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Thinking about web design company

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by DannyDeepPockets, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. DannyDeepPockets

    DannyDeepPockets Junior Member

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    I have been thinking about launching a small web design business for people on tight budgets due to the rough economy. I was thinking about the many ways I can cut down on the costs for my potential customers. One idea that came to mind is cutting down on the expense of hosting.

    So the idea is to host a few peoples websites on the same hosting account. What I mean by this is, making directories that each hold a person's entire website. Then I would simply purchase a domain, mask it, and direct it to that directory on my already existing hosting account.

    The hosting account I would be using will allow massive amounts of bandwidth so I'm not worried about that. Plus, the websites would be for small local businesses here in the small town I live in, so they will not be getting much traffic, only a handful of visitors monthly. So my question is, would most hosting companies allow this? By this I mean hosting multiple, unrelated websites on the same hosting account? For example MonsterHost or Gatorhost(I hope I was clear)
     
  2. pyronaut

    pyronaut Executive VIP

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    Yep, thats fine. Just look if the package allows for "Addon Domains". I think the smaller packages at gatorhost dont allow this but the medium sized ones do. And they have no problem with it.

    The thing is the domain you sign up with will have to be yours, otherwise the your first customer will be able to see everyone elses files. But other then that should be sweet.
     
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  3. p1mp_ju1ce

    p1mp_ju1ce Registered Member

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    downside i can think of this setup is that your client/s won't have cpanel access. only ftp access.
     
  4. K1w12k3

    K1w12k3 Junior Member

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    There are a couple of places that I know of that do this.
    Do a G search for reseller hosting and you'll find a whole bunch of places that do what you want. A couple even do white-label reseller plans where your customers get access to cpanel with your branding.

     
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  5. DannyDeepPockets

    DannyDeepPockets Junior Member

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    to pyronaut: thanks dude.

    to pimp juice:

    thanks for your input.

    Well the customers I will be targeting won't be needing to make updates themselves. I will be updating information on the websites whenever they wish but these will be minor updates since they are small businesses. The websites I have in mind are basic 4-5 page informational websites. You know the basic Home, Services, Photos, Contact Us pages. I will limit it to about 15-20 products or services.

    There are web design companies here that charge $275 for such websites like what I described above. I plan to charge about one fourth of that, even if I am underpricing it I don't care as long as I am making decent money. I am willing to sacrifice.

    So the total costs will be $3-$7 for a domain, the rest is profit.

    I believe I can make something of this since there are many companies that just want there information out there, on the web. They don't want a super complex or dynamic website with CMS. I know this for a fact.

    I already completed my first website for a small house remodeling company. I showed him the sample site and he was more than pleased. I just included his details(phone, services, etc.) Charged him $70 bucks. Domain was about $7 do the math for what was profit. I completed that website within a day. If crank one out per day I will be fine money-wise.

    At first I was thinking to myself "I should charge way more but less than competitors." But then I was like "heck I can sacrifice myself for a lower price. i don't care. As long as I'm making money." And thanks to my extremely lower prices I'm getting a lot of people interested and asking me. All I needed was to be sure I can host multiple sites on a single host account and as you can see our friend pyronaut says I can. So with that said i am ready to do this! And you people out there should too!

    Edit: i will be also charging each customer a very low monthly fee. Once I have a few customers the single hosting account I'll be using will pay for itself! (in case you are wondering)
     
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    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  6. pyronaut

    pyronaut Executive VIP

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    Its a good idea actually. If they dont want to host with you, be sure to give them your referral link to hostgator so you can cash in in anycase. Infact that was a method that was posted here, create the websites for dirt cheap, but make sure they signup to hostgator under your ref.

    Be sure to throw in all the "extras" aswell. SEO, Email setup etc.
     
  7. musestech

    musestech Newbie

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    Hi,

    I am been doing this for 3 to 4 years. there is no issue. i use add on domains. i have hosting with bluehost.

    recently one of these companies wanted separate cpanel and i could not give. so the domain was transferred to another hosting provider. make sure you choose the client who can allow you to update their website.. or you can provide them only ftp. even email you need to create.
     
  8. musestech

    musestech Newbie

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    And yes, you can use free templates. there are many sites. you can also find small flash buttons, movies online with editing rights. so that will make your work easy.

    think of installing blog on domain. i have done it for few of my domains. this makes work easier.
     
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  9. herron

    herron Regular Member

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    You want a reseller hosting account. These take care of allowing CPanel access as well as tools for invoicing the clients and tracking their usage and advanced options such as full MX control.

    I personally find it is easier to hook customers with a free/budget (basic) website but include the hosting charge. Upsell with a CMS (WordPress) by throwing the line that they can make their own changes so no expensive call backs. This is a big hate from businesses as every time they want to post a staff change or a product change they don't have to wait for slow and expensive wannabe web developers to make the changes.

    It depends on the website but most small business will only want an online business presence, not an advanced site so the development cost won't be much for you anyway. Buy a decent theme package if you want and you will knock up the sites quick smart. The residual income from the hosting will be what pays off in the long term so don't discount it. Don't worry about being dearer than the hosting companies either - small business either realise or you will educate them that their is more to hosting than buying space. Talk about server configuration and file permissions, htaccess, etc. They won't want to touch it.

    If you want a lump sum instead of a trickle then you can always charge for 12months hosting up front. Just be prepared to fight for the renewal (or automatically put them onto monthly after the 12months is up).

