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Making Websites for Small Business, any advice?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by halifax123, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. halifax123

    halifax123 Power Member

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    Hello roomates :)

    I'm about to start making websites for small business using templates
    and populating them based on a customers needs...

    I've created my own sites, but have no experience at creating sites for others

    May I ask your experience?

    any pitfalls?
    common questions?
    What a customer usually expects?

    what are they expecting to pay?

    I'll be focusing on smaller sites, not one's containing hundreds of
    products, but instead those with "smaller appetites" or info sites

    any advice or feedback would certainly be appreciated

    Hali~!:)
     
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  2. chrisnkay

    chrisnkay Junior Member

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    Dont underestimate the value of what you are doing. Look around in towns and cities near you to see what others are charging for these types of services. Any and every business will have pitfalls, just keep at it and dont give up. You will have bitchy clients. You will have people try to talk you down. Stay strong!!! Best of luck to you!
     
  3. pyrogod117

    pyrogod117 Registered Member

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    They expect it to be pocket change for a full website. They are shocked when you tell them anything over $500. In my experience, outline EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING in a contract so they understand. I used to do websites cheap and then when you are done they're like wait why do I have to pay you to make changes and do this and that? I thought that was part of the deal.

    I won't even talk to people for under $1,500 now, and $1,500 is something I can put together in a day.

    Don't be afraid to tell clients you don't want to do business with them, especially after you've made their site. If they are constantly nagging and bitching about stuff, tell them you will give them their site on a DVD and hand it over because you don't need to deal with that.

    Charge them all for hosting.

    The clients that are OK with spending upwards of $2k on a website are the ones you want to deal with, because they don't question much, but make sure you give them a quality site. And have a portfolio ready to show them. These clients won't complain and try to nickel and dime you down.

    It all comes down to experience and how well you know what you are offering. I've been doing it for 11 years now, with a wide range of experience on everything. I have the portfolio to show them. I have previous happy clients.

    Good luck and I hope I was a help in some way.
     
  4. KraftyKyle

    KraftyKyle Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I've been this for about a year now. It's a GREAT way to make a steady income. The biggest thing I can suggest is to charge them a monthly fee. Initial fee of the website etc., but then say for you to keep it running it's goin to $xxx/month. Let them know they can pay for the website for life for $xx,xxx. You need to make sure they have confidence in the site. It all starts with YOU! You need to instill in them how much value the site has to them. Ask how much they earn per customer. Then guarantee them xxx or even x,xxx amount of customers more per month with this website.

    I'm out and on my phone right now so I tried to be brief. If you want a little training or more advice feel free to PM me.
     
  5. mattbowden

    mattbowden Regular Member

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    Pay out for telesales from someone good a couple of weeks with good telesales guy will keep you going for a month on the amount of work and lead generation they create.
     
  6. m0nster

    m0nster Senior Member

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    JV with me, give you advice, and i'll create custom fb fan pages for em :p we'll share profits.
    i'm serious, if your interested in expanding what you can offer small businesses, and your profits, without your work hit me up on skype -

    pitfalls - ridiculous requests, lots of changes, backing out part way through. be careful
    not sure about common questions
    something that looks good to THEM remind them its about the customer and getting info across accurately.
    stingy will pay you 200-300. i would charge 500+ for a full site.
     
  7. halifax123

    halifax123 Power Member

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    Thanks guys:)

    May I ask, What are they usually looking for?

    it seems it could be just about anything
    and what type of limits should you set?

    hali~!:)
     
  8. str8thustler

    str8thustler Power Member

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    You cant give a price to a customer until you meet with them and see what exactly they are looking for. E-commerce sites go for a lot more then a regular website. You need to see how many pages they want, what kind of bells and whistles like flash, music whatever. Remember contact forms and things that require coding also carry a little bit of extra cash in the web design.

    Generally I bring a blank invoice with me, get a good idea of what the customer is looking for then come up with a number. If they sign the deal right there, you are ready for them. Also when pricing out a website you need to take a look around at their operation as well. What kind of business are they in? What is the average profit of their services? Do a little research before you walk in the door. Have a ball park number in your head of what they are expecting to pay. Do not under sell yourself.

    Add vaule to your web site. Talk about google, SEO optimization, Facebook and twitter accounts. Add those services into the deal. It will only increase the price but add massive value. Even the most computer illiterate business owner knows what facebook is and wants it. One customer I built an ecommerce store for, all he could talk about was facebook and twitter but when it came down to it, he couldent even email me a word attachment. Be professional and speak like you know your stuff(even if you dont). You can always sign the deal and figure out how to do certaint things later. Google is always your friend when figuring out how to make things work.

