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I'm a little overwhelmed in how to find a freelancer or small company to develop my online store and website.

I am a print graphic designer (by night) and planned on designing the wireframes/overall site feel but need a web professional to handle coding/programming and all else that goes with making a clean and functional online store. Basically I can just make it look pretty and need someone experienced to handle the bulk of the work and make it function.

I know a few keywords to ask for PHP, SEO etc. . . but am not sure exactly what type of professional I should be looking for?Do I need a web developer or does that narrow it down to only a certain part of the back end work?

My initial site will be small with 10 products. I would like to be able to update add/change products myself after someone builds the site.

What should I be asking for when searching? I know there are quite a few freelence finders out there such as guru.com and elance.com but I'm not quite sure the qualifications needed to find the best fit for me?

Thanks for your help!
 

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I'm a little overwhelmed in how to find a freelancer or small company to develop my online store and website.

I am a print graphic designer (by night) and planned on designing the wireframes/overall site feel but need a web professional to handle coding/programming and all else that goes with making a clean and functional online store. Basically I can just make it look pretty and need someone experienced to handle the bulk of the work and make it function.

I know a few keywords to ask for PHP, SEO etc. . . but am not sure exactly what type of professional I should be looking for?Do I need a web developer or does that narrow it down to only a certain part of the back end work?

My initial site will be small with 10 products. I would like to be able to update add/change products myself after someone builds the site.

What should I be asking for when searching? I know there are quite a few freelence finders out there such as guru.com and elance.com but I'm not quite sure the qualifications needed to find the best fit for me?

Thanks for your help!
It sounds like you know what functionality you want on your website, so you probably need a good idea of how you want your website to look like.

"I need it to look pretty" is very broad and sometimes somewhat annoying for designers as the comment is very subjective. The designer will go and design something "pretty" and you don't like it. The designer gets annoyed and wastes his time and money.

Be more specific.
ie "I want a blue website. Very simple. I want all my designs on the frontpage, with a white border. No user logins, but a shopping cart."

The difference between a web developer and a web designer is that the developer makes the web pages and the designer creates mock ups for the developer to make as well as all the creatives (buttons, titles, etc). This is the difference although some people can do both.

I would suggest against throwing around abbreviations that you do not fully understand, you may end up with something you do not want. Just describe the website you want, the designer and developer will know what technologies you need. Or at least they should.

In my opinion, you should be asking for a web developer with experience in skinning open source shopping carts to help you setup a premade shopping cart like oscommerce or magento. Web developers tend to be able to whip up something in Photoshop, not as well as designers, but the designers usually cannot develop websites. This is from my experience as a web developer.

Feel free to ask me questions.
 

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TiD makes a few great points. Things such as SEO are important, but anyone that knows what they're doing should be building your site with SEO in mind. What you should concentrate on when giving direction is specifics... Absolute necessities when someone is building your website.

There's plenty of pre-built shopping carts out there that can be skinned to your liking. TiD mentioned OSCommerce and Magento. My new site is built on Magento, which is difficult to skin, but easy to maintain and use once it's set up. I don't have as much experience with OSCommerce, however.
 

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Beware of freelancers doing custom eCommerce design. I went down this road on Scriptlance a few years ago. I had already done eCommerce for a little while, so I knew what all I needed them to do (or so I thought). When they were finished, I ended up with a backend that lacked a lot. I also started finding a lot of bugs.

Bugs are not something that you want to deal with when you had a freelancer build your site. What kind of support will they give? Will the version they built still work as the PHP on your server is updated?

There are some nice looking skins for OScommerce and Magento at Templatemonster.com. You can also go with a standalone solution that comes with templates to choose from, and regular updates, for about $285 at Cs-cart.com.

If you are going to use a freelancer, then take one of these solutions and have them put it to work for you. Solutions that have been around for awhile tend to have all the kinks ironed out.
 
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