Welcome 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:
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 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.
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.
- 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
- 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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