As a ShopWired user you get full access to the HTML, CSS and JS files that make up your website. To render dynamic content (like product information) we use a templating language called Twig. Twig is easy to use and understand, it uses variables like {{ product.name }}.

We also have a publicly accessible API (which you can read about at http://resources.shopwired.co.uk/api) which allows you (or those working for you) to build a connection between another system, like a dropshipping company or courier, and your ShopWired account.

Both of these things mean that if you want some additional work doing on your website (like a design or layout change) or if you want to build a connection to another system you use, either ShopWired can do the work for you, or you can hire any other company or freelancer to do it. In other words, you're not stuck with using us.

In this article we'll discuss the process you will follow when hiring a freelancer. Much of this is also applicable if you are hiring a traditional web design/development agency to work on your website.

Where to find a freelancer

There are many different websites that bring freelancers and employers together. We've compiled a list of some of the more popular ones below

Freelancer
Guru
Elance
Upwork

All of the sites will require you to register and will charge you a fee, only payable when you select a freelancer and begin working with them.

Which site you choose is entirely up to you, each has their own advantages and disadvantages but if we had to recommend one site we'd probably recommend Freelancer.

Posting a job

The way that freelancer websites work is that you will need to post a job or project on the website and freelancers will bid on it. The job/project that you post will have a title and description, and using these, freelancers will assess the amount of work involved and make a bid.

When writing the project description, it's important that you include as much information as possible about exactly what you want to do. If in doubt, it's always best to write more rather than less.

Choosing a freelancer

Once you've placed your project, you'll start to receive bids from freelancers all around the world. Here's where you have to be careful. Selecting a freelancer can be tricky and sometimes risky.

One of the benefits of using a freelancer website is that your project funds are held in escrow and only released to the freelancer when the work is completed. This provides you with some protection so that if, for example, the freelancer is unable or unwilling to complete the project then you can raise a dispute and should receive your project funds back.

Having said that, it's important that you choose a competent and professional freelancer from the outset.

Freelancer websites provide an opportunity, once a project is complete, to provide feedback. So you'll be able to view feedback given by previous employers of each freelancer. Most of the sites then 'score' the freelancer based on feedback they have received (the score is often weighted depending on the value of the project, e.g. a score of 10/10 on a very small $5 project is given less importance than a score of 2/10 on a $1000 project).

Take time to review the freelancer's feedback of previous projects.

You should also talk to those freelancers that have bid on your project before selecting one. A good freelancer will always ask questions about the individual project, and this is a good way to ensure that they have properly read the project description.

Unfortunately you're likely to receive a lot of 'spam' bids on your project, from freelancers that haven't even read the project description. These are easy to spot as the bid and message that comes with it won't bear any relation to the project description.

Many freelancer websites operate test/examination systems. They invite freelancers to take these tests and display the results on the freelancer's profile. Don't place too much weight on these test scores.

Freelancers in less developed countries

You'll probably find that the majority of bids that you receive on your project are from freelancers in 'less developed' countries like India, South East Asia, or South America.

Selecting a freelancer from a less developed economy comes with it's own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Of course the main advantage is the price, generally speaking these freelancers are much cheaper than those in developed economies, but there are some pitfalls that you might experience too.

You may find it hard to communicate with them if their English isn't as good as it could be, you may find that they are willing to take on a project even if they don't have the necessary skills and experience to complete the work. You may also find they are less reliable and more susceptible to 'ditch' the project if they can't be bothered to finish it.

Of course, these are generalisations and not true of all freelancers.

Starting work

Once you've selected a freelancer, you'll need to grant them access to your ShopWired account so that they can begin work.

Don't ever give your freelancer access to your main ShopWired account, instead use the free user accounts APP to create an account for them so they can access your website. Be sure to restrict their access only to those sections of your account they actually need to access.

Where possible, you should also encourage them to create their own ShopWired account. This might mean they can do the work on your website without having to give them access at all.

If they're making changes to the design/layout of your website then you could download your website's theme from your account (click the 'download as a zip' button) and then send them this Zip file, get them to make the changes to the theme using their own ShopWired account and then, when you are happy, they can send you the file back for you to upload into your ShopWired account. You can always install a theme without making it live and instead just previewing it on your website.

If the freelancer will be creating a connection between ShopWired and another system using our API then again, they don't necessarily need access to your ShopWired account to build the connection so tell them to create their own ShopWired account.

ShopWired has a 14 day free trial which on most occasions will be sufficient time for your freelancer to complete the project, but we'll happily change the account to become a developer account - you just need to contact us.

Expect delays and budget increases

Web design and development work is unfortunately prone to delays. It can be hard to estimate the amount of time that it will take to complete a project.

When a freelancer tells you how long it will take to complete a project you should always at least double that (although be sure not to tell the freelancer you expect it will take them twice as long as they say it will).

The longer the time a freelancer says it will take to complete, the more likely they are to be right. For example, if a freelancer says it will take 1 week then expect it to take 2. If they say it will take 2 months then perhaps 2 1/2 to 3 months will be a better estimate.

You may find that once a freelancer is half way through completing a project that they ask for more money. They shouldn't do, but some it can happen on rare occasions.

Whether you accept this or not and pay them the money is up to you, the escrow scheme (see above) that freelancer websites operate should mean that if you don't want to accept the increase then you can cancel and get your money back.

Round up

Reading the above can be a bit scary, we've highlighted a lot of the pitfalls that you might experience when highlighting a freelancer. But it's definitely not all bad.

Hiring a freelancer can be a great way to get work on your website completed for less money and quicker than a traditional agency can do it.

Once you find a good freelancer, be sure to keep working with them. Don't be tempted to try and find someone else who will do it a little bit cheaper!

Shopwired have amazing customer service and will help you in anyway they can Ian Dyke Vape-it UK
Shopwired is an excellent ecommerce platform at an excellent price!. Phil Hotchkiss Hot Covers
Fantastic product, fantastic customer service...what more can I say. Mike Young The Rubber Stamp Gallery
ShopWired - a great decision - 10 times better than the old site. Khush Jabble Kapz.co.uk
After trying different ecommerce sites shopwired by far was the most user friendly site to use. Mark Toy Great White Surf
Great company, with the best customer service. Hakan Hemstrom Herts Hemp
Finally a company that has perfect customer service Theresa Jane Chiles Vin Treasures
The support and instruction from ShopWired has been fantastic Jaime Flintham Noosa Bay Designs
Customer service second to none Colette Wagstaffe The Middleton Collection
A revolutionary advance in website design, maintenance and management Kate Helliwell Neph Aromatics
It's better than Shopify, especially if you're British Mike Rouse Activist Direct
Shopwired is an excellent ecommerce platform at an excellent price!. Phil Hotchkiss Hot Covers
Fantastic product, fantastic customer service...what more can I say. Mike Young The Rubber Stamp Gallery
ShopWired - a great decision - 10 times better than the old site. Khush Jabble Kapz.co.uk
ShopWired is rated 5/5 stars by reviewers on Trustpilot - the best rated ecommerce platform in the world.