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Outsourcing Web Creation, A Cautionary Tale

Screenshot of TopMilitaryGuide.com
Screenshot of TopMilitaryGuide.com
Screenshot of TopMilitaryGuide.com

Recently I wanted to take a shortcut and I selected a freelancer to create a website and theme that would be SEO friendly, and include pre-populated content, a growing page authority in my niche market. I have been very interested in SEO friendly sites ever since taking dips in Page Rank, thanks to some recent tweaks to Google Penguin updates. My primary subscription site took a 2-page Page Rank hit and I have been trying to clear up some likely culprit links from a couple of Fiverr gigs that ar mucking up the system.

I was in the mood to try a new tactic. I had been test-driving SEOmoz and noticed how they rate C-blocks, more than a few of my complementary sites reside on the same server and I was looking to add a new island and joined the crowd with a GoDaddy account. I had been following a SEO and Marketing site called WarriorForum, an Internet Marketing Forum. I had been looking around and learning the ropes and came across an offer from a member to create a SEO friendly presence.   There were some decent ratings and the user had some testimonials that appeared legit. So I made a purchase for the designer to take care of building a new niche site for me.

I ended up with a WP blog on a GoDaddy account. I have a reseller account and freelancer asked for access to my WHM panel to setup the new site, I asked him to proceed and I would make the switch. What I got was a templated site using StudioPress template called Genesis with a reseller account on WP Robots 3 plugin which appears to aggregate content from a few selected sites and they are published automatically.

Though it had installed All in one SEO Pack, there were no SEO content applied on the 7-pages (10 were promised) pre-loaded blog posts (things like keywords, titles, description, img alt, etc) and of the few images included in the blog posts none were topical or even related to the site.

Over half of the widgets, plugins and the main theme were outdated and needed to be updated, once I did that I basically had to go back and redo the site layout and have been working over a week to try to get something useful out of his work.

Though it included a few Amazon widgets, everything pointed to the freelancers account (not mine) and I had to go back one-by-one and re-install  It is a good thing I am an experienced WordPress user because I suggest a newbie would have been overwhelmed by the problems and configuration and would have likely given up while continuing to drive traffic to his Amazon account. There were no Adsense or Clickbank ads configured.

The freelancer never asked for my account info for any of my revenue programs, I had to configure those on my own. He did appear to have a Developer account with WP Robots, the email field is populated with a gmail account so I didn’t know if he was somewhat legit and I was just a unique customer, I mean he had many replies and votes of confidence.

So I am fixing my site and I got a hit with a pingback on my new blog from the WarriorForum so I clicked through to see what it was about. It appears the Freelancer also sold topmilitaryguide.com to another customer at the same time. He was so unhappy he was posting comments about the sale gone bad and that he challenged the sale on Paypal, but lost. Though he opted for another site with a different theme, it appears that this freelancer just reused the work between us.

Though the site is in operation I believe I mostly could have done the work for pennies on the dollar, and the bottom line is be careful out there.