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If you’re like me and starting off working on your website with a bootstrap budget, you’ll sympathize with the frequent need to add a button or image or columns or whatever your site may need. 

You may have spent hours researching how to do these things yourself and in my case many times I’ve been able to figure out how to do these things, but once I found a general assistant for my website whose name is J.K. Allen, who is familiar with html and CSS and generally handy in quickly adding most anything you need to a website, I quickly discovered it was a waste of my time even on a bootstrap budget to be doing these things myself. 

There is no greater relief than needing something on your site and sending a couple of sentence email to a website consultant and knowing it will be done quickly and properly.  I can vouch for people like J.K. whom I’ve worked with, but all of you need to find your own version of J.K. Allen as he is in high demand.  I’ll tell you some of the projects he’s completed for me and the deal that I’ve worked out with him so you can also seek help from him, but if he’s too busy I’ll tell you how you can find somebody somewhere else. 

PROJECTS J.K. ALLEN HAS DONE FOR ME

J.K. has worked on many projects for my main site insuranceblogbychris.com.  You can see in my article titled The 80/20 Rule of Insurance Site Design (coming soon) a lot of the website redesigns that he did for that site. 

In addition to complete redesigns he is able to quickly get a site from looking decent to top notch.  For example, he took my highrisklifeinsuranceagency.com site, which was just a standard Thesis Theme, where I paid for a standard design on 99designs.com.  J.K. spent about one hour on that site adding stylized customizations to the site such as text color, link color, background colors, headings, and more. 

One of my favorite things he has done for me was creating a search box on the home page of highrisklifeinsuranceagency.com.  You really just have to go there and test it out for yourself to see what an awesome feature it is.  For the High Risk site without the search box I’d say he was able to do all of the design in under an hour, so you can take a look at the difference between that site look and feel to it and just the standard Thesis Theme and you can see that for a very low budget, which I believe was about $200 on 99 Designs and about one hour’s work with J.K., which I paid $75 for, plus the Thesis Theme, which I already own, I was able to get that site looking pretty good for less than $300. 

*Note, I already owned the Thesis Theme that I can put on more than one site for free, but if you were just purchasing it for the first time I believe it costs a couple of hundred dollars. 

The next project J.K. had worked on is a project I’ve worked in coordination with one of my agents, Ellen Edwards, on who is building her own site- insurethequeen.com.  This is another example of taking a standard Thesis Theme and just with an hour or two of work J.K. is able to make it look really awesome.  Ellen paid the designer that we found on oDesk $50 for the logo and J.K. did the rest. 

On my site, insuranceblogbychris.com, here are a few other items that he has done for me. 

Below the quote form in the side bar you can see the section that says what other people are saying where he took multiple testimonials and was able to put them into some sort of widget and have them run where the testimonials are constantly rotating.  Now this is a great example of something I probably could have figured out on my own, as I believe it required either a widget or a plug-in that I probably could have found through internet search, but J.K. did this for me in about 30 minutes and I would have spent hours probably figuring out how to do it.  Another example is adding Google authorship to my site.  In the older version of Thesis it wasn’t as easy to add Google authorship to your site as it is in the new version, 2.0 or later, which is an absolute breeze.  I’m running an older Thesis version on insuranceblogbychris.com and I learned the hard way by trying to add Google authorship to my site that I was not able to do it.  J.K. came up with a great suggestion in that we should add an author box to the bottom of each page.  The author box allows you to put your Google authorship ID in there and therefore your authorship is added to every page on your site very easily, and that took care of my problem. 

You can see he’s also created columns for me on highrisklifeinsuranceagency.com in my A to Z article.  This is something I could have easily figured out, but he did it for me in a snap.  There are multiple other examples like this but generally speaking if you need something added to your site or you want something to look a little bit different J.K. can take care of it.  I’ll also show you two more friends’ sites that he’s had a hand in designing.  First, biorenewskincare.com/blog is the blog of my friend Dr. Rick Rhoads.  J.K. designed everything on that blog.  The next is my good friend, Shanne Sleder, who has a blog, sandiegomortgagenews.net.  J.K. has designed that entire blog and multiple landing pages for it. 

HOW MUCH IT COSTS TO WORK WITH A WEBSITE ASSISTANT

I believe he charges most people $75 per hour.  What I’ve done because I know that I’ll need him is I’m on an automated $75 per month contract with him, which I pay through PayPal, so I never have to think about paying him.  Instead, he keeps track of the hours that I incur and if you’re working on your site all the time there’s almost always going to be something that you need on the site.  It’s just a great way to just send him an email, have him do it, he keeps track of his time, and then you don’t have to get invoiced for every half an hour that he spends on your site.  Instead, if he goes well over the time then you’ll get an invoice.  I’d recommend you do something similar.

I’ll also say for J.K. that he’s exceedingly fair with his time.  I’ve given J.K. several testimonials, but I think even before I gave him any testimonials I can recall that he’ll throw in a freebie every now and then or if he spends five minutes doing something he doesn’t even keep track of those minutes.  It’s not until he spends about 15 minutes that he’ll log it in.  If you have a quick change that you need to make he’ll probably just do it for free if you’re on his monthly contract.  That’s what I recommend.  You don’t want to just find a contractor that’s going to do one-off jobs for you.  You want to find a relationship with somebody who has basic design skills and knows some html and CSS so that you can develop a similar working relationship that I have with J.K.  You want somebody that’s not going to nickel and dime you.  You want somebody that if you send them testimonials they might throw in some free hours of work for you.  This happens all the time with J.K.  It seems like every invoice I get now because I’ve sent him so many testimonials he’ll either discount his hourly rate for me or he’ll only bill me for 1/2 of the hours because he says two hours are for this referral, thanks so much.  You want somebody who you can appreciate but who also appreciates you, because I’ll tell you this.  If you’re getting frequent design work done on your site other friends and agents are going to ask you about that and you’ll be able to refer your designer to them.

FINDING AN ASSISTANT/DESIGNER

JK’s website is www.growtheffect.com

If J.K. is not available or too busy, you might try asking J.K. for a referral to a person similar to him. 

If he doesn’t have anybody in mind you might try looking on oDesk where you can pick multiple contractors from all over the world usually at a deeply discounted rate to what you’re going to pay somebody in the States.  You might get design/website work for $25 to $35 per hour, which is nothing.  I would recommend only going with somebody who has worked more than 100 hours, has worked more than five projects, and has all four and five star reviews where you can read the testimonials about them and see that they’re legit.