Want to start a webdesign business ...

18 replies
Personally, SEO is still a difficult stuff both to convince to the customer or prove with definitiveness.

Could you suggest/share your ideas how to launch a web design business. The right tools for marketing, a template to create good write ups ( as per my understanding web-design site-map + content should start than design ) for home page, about us page, product/service page , contact us page ... etc.

A professional photo source which helps

What are other add ons which the customer will love.

As of now My understanding:

1) Domain name provider --- Godaddy
2) Web Hosting provider --- Hostgator
3) Having and marketing our own webdesign service website and seeking the customer to feel a few forms online -- to get clear idea about the business.

and applying on site seo + a whole lot of stuff learnt on WF.

Pls share your suggestions ...

If you have any recommendations of web biz in box type - I'll grateful to know. Thank you in advance
#business #start #webdesign
  • Profile picture of the author jdenc
    Well I'm sure lots of folks here will chime in with plenty of tools. But I would like to address the SEO part. I have found it far easier to convince people of it's meaning by showing them how much sooner one finds their competitors than them. Most business people know the better, and earlier, you are placed in your section of the yellow pages the more calls you get. I then tell them to think of SEs as the new Yellow Pages. When I show them their competitor is one page one and they are on page 11 that's pretty powerful.

    Now that I am starting out on my own I still use this. In fact today I pitched a company. I let the primary owner help me search keywords for the one they most wanted to show up with. Then I showed them how poorly they were performing with it and showed them how many competitors they were personally familiar with that were beating the snot out of them. I am expecting their sign off on a full web site rework and SEO campaign by next week after some talks amongst the principals. Just seeing their eyes get big when they were on page 20 and their most hated rival was on page 2 told me I had their attention and that they got it.
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  • Profile picture of the author faridaziz
    Hey, you know what... you can go to small local businesses and say,
    "I'm ready to create a professional website for you at NO cost!"

    And when they agree, you can earn commissions from Hostgator
    affiliate program and also Aweber...

    Farid
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  • Profile picture of the author Jimian
    There's a trend now that seems to be PRE-building a site and THEN offering or LEASING it monthly to businesses... like roofers, plumbers, contractors, electricians, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sandycmy
    Hi,

    Thank you for all responses.

    Many of my clients don't think that they get customers for them online.

    I can convince them about that -- the concern it's a little tedious to satisfy them through designs, changes .. etc.

    Definitely once they have websites -- I will pitch for seo services.

    My necessity is to have the tools, resources and step by step stuff of getting new websites done to the customers. I'm looking for suggestions on that.
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    • Profile picture of the author jdenc
      Originally Posted by Sandycmy View Post

      Hi,

      Thank you for all responses.

      Many of my clients don't think that they get customers for them online.

      I can convince them about that -- the concern it's a little tedious to satisfy them through designs, changes .. etc.

      Definitely once they have websites -- I will pitch for seo services.

      My necessity is to have the tools, resources and step by step stuff of getting new websites done to the customers. I'm looking for suggestions on that.
      How much experience do you have building websites?
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  • Profile picture of the author davewebsmith
    Hi SandyCmy

    Firstly - Customers dont believe they get customers online. This is a fair assumption by the customer - However you can point out the them that Its a borchure that will advertise their business/service 24/7 for a small fee. Branding on their cards/vehicles/invoices/adverts/tshirts can all contribute to driving traffic to their online presence

    I think lots of people think if you put up a website 1000's of ppl will flock to it - if this was true why do major players all spend HUGE money branding their names and sites?

    There are many options available to you out there.

    I have a web development company - i specialise in word of mouth referals and have established clients that find me business for a referal commission. I dont advertise and dont have a homepage or website.

    Personally I use Godaddy for all my domains and my clients domains. I love the fact that the always have offers (voucher codes) and if there are none that work i google around to find one - usually 30% off the price of the domain. I do this manually and then setup the domain on my server and host their websites and email etc.

    HostGator is a great starting point - they have lots of add ons that will save you money when you begin - their reseller account gives you WHMCS and WHMAutoPilot licences and ENOM reseller accounts (ordering domains through your website) and good hosting from about $25 i believe. (other fees may apply for Enom etc you will have to check it out)

    Personally I use another provider to host my client websites - I have a few high end VPS boxes running CPanel/WHM. Clients can tell the difference in speed and performance on dedicated VPS