You have big plans for your website, and your time is valuable. Hiring a professional to handle the back-end design and maintenance of your website enables you to spend your time creating the content and building your readership on the front end.
Many website owners who decide to go the custom route by hiring a design professional do so for another reason: They want the designs/themes of their website to be unique. Free themes are nice, but you run the risk that your blog will look like hundreds of other blogs.
A brand (a term often used in advertising and marketing) refers to the recognizable identity of a product — in this case, your website. Having a unique brand or design for your site sets yours apart from the rest. If your website has a custom look, people will associate that look with you or your company. You can accomplish branding with a single logo or an entire layout and color scheme of your choosing.
Many consultants and design professionals put themselves up for hire. Who are these people? I get to that topic in a second. First, you want to understand what services they offer, which can help you decide whether hiring a professional is the solution for you.
Here are some of the many services available:
» Custom graphic design and CSS styling for your website
» Custom templates
» WordPress plugin installation and integration
» Custom WordPress plugin development
» WordPress software installation on your web server
» Upgrades of the WordPress software
» Web hosting and domain registration services
» Search engine optimization and site marketing
Some website owners take advantage of the full array of services provided, whereas others use only a handful. The important thing to remember is that you aren’t alone. Help is available for you and your website.
Table 4-1 pairs the three types of blog experts — designers, developers, and consultants — with the services they typically offer. Many of these folks are freelancers with self-imposed titles, but I’ve matched titles with typical duties. Keep in mind that some of these professionals wear all these hats; others specialize in only one area.
I wish I could tell you what you could expect to pay for any of these services, but the truth is the levels of expertise — and expense — vary wildly. Services can range from $5 per hour to $300 or more per hour. As with any purchase, do your research and make an informed decision before you buy.