Save money by putting design, programming jobs out to bid

By Steve Outing

A common criticism of news websites — especially ones run by small and medium sized newspaper companies and TV news outlets — is that they don’t invest enough in programming or web development talent. Perhaps their sites don’t look as professional, or are not as full featured as they could be because not enough resources are devoted to online operations. They’ve not adapted adequately to the new media environment where having enough geeks around is a requirement for long-term survival.

This won’t be for everyone, but there are several related web services that can get some of your development and design tasks done for reasonable, often very low rates. Using them is a way to extend the web development and design staff you have by off-loading some of their work.

Design Outpost is a great site where you post a web design project and have graphic artists and designers bid on it. Candidates will even submit rough drafts of ideas of how they’d complete your job, and you get to choose the winner. I’ve used this site with success, and found that the designers bidding on projects are a mix of professionals looking for new clients and amateurs with web design talent looking for extra money. When my last company needed a new corporate logo, we put out a bid on Design Outpost and offered $150 for the job. Several candidates submitted draft logos, and we selected a winner — who, to our surprise, was a medical doctor in Turkey who loves to do design and uses the website to earn money for his other talent. Try hiring a local designer to produce a corporate logo for you for only $150!

This is the same concept as Design Outpost, but coders and developers bid on programming jobs. You post your job, then programmers bid on it. You see information about their background and experience and select a winner to do your project. I haven’t tried this myself, but know people who have and have been happy with the experience. But of course, there are risks. Step cautiously by limiting these outside programming projects to non-sensitive things.

Finally there’s Audio Outpost. This is the same model as the sites above, but represents an inexpensive bidded-job solution for when you need original music or voice-over audio. Because sound production has now moved into the home with professional-quality equipment being affordable, you can get good, even great work from professional but home-based producers and musicians at low prices.

Again, there may be projects that are too sensitive to put out on a public forum. But if that’s not the case, the Outpost sites are a good way to save some money.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!