Web Programmer Problems

There are problems associated with hiring programmers and freelancers without proper supervision.

Jane contacted us about how to improve the conversions on her website. Also she wanted to start using Pay Per Click. But she did not have any landing pages done yet. She had a WordPress blog and was very excited about a new product that she wanted to sell on her blog.

When we looked at Jane’s website, and ran a speed test, we found serious problems.

We use http://www.webpagetest.org/ to determine the page speed. The service is almost identical to Google’s page speed results in the webmaster tools. Google also uses this website in some other promotional materials for page speed.

Jane’s website had a page load speed of 14 seconds. This is very bad. There is an enormous amount of research done by Google and others that show page speed is a major factor in conversions. It’s a major factor in bounce rates, and now Google has included it into its ranking algorithm. Because a website that loads in over 10 seconds is going to disappoint visitors.

The proper page load speed should be under 4 seconds. It depends what the website it is, some e-commerce sites with very large numbers of pictures and items will load slower than others like a blog. But in general it should be under 4 seconds.

We gave Jane a bad news. She was shocked. She had no idea there was a page load speed problem. Her website always loaded fast whenever she went there. That was because it was cached in her browser’s cache. So, it just reloaded the cache every time. The new visitors to the website do not have a cache saved.

She thought this would be no problem at all. She found a freelancer who specialized in speeding up websites and thought in a few days the problem would be solved. After several weeks, page speed still do not go below 8 seconds.

Why did this happen? Jane had a WordPress blog, and she hired a freelance programmer to make changes to WordPress theme, and that caused the problems. There are plug-ins that will speed up WordPress. But when we installed on they had no affect. It’s because the programmer she hired used his own methods to accomplish the design changes she wanted.

So she got a website designed exactly the way she asked, but under the hood where she could not see, were problems with the code that caused the website to load slowly.

We have seen this over and over again. People use freelance websites to find freelance programmers, who work out of their house. Then these programmers make changes to the WordPress blog and it causes problems with the blog. Not only do they affect the page speed, but their blogs are no longer able to be upgraded. They’re frozen in that version. The owners don’t realize this until much later.

So how could this been avoided? There are many roles to website management. Many different people are needed. Some of them on a part-time basis. When Jane should have done is also hire a freelance supervisor, to supervise the programmer doing the job.

In the business world programmers are not allowed to work without supervision. Typically a supervisor is a former programmer with some type of business understanding. Sometimes called a project leader.

So, now we have a freelancer working in their own environment, without supervision and maybe without the proper skills to do the job.

  • A supervisor will ensure that the programming changes do not break the theme. So that it can be upgraded on a regular basis.
  • The supervisor will challenge the programming decisions made by the programmer. Poor quality code will be avoided because the supervisor will review the code. He knows what to look for.
  • A supervisor can keep programmer on track. Programmers are very focused people, and if they get off-track, they can produce some strange code.
  • Supervisors can keep the programmers on schedule. They can prevent disasters like slow page load speed.

It sad Jane did not know that she could hire a freelance supervisor to oversee her programming project.

No outsource freelancers should be used without proper supervision. This can  lead to disaster. Sometimes the website owners are so frustrated they abandon the website.

To avoid these problems, we provide supervision for outsource freelancers, or outsource programmers so that the business can continue and the website owner is not shocked or surprised at the results.

The typical fee for this service is normally about $100 per month.

What about you, do you have a story about freelance programmers? We like to hear about it.

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