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Should You Use for Web Design Projects?

written by: Sheila Robinson•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/14/2010

Elance is a popular project bidding website. It is a reverse online auction environment where the winning bid can be the lowest. If you are building a portfolio or trying to find new clients for web design, programming, sales or writing opportuntiies it may be worth looking into.

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    Elance Membership Options

    Elance offers free and paid memberships. Free memberships allow access to all of their online auction services, but you are limited to three bid proposals per month and a single job category. These include Web Design and Programming, Design and Multimedia, Sales and Marketing, Writing and Translation, Legal or Admin Support. You can sign up as an individual or business.

    The free membership gives you 10 "Market Connects" which are credits you can use to apply for hourly job listings or fixed projects. It also allows you to include 5 search keywords to help clients find you. When you get paid for services, Elance charges a 6 percent service fee, 2.5% for credit card payments and $10 for wire transfers.

    Paid memberships require a monthly fee, with the "Professional" plan costing ten dollars, while small and businesses pay twenty to forty. Each additional job category costs five dollars. Wire transfers are free.

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    The Profile

    In order to bid on any web design or graphic artist jobs on Elance you will need to build a detailed profile. It includes a general summary of what skills you have to offer to an employer, a short blurb about yourself, employment background, education and credentials. For a fee, Elance offers a service to verify your information. Unfortunately, it is not cheap. All checks cost fifteen dollars each. Without verification, your profile still shows your information but does not include a “verified” icon next to your text.

    The skills section of your profile is very important. Anything selected requires you to take the Elance skill test on the subject or you can do your own self-assessment. Successful completion of any Elance skill test gives your profile a boost and helps potential clients’ confidence in hiring you for projects. The self-assessment does not carry too much weight since you are rating yourself.

    To complete your profile, you need to take the Elance Admission Test. It is series of multiple choice questions about Elance, how the website works and what you need to do to interact with potential clients. The information you need to review is provided with helpful links.

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    Bidding on Web Design Projects through Elance Online Auctions

    All Elance projects found in the “Provide Services” section and are broken down by category. You are limited to the categories you selected when you created your account (Web design and graphic artist jobs are not in the same category). Each listing has a description, budget and desired skills needed for project completion. Every bid you make requires a proposal. Elance stresses the formulation of a customized proposal to gain the attention of a potential client. Completing projects builds up your reputation, portfolio and is included into the Feedback section of your profile.

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    Hiring for Projects

    Bidding on web design and graphic artist jobs through the online auction service is not the only option. Companies can find you directly. Elance has a “Get Services” section where all Elance profiles and skills are listed. Everything is broken down by category and specific skills. Potential clients can view your stats, reputation and even money you earned through Elance.