Elance Blog

How to Build a Simple Website

Have you always wanted a website, but didn’t know how to even start thinking about identifying and describing what you wanted, much less finding someone to help you build it?

We asked one of our busiest website providers, Kevin Faro of UNorth, LLC, to create a template you can use to outline your dream website.

Choosing a Title
It is important that service providers have a clear idea of what you are looking for. Starting with the title, be as specific as possible.For example, instead of saying "Website needed", try "5 Page Information Website with a Picture gallery". In other words, instead of naming your project, explain your entire project in one sentence. When browsing through thousands of projects, service providers are keen to bid on projects they fully understand.

Your Requirements
The web industry is similar to the medical industry; there are so many branches and you want to get the most qualified provider to review your project. Generally speaking, longer descriptions are better than short, vague ones. Remember that the provider is making a commitment by placing a bid and if they are not sure what you are looking for, they are likely to boost their prices to cover for any "unknown" areas.

In your description, if you know the technical requirements, be sure to list them. For example, if you know that you want to use a specific forum application, and this needs to run on a Linux server, state that in your description. If you don’t, try explaining the concept in the simplest, most descriptive way possible.

Another important aspect of your project is its time-frame. This is important because service providers need to make sure they have the necessary resources to deliver the project on time. If the project’s time-frame is longer than needed, providers may place a lower bid, whereas emergency projects are generally more expensive.

Lastly, state if you would like the service provider to be from a specific location. Elance service providers are literally located all over the world and are accustomed to working with clients in different locations and time zones. Choosing a service provider in your own time zone is appealing to some buyers because it can ease coordinating communication.

But no matter what your location preference is, you'll want to clarify your preferred communication style because the work will be done remotely. Think about whether you prefer setting up conference calls at the beginning of the project or if everything will be done via written communication. Establishing your communication style up-front will ensure expectations are not missed when the project work is in process.

Listing Similar Websites
This is service providers’ favorite part of your project description. If there are other websites that offer the same service as yours, or have a design layout that you like in particular, be sure to list them in your project description. This will allow service providers to see a working example of your vision, get familiar with your design taste, and understand your expectation level.

Domain and Web Hosting
If this is the first step you are taking to bring your website online, state in your description that you are looking to purchase domain and web hosting as well. Many providers offer packages that save you money when purchased together. If you already have web hosting, it would useful to mention who your web host is. Some companies, such as GoDaddy, have a special configuration on their servers that may be incompatible with certain codes.

Plans for the Future
Both buyers and providers prefer a long-term business relationship. If you have plans for expansion of your website, or there may be other projects that are waiting to begin, let service providers know. They may offer a lower bid price, knowing that if this project goes well, there will be more work.

Things to Consider
Keep your project description as short as possible while explaining as much as possible. Service providers go through hundreds of projects per day, and the quicker they can get through your project description, the more likely they will commit to posting a proposal. Use lots of spacing and break up paragraphs to give service providers a visual cue of what they can expect. Some buyers create videos that explain the project, if you choose to do this, please keep it to a few minutes long.

Payment and Business Terms
Elance allows you to hire your service provider on an hourly basis for projects that are ongoing, for maintenance, or when the scope of work may change. When providers make a proposal, you will receive their hourly rate and also the expected number of hours for the items mentioned in the project description.

If you have a one-time project, your project description is well-defined, or you prefer to work on a contract bases, the fixed fee is the best option to use.

Budget Range
When it comes to choosing your budget range, it is important that you select a realistic option. Many service providers filter projects by their budget, and if the project budget is set too low, you will not get proposals from quality service providers.

At no additional cost, Elance offers escrow service to buyers and service providers. A benefit of using escrow is that your funds will be held securely by Elance until the completion of a specified service. The ideal way to use escrow is to set up checkpoints or milestones for the project, and release funds when you approve that a milestone has been met.

Are You Ready?
Before posting your project, make sure you are ready to make the commitment. Service providers pay for every proposal they place on your project, and evaluate your project award ratio when determining whether to bid on your project.  If you are serious about the project, have completed written requirements and money available, it’s time to post your website project.

About UNorth, LLC
UNorth Online Services counts more than 2,000 of the world's leading enterprises as key customers. Within the last 6 months, UNorth has successfully delivered over 100 projects on Elance alone and over 600 in total for its worldwide customers. In addition, our partnerships with industry leaders, government, and other professionals, give UNorth a unique advantage in the global marketplace to offer a wide range of solutions from simple personal websites to multi-national platforms. With customer-proven solutions and strong relationships, UNorth delivers the tools you need to reduce your risk and deliver value from day one.