I get all excited when I write up free quotes and proposals. It takes a chunk of time to put together a plan, estimate the hours, plan for sub-contractors if needed and their fees, figure their project into my timeline and review their web site to make sure I allow enough time to meet their needs.

So when an RFQ is ignored or refused, that time is gone forever and I have nothing to show for it.

I have a friend who spent literally weeks and her vacation trying to come up with a proposal for a potential client who had a menu of needs, both SEO and Usability based. After agonizing, and even me bidding low on my part of the project, she was turned down because our prices were too high. It floors me because there are SEO’s who charge more than I do for usability work and their people are not even members of the Usability Professionals Association (UPA).

In this economy, some companies are looking for creative ways to cut costs. That includes laying off their most talented employees. Web sites are suffering for this because they are no longer maintained for search engines or tracked for user experience issues. When conversions do go down, the alarms go off but management has no idea whom to turn to for help. The most experienced professionals are not cheap labor and many are booked. It’s typical for me to get a request where the prospect is desperate and by the time they break down and come for usability help, they want it “in a few days” and expect to see results yesterday. And, they are not willing to pay much for it.

I interact with a large number of people from both the SEO and Usability industries and I do a great deal of referrals. I only refer to the best people and yes, they charge more but this is because they know what they’re doing. In most cases, I’ve already worked with them and know they are team players. In my opinion, it’s worth paying for team players and especially groups of people who know each other and get along well. Whenever I can, I team up on projects and we fuss over the client.

I also hear from prospects who want their sites to work as well as Amazon, Netshops, or Lands End. And yet they have no clue how many hundreds of thousands of dollars a month go into those sites to make them user friendly. Search engine marketing, social media marketing and web site usability are ongoing practices that every web site must have to be successful for the long term.

It’s makes little sense for a company or site owner to not invest in their web property in this economy if their revenue is Internet dependent. Find someone who will take payments if you need to. Find someone who is willing to teach you some things, if you want to have more control over your site to save costs. Reward whoever you hire with referrals and testimonials.

Go get what you need and be open to paying for the best help you can find. Search engine marketing, optimization, accessibility and usability are well worth paying well for if long term success is your ultimate goal.

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Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, SEO and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, information architecture and persuasive design. She shared her passion for Usability and SEO through her site and private consulting at Cre8pc for 17 years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability testing, customer experience and conversions design.

My Online Course: Web Site Usability 101


American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)

Information Architecture Institute

Usability Professionals Association (UPA)