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Wordpress Web Design - Journey

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by chrisceo, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. chrisceo

    chrisceo Regular Member

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    Hi guys, thought I'd share with you my little journey so far....

    OK well I started getting into websites a few years back when I found this site, and was doing the 'Crashed' challenge on here, I was hooked following the challenge as it showed you step by step on how to make a site through Wordpress, and I actually really enjoyed doing this. So last year i decided I was going to try and start a Wordpress web design company up in my spare time to try and get a bit more money coming through the door, as I'm a self employed tradesman as my main job.

    First job was to make myself a website that I would try to send people regarding the web design work, and were I could showcase my portfolio once I had enough sites under my belt...Took me days to build the site, with help from BHW and scanning the free themes from the generous member here :) But i finally did it, and the hard work paid off. I had my own little company out there on the internet

    My next job was to build myself a website for my main job, so I could get more work in to pay for bills and to give me more practice at building the sites. I could also add this to my portfolio...

    Next I went about advertising via Facebook, I made myself an account and started adding random people and businesses from my local area. After I had a few friends, I would make up some adverts using Photoshop and different ones each day, I also joined some local groups/pages and put them on there. I had some inquiries but most were just time wasters or had little money, but then I finally got someone who was very interested and wanted me to meet him :)

    So it turns out this guy has a lot of connections in my town, especially restaurants and night clubs. This guy knew a lot of people, and he had a big house and fancy cars...I thought if I got in with him then it could be good for me in the long run. Anyways he wanted an events type website making up, were all the local company's,clubs, restaurants could advertise all the upcoming events and charge them for doing so. I went in really cheap and only charged him £99 plus about £20 so i could buy the continuum theme legit, and that i could ask the designers for any help along the way. I know I should of charged much more but at the time it was my first sale, and had the potential to make me get noticed.

    So after a few more meetings at his house, and hours and hours of work, sleepless nights and headaches (the birth of my daughter too) i had the site designed and working. Now all i needed was him to get the local company's to register with the site......Well this never happened, and after promising for weeks on end to pay me the money I owed, he just stopped responding to my messages and phone calls :( Not a very good way to start my first sale, and had thoughts in my head of burning his house down, smashing his cars up or putting gay porn on his website with his face on lol. But I decided to let that be a lesson and I gained a lot of experience building the site etc

    OK after this I was a bit down, and kinda stopped building sites for a while....but decided to give it another go, and bought a few domain names,created some sites and added some adsense to them plus bought a few MNS to try and get a bit of money through these while i try to get my motivation back to start making sites again...

    A few more months passed and I decided to try with Facebook marketing again, added a load more people and joined more groups and posting adverts again....Straight away I received numerous messages regarding sites, but after giving them a price most didn't reply, or said they would think about it etc, I thought here we go again....Then a lady messaged me saying that she is starting up as new business but didn't have a lot of money...So I made her a deal and said I'd build her a free one, as long as its small and only a few pages, but she would have to pay for hosting at £80 per year for it, in which she agreed. After all this would pay for my hosting of all my sites.

    So after sending me all the info across, i asked her if she would pay a deposit (£40) via paypal before i started, in which she says...

    I would rather hand it to you in person if that's OK and get a reciept....i know your doing me a favour but im handing money over for something i havent got yet.... oh and the remaining £50 could i pay that in installments? and could you make me a logo in with the deal as I havnt got one

    Haha, give me a break I though, is this woman serious...and this is where my journey is today, not very good lol....I guess I wrote this for advice,info,motivation if anyone has any to offer me?? I don't want to quit as I love designing the sites, and spend hours alone researching and tweaking them etc...At the minute I charge just £99 for a one page site, and up to £350 for a big site. But people just don't want to pay anything as you can see from my journey, I'm hoping that these two experiences are just bad luck! But i spend hours advertising, and getting nothing back :(

    Sorry for the long post, especially if you have read this all the way through...but just needed to get this rant off my chest :) and to see if anyone else is having the problems that I have
     
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  2. SilverKnight

    SilverKnight Power Member

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    Nice thread. I can pretty much relate to it because right now I am at exactly the same spot as you are. I have recently started my Wordpress site designing 'company' and having a pretty hard time finding any clients.

    Best of luck to you (and to me) lol.


    EDIT: I just noticed we joined in the same month in 2011 and still struggling. lol.
     
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  3. Abroncas

    Abroncas Newbie

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    I also run a Wordpress design business and am coming across many of the issues you are encountering. I don't have a silver bullet solution for these, but can offer a couple of observations:


    • If you don't already: Contract, always have them sign a contract

    • For the most part, I stick to my guns on pricing. Some prospective clients I've met are so cheap they are not worth dealing with. For some reason they are of the mindset that building a website just involves "typing on a computer" and offer poverty level budgets. In my experience its best to point them to elance and wish them the best of luck dealing with their new developer in India, Ukraine etc, who may or may not be around when they need more work done on their site.

    • Most small businesses I deal with dont have time to manage their sites, so offering hosting, site management and SEO, etc as part of the deal helps to keep an ongoing relationship with the clients as well as some steady monthly cash-flow. Offering the first two months free sweetens the deal for them.

    • Given that you know your way around Wordpress fairly well, have you thought about creating an niche based SAAS using multisite? For example you could sell websites to restaurants based on a monthly subscription. Sure it takes some research and planning, but its technically not all that more difficult than setting up a regular WP instance. That could give you a tidy monthly income. Not sure if posting exampes of these services is against the rules, so PM me if you want to know more.