    Remember that you know what you are talking about when it comes to web design, they arent going to have a clue what your talking about when you spurt off certaint terms to your client.

    One major selling point is to tell them you are offering a Search Engine Optimized Design, not just a web site. That will make you stand out from other web designers that walk in the door. You would be surprised at how many web designers dont know how to properly optimize a web site or do not even speak of it when it comes to a customers web site. Make your service better then theirs.

    Your going to get those clients that say their secritaries 17 year old son will build their website for them for $200 in their basement. Stress that you get what you pay for. If you want some 17 year old kid designing your web site in their parents basement, you dont want to work with them anyway.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  9. yuyo

    yuyo Regular Member

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    great advise guys
     
  10. Shhhocker

    Shhhocker Junior Member

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    Great advice, thus far. Any proven strategies for finding potential customers for this kind of business?
     
  11. xeninc

    xeninc Newbie

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    ^very very true.

    include free domain
    charge a monthly fee for residual income
    get a websitehostmanager account
    buy domains and register them yourself
    sell new websites only, screw existing websites, fresh ones are easiest
    don't let customers nit pick you, there are plenty that will just go with what you tell they need
    everyone wants the bottom line price, and what you're offering for it
    put everything in writing
    don't make any promises
    don't under-sell yourself or under-value yourself

    sometimes people are pricks, and it happens to the best of them, one day they are really nice to you, the next they think you are their slave because they paid you a few hundred dollars. fact is, people you are selling to, have NO IDEA, what it is you're doing for them 90% of the time. you've got to treat them like a baby, hold their hand, and tell them what they need, and not let get into all the stuff they want.

    when customers try to tell me they want things that i know will just make them cringe at the price, i am upfront with that, "oh, well we can do that yes, but it's going to make you sick every time you see my company's invoice. lets start with this basic package and see if you like the results and talk about doing that down the road."

    the key is to get out there, with some business cards, a notebook, and something to offer people. be prepared to have some left field questions come your way.

    i pay a kid to hang flyers on doors of residential neighborhoods for me, so far its working & its fairly inexpensive. i canvas small businesses myself with my business partner.

    money is everywhere. don't take anything out of your pocket, the client pays for everything, and you add a percentage to everything. mileage, backlink service, writing service, custom web designer, parts, labor, hosting, etc.
     
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  12. gnak

    gnak Registered Member

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    +rep!

    Golden advice in every paragraph, amen brother.

    Being selective with your clients is so important, the 80/20 rule
    is always in play.
     
  13. eBayMafia

    eBayMafia BANNED BANNED

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    I outsource web design for new resturaunts in the Midwest, and bars as well (due to my connections in the alcohol consumption business) - most want a Facebook page with people already on it, and a simple but custom-looking design, and not a 90's HTML design. Most of mine are made within 24 hours.

    I charge about $300, plus $27 a month. I usually get between 5 and 7 clients a month, and I get that because I only charge $300 for a site. I pay someone about $45. Not a lot of money, but it's still worth doing because I earn about $200 a month in residual payments plus the $1800 worth of single payments.

    I'd love to charge more, but most small business owners either don't have a thousand dollars to spend on the site or even value having one, I have to convince them they need one at just $300.

    The reason I said "The midwest" is because it usually requires a sit-down with the business owner.
     
  14. Seuss

    Seuss BANNED BANNED

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    I've been supporting my family while I finish my degree in computer science by doing first consulting and then moving into web design and SEO. I can tell you this much. Start by joining a local networking group and maybe even the chamber near you to get a feel for the business in your area. You should be able to figure out who the money makers are. Find some way to get in those circles as that will net you the real $$$. I did that and landed a single site that netted me 5 figures, was great experience and could focus solely on that site. Anything else I brought in was like free easy money.

    I suggest getting involved with the code and design as much as possible, as you never know when knowing this stuff will save your butt.

    It can be feast or famine, just don't give away your services for cheap. As others have stated, 1500 minimum is my going rate. You are happier doing it, and the hassles are worth it at that price. Anything less, and you probably will deal with crappy clients who want everything for free.

    I know of 4 other designers who went the 300+ route, needless to say, none of them are doing it anymore.

    I've been professionally doing this for about 3 years now, and have become fluent in every web and computer language out there. And I will say that the design aspect always takes the longest still.