Some time ago, partly because we're all cat and dog lovers, we decided to create the Surrey Cattery Directory, which quickly became the best way for cat owners to find a local boarding cattery in Surrey. 'We' refers to us, a small group of freelance website designers who live in the UK and also Italy, who design websites under the name of 'BeenDesigned'. Years ago, as a group of friends living and working in Italy, we got interested in website design. What started out as a hobby, designing websites for ourselves and local businesses, soon turned into a sort of cottage industry. Finally, realising we had to make a choice, we quit our previous jobs and created 'BeenDesigned' as a name we could work under.
Seven or eight years later, we still work together and we still enjoy our work, but now some of us live in the UK and some still in Italy. We work as full-time website designers, but we do almost as much work 'free' as we do paid work. Like most people, there are certain charities or types of charity that we support and, rather than donate money we donate time by building or managing websites for some of these organisations. On top of that, we also have our own 'pet projects' such as the British Cattery and British Kennels directories, which we voluntarily run on a non-profit basis. We charge advertisers a small fee to be registered, in the hope that we recover most of our costs, but we don't try to earn money from the sites by filling them with advertising. In simple terms, we're lucky. Our hobby is also what pays the bills, and we still design websites as much for fun as for anything else.
In terms of what we do, we prefer to stick to what we know best, so we work with HTML and WordPress websites and don't get involved with other types. Unlike some 'website design' groups, we do our own work. By that, we mean that if we accept orders from customers, we don't farm out the work to low-cost agencies in India, as many 'design studios' now do. For us, doing that is a bit like buying your dream car and then asking someone else to drive it for us. Silly. We offer a personal service and once your order has been accepted you'll be given the contact details of your designer so that you can contact him or her at any time with any questions you may have. Your website is as personal for us as it is for you.
Every website we build is dealt with by a single designer from start to finish. Once we know what you want us to do, we take personal pride in ensuring that we deliver. One thing that's worth noting is that we don't usually accept jobs if they have a very short deadline. We are a small group and there is always a finite limit to how much work we can accept, and if you need a website for next week, we're not the right people to speak to. How long each website takes to build depends on the complexity but, on average, there's generally a gap of about two weeks between when a customer give us all the information and material we need to build a website and when the designer can actually start work on it. Of course, if you're not in a rush to get online, please drop us a line and tell us what you need!