    Anyway, stick with it. You'll get better at weeding out good clients from the bad clients.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  4. SilverKnight

    SilverKnight Power Member

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    Actually, my problem is I cannot find any local clients. It's very hard to find local clients here and it's actually not worth the time. This is why I look for my clients online. That's why it makes it even more harder for me.
     
  5. berthfield

    berthfield Newbie

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    I too am in the same position, just putting my portfolio together and I am having hell with the first client I secured. I like the idea of drafting a contract, that way each party knows exactly what is required. Going to have to try and implement that in my start-up somehow.

    @chrisceo et al... Good luck with your endeavour,
     
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  6. SpookSEO

    SpookSEO Senior Member

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    Getting your first client is really a hard task. But when you get one, you could expect having more clients. Good luck!
     
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  7. TerryMeshon

    TerryMeshon Junior Member

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    One of my revenue streams is building small websites using wordpress. Done in a week, easy to do, so I have some tips for you.

    1. Do not under price yourself. You will also find that cheap websites appeal to cheap people. Real business men and women have money to invest in a website, and we are not talking the world here are we? My websites start from 99 for 1 page, up to 350 for up to 10 pages, 650 for those with advance search features, and 1600 for larger website over 100 pages etc... (prices in pounds sterling)

    2. Get a Hosting Re-seller account. If you are considering doing this long term then this could be a great earner in the long run andyou can also use this in quote. Website 500, hosting 100per year. Client: oh thats too much. you: ok have the first year hosting free.... I have done that numerous times and works a charm. You are also in control of their website if they decide not to pay, you turn their site off...

    3. Payment terms. As already mentioned, do contracts where possible, and on all other occasion, if you have not been refered the client or know of their true demeanor get 50% upfront and 50% on completion. If they do not agree to this tell them where to go (in a professional way of course)

    4. Always think extras. Do they need a logo, mailchimp, social set up, content, banners etc...

    5. Sell SEO. The average person knows very little about SEO and for local companies in general, competition should be low. (ok not always). Research the competition and if you believe you can rank them page 1, sell it as a service.

    6. Build websites for yourself and use them as 1. IM revenue portals, but 2 and more importantly, portfolio projects to show off. Websites are cheap to build and host so put the time in to create, leanr and sell.

    7. Social is a great way to get business, not just online but offline too. Tell all your friends and family what you do, make sure they tell others. When I started doing it my first clients were family or close friends. If you impress them they will speak more highly of you than any client.

    Im sure theres more but its a start.
     
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  8. calistus

    calistus Newbie

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    You said designing a website is very easy,please can you explain that cause i don't think so, when you have to write upto thousands of line of codes and css codes i find it not easy to do or do you have any trick or easy way of getting the done?
     
  9. TerryMeshon

    TerryMeshon Junior Member

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    Personally i find installing a theme and filling the blanks quite easy. I am not talking for complete wordpress novices here of which the OP is not. And i dont create websites more complex than I am capable of making, besides wordpress is limited to a certain extent.
     
  10. coolboy113u

    coolboy113u Junior Member

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    Well first of to start with I would recommend you to do a few websites for free. Use cheap hosting services like 2$/month(not £80). Remember these websites will reflect your portfolio (if you are looking for a local client, some local websites in the portfolio would have a positive impact). Another things is if you are looking for clients, see the freelance section in the BHW and other sites. If you google, you will see a lot of wordpress Job Boards. And the best thing to do when you don't have any clients is learn. Whether it be design, SEO or code. :)

    Wish you luck!!
     
  11. calistus

    calistus Newbie

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    Please am still wondering how you all design your wordpress site,do you get the theme and then modify.
    or Design from scrash?

    hope someone will reply me
     
  12. chrisceo

    chrisceo Regular Member

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    Hey Guys,

    Just got in from a hard days graft and read all the replys :) This is why I love BHW...Its nice to see that I'm not the only one out there struggling, and some real good advice from you guys too, thanks ill try to implement them into my work

    Now i will spend the rest of the night trying to put these new tips into action :)
     
  13. chrisceo

    chrisceo Regular Member

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    Hi mate, I usually see if I can pick up the templates from the download section here...Then play around with it to see if its any good, and sometimes I will just buy the theme outright.

    Once I have the theme, I will change bits of the code and edit the .css to change colours etc
     
  14. mehdvirus

    mehdvirus Junior Member

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    I'm interested to know how did you get those site requests from facebook groups, don't they ban you if you spam like that?
     
  15. chrisceo

    chrisceo Regular Member

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    I requested to join the groups and the accepted me, I basically have my own profile with a fake last name as I didn't want to do it on my personal FB account....And I haven't been banned yet from any, Ive joined about 50 groups so far (mostly local), and just do a different post everyday to as many as I can. I usually get a couple of friend requested with every blast i do.
     
  16. calistus

    calistus Newbie

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    Thanks mate,i was thinking of doing the same i only know a bit of HTML with CSS and now i got some one that want me want to design website for his movies,he is a producer.
     
  17. chrisceo

    chrisceo Regular Member

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    No probs, a lot of the themes have easy options so you can customize them anyways, if you get stuck send me a message dude
     
  18. calistus

    calistus Newbie

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    Thank a lot for your generosity.
    really appreciate
     
  19. chrisceo

    chrisceo Regular Member

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    What kind of problems are you having?? I sometimes think that I'm wasting my time as for my current project I must of spent about 2 hours already talking about how she wants the site etc, and she has just dropped me off £20 and said she will give me another £20 when the site is launched lol
     
  20. ContentLockPro

    ContentLockPro Power Member Premium Member

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    Always work 50% before 50% after job is completed. And Money back guarantee. Protect yourself and don't work for free under any circumstances
     
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