    Don't under estimate how time consuming this will be once you have a decent customer base. Every moment you spend making changes is less time spent getting new business. They will want changes and they will be frustrating ones too. Give them the option - so much per change (ph) or a CMS at a set cost and they make their own. You can charge them when they fuck it up then at a higher rate.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  10. blackmagiquellc

    blackmagiquellc BANNED BANNED

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    hey hit me up and we can set up a relationship

    I own a marketing (SEO) company in california and I could definitely help your new clients and we can work some type of thing out if you are interested
     
  11. nasgorkam

    nasgorkam Newbie

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    Occupation:
    web designer of hexno.com
    Location:
    j.town
    Actually is a good way to make money, I've been doing my self for past 2 years. I've doing mostly website design based on wordpress / Joomla / some shopping cart like x-cart, magento,PHP my directory etc.

    Several things I need to share with you, but you probably knew :


    1. Timeline : when your business growth, you'll definitely work on by schedule. Use something like dot project or factory nova, or other collaboration tools to let your customer know about your availability.
    2. Have an Excel / Word / Notes about your work. Always write the problem or when you install some plugins or some features. This way when you have a new project you can look back at this notes without doing some trial and error again.
    3. Write step by step on how you work and some list of item that you can do. This way you can offer the clients more quickly, or they can order by modules.
    4. Prepare for mass job and outsource. You definitely doesn't want to do it by daily basis. When the things grow bigger, you need a partner. Sometimes its fun just being a broker. Just make sure the outsource / partner is someone that you can trust on the result and the timeline.
    5. Have a portfolio, simple ones doesnt need a heavy graphic or something that really nice. Some simple and elegant wordpress site with contact form, phone number, and list of work will do. They need an information on how you work, not the way the site is presented.
    6. Ask the clients several things before start a project, such as what color scheme they like, its fluid or fixed size, what kind of theme they looking for, it is grungy or corporate, do they have a sample or website that they like, whats function to be added in the website.
    7. Always have a backup in your local computer.
    Actually i have several list more but I think 6 above cover it all for starters. May it helps you, and I wish you big good luck mate.

    Regards,
     
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  12. armin64

    armin64 Registered Member

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    That's ok man, you need a reseller account or a VPS/Dedicated server. I've had 2 reseller accounts for almost 3 years and had a bunch of different websites on them. That won't be a problem ;)
     
  13. DannyDeepPockets

    DannyDeepPockets Junior Member

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    I think you are refering to me?

    Hey, thanks for the offer but I don't live in that state. Also, I want to keep this as a side gig. From what I'm reading I probably won't be going big time with this. Just a few websites for monthly beer money.

    I am doing better with other methods but thanks anyway.

    Thanks
     
  14. Strider

    Strider Junior Member

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    Use the site hostgatortrial.com to get a reseller account for $0 dollars to start your web design business.
     
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  15. DannyDeepPockets

    DannyDeepPockets Junior Member

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    Thanks for all the input guys!

    Do any of you know where I can get a copy of generic web design contract? I am having trouble finding one. It's pretty much all I need before I proceed.
     
  16. aylos67

    aylos67 Newbie

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    reseller, free, good idea..
     
  17. wildcherry

    wildcherry Newbie

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    I have been doing this business for almost two years....which is why I'm on this forum LOL

    From my experience, unless you are providing templates and NO consulting, the money is sometimes just not worth it. To put it bluntly....people suck. Think about it this way...your audience wants a bargain...yet their website can and should be a powerful tool to their business. So, they want the world for next to nothing. If you can be firm with people, maybe, but trust me, these scoundrels will milk you for all your worth. And many will severely downplay the level of expertise required to pump out a nice looking site....after all, their buddies high school kid will do it for free LOL

    My opinion is a better model would be to sell template services for cheap, get them on hosting for a year and DO NOT promise much for $275...you'll regret it, I guarantee! Just have them choose a template (they will be happy b/c of the price, trust me), send them a detailed questionnaire where they provide all of the content, and just spend an hour or two customizing the template with their info.

    I have even found $700-$1000 jobs to be a pain in the arse. Had one client who talked me down to $1000 from $1500. I am currently at 115 hours with this guy, no joke (long story also), and no sign of a future payment....his t-shirt startup failed b/c he is more or less a marketing moron/lazy ass, but his site looks great.

    I don't mean to be a downer, but after running a business like this for two years, I learned a lot and feel that there are way better ways to use your skills to make money. I basically came to a point where I felt "hey, i'm building businesses for OTHER people, making them more than they are paying me, when I could be doing the same thing for myself!!!"

    Good luck, if you ever have questions, need help just PM me.
     
  18. the_demon

    the_demon Jr. Executive VIP

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    I make a huge profit off of hosting many clients on one hosting account. It's a solid way to make recurring income. You just buy one beefy account and it's great for small businesses which is my primary hosting market.

    I typically also do the web design for my clients so I make money from that.

    Then I charge a domain registration and maintenance fee.

    Then you can upsell them to SEO Services.

    I offer a complete package :D You make a lot more money when your the guy covering all the bases as opposed to just one.
     
  19. WebGirl

    WebGirl Newbie

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    I've been considering doing this exact same thing. I genuinely want to help the small businesses in my little town, and I know they can't afford much. But, nor do they need much. Just a nice little site.

    How much will you charge for the monthly hosting?

    Great thread, thanks.
     
  20. Griffin

    Griffin Regular Member

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    Hey, been thinking the same as you here lately. I'm going into the slow season for new clients

    Always always always go for hosting fees. I have missed out several times and still regret it. Just shave a dollar or two off of HostGator's price, set up their site and give them a way to upload (simple upload script & folder should work well). Throw in that you'll keep the blog/etc software updated as part of the deal. If it's WordPress or one of the Fantastico scripts (40+), updating takes two clicks maybe 5x/year.

    Let me know if you have any overflow work ;)