- The Rarest Commodity: The Web Designer
- Video: PPC Abuse
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The Rarest Commodity: The Web Designer
“One of rarest things that a man ever does is to do the best he can” — Josh Billings
Gold. Silver. Diamonds. What makes these things valuable? Their beauty? Their difficulty of extracting? No, it’s because they are rare. Good web designers, in my opinion, are becoming just as rare.
In fact, they almost seem to have become extinct. Can you remember back 6-7 years ago, around 1999-2000? The web was quickly evolving, as it always is. However, this time was a bit different, as there was a large influx of web designers and web development companies which stemmed from the dot com epoch of the mid-late 90’s. I could specifically remember there being countless web design companies popping up. And not just web design companies, but good, talented, freelance web designers as well.
Where have they gone? They seem to have vanished. Well I have two good ideas of where they went.
First, the especially talented ones were grabbed up by prestigious design firms and companies during the pre-2001 era. The leftovers, which didn’t get picked up by a firm, still got by from freelancing. However, once the dot-com-bubble burst, unplugged their mice and keyborads, and went back to ‘real’ workforce – tech support, retail, McDonalds.. whatever it may be.
What do I base this on? Nothing groundbreaking or anything… just personal experience. I certainly didn’t consult Nielson Ratings or conduct any scientific polls.
I stopped designing my own sites years ago. I’m decent at web development, but could never get the quality that I wanted. Plus, I always took too long. So, naturally, I outsourced the work and continue to do so today. The conclusion I’ve come to over years of hiring scores of freelance web designers is that… well… they ain’t what they used to be.
Now, granted, when I hire a designer, I usually don’t hire somebody who has worked for Sony or Toyota. Obviously I couldn’t afford that. But I have looked around for mid-ranged designers, and their portfolios simply make me shake my head in frustration.
To be more specific, I’ll break down web-designers into four price-range classes:
Cost range per project: $150-500
These designers are a dime a dozen. Usually teenagers or inexperienced web designers, these level-1’s are actually somewhat popular as many people do not want an elaborate or extra-special design (or are just cheap…). They usually design in a basic Web 2.0 style, although my take on it is that they design and then slap the moniker of web 2.0 on it because it’s all they can do.
It’s usually the boring ‘plastic’ look with big navigational elements that always supercede the content and fluidity of the site. It’s rarely new or interesting, and are rarely custom-fitted to the site; you could replace the logo with another and it’d work. That’s not a good thing.
Cost range per project: $501-1500
Everybody above level 1 is actually quite rare. Level-2 designers are fairly rare as they are in a special price range niche that seperates them from the cheap level-1’s and the more expensive level-3’s.
I personally think that level 2’s are fine in many instances. They break away from the level-1 attitude of one-design-fits-all, and design with a bit of uniqueness and custom-fitting. They have more working knowledge of browser compability, CSS, and usability.
I don’t have anything against level-2’s, except for the fact that they don’t quite push the envelope far enough for me. Why go this far, but not push just a little bit further and produce something really outstanding, I always think to myself.
Cost range per project: $2001-5000
These talented designers either work for a web design firm, or have established a good name for themselves as a freelance designer. They usually have an impressive portfolio with some decent clientelle, usually large websites.
Cost range per project: $5000+
These designers are almost always part of a web design company, and really, a team. These firms have a strong presence in the corporate world as they have created online identities for many corporate clientelle. These are the guys you see design for companies like Nike, celebrities, movie studios…. etc.
If you can afford this, well then, kudos to you!
Now, getting back on track here, I just wanted to say that I almost always hire level 2’s. However, it’s really the level 3’s that I’m looking for (or more specifically, level 2.5’s). See, I’m not afraid of spending $2500-$3000 on a design. But I’d want something nice.
I’d want a designer that knows exactly what I want, and can deliver. I want no missed deadlines, no excuses, and no complaints.
I’d want well-commented HTML/JS/CSS, everything cross-browser-able, and valid and clean HTML/CSS. And obviously, I’d want a sexy or kick-ass design.
If I can get that, I don’t mind shelling out a couple thousand dollars.
Unfortunately, you don’t always get what you pay for. For instance, I could go and find a bunch of web designers right now who charge that much. But, their only delivering me a level-2 design…
I’m picky – yes, it’s true. But that’s a good thing. And I’m not unrealistic, either. I honestly think that people are just too lazy or not skilled enough for me. I have the money to pay.. but do they have the skill?
Sorry if I’ve gotten a bit off-track here, but getting back to the point, talented web designers who charge fairly (I’m not saying cheap, I’m saying fairly) are a rare, rare commodity. I’ve gone though far too many web designers over the years to know how rare they are. In fact, I’ve still yet to find one. I’ve found an amazing logo guy, and for that I’m grateful, but not a good designer.
So, if you happen to have struck gold and found somebody, KEEP HIM. Do everything you can do develop a good relationship with him and don’t share him with anybody (except of course, me…).
Video: PPC Abuse
The following video was not made by me. I simply found it on YouTube and felt it TylerCruz.com worthy 🙂
It shows how some people are abusing Adwords and Adsense:
I’ve managed to do a bit more work on the blog.
First, I finished the advertise page (link located on the left side of the site). Decent prices, I believe.
Secondly, I created an .htaccess page, redirecting the atom.xml to my feedburner url instead.
Now, I have a lot to discuss on this. I spent like an hour-and-a-half researching and figuring out how to do that. I know absolutely nothing about RSS, XML, and feeds in general. I remember back years ago when they started to surface and I just ignored them. Now it seems that they have annexed the internet!
The traffic to this site halved ever since I moved from Blogger to WordPress. I checked my error logs on Apache, and there were a lot of 404 requests for /atom.xml so I’m assuming that the deletion of that file caused a lot of it; people probably thought my site was down or something. So, hopefully the redirection of it will get a few people back here.
Here’s a bunch of questions for you smart folk out there:
1. There are a bunch of various RSS feeds and alternatives listed in the header HTML of my blog. Since I’m using Feedburner now, should I remove these from my HTML and replace it with just one; for Feedburner? If so, what exact HTML should I use?
2. I subscribed to my Feedburner feed, a few hours ago I believe, if I did it correctly. Yet, the number of subscribers still shows at 6. Is this a live count, or updated once a day or so?
3. As it is right now, if people simply add: www.tylercruz.com to their RSS reader, it will use what’s in the header of my HTML, correct?
4. I understand WordPress uses MySQL, but does it use that for the style modifications as well? For example, I’ve customized the side menu on my template here. Doesn’t that modify the actual ‘hard’ files themselves? I ask because when I make backups, it really means that I need to make backups of my design files as well, correct? I assume the MySQL only covers the actual posts and basic WordPress setup, correct?
Edit: Actually, I believe now that the side pages, such as ‘About Me’, ‘Advertise’, and ‘Contact’ are part of MySQL as well. So, I think I’m okay then. As long as those are backed up too, there’s not too much to worry about. I’d mainly have to redo the right side of the template.
Good luck and good earnings.