! It needs some tweaks, but I’ll get there!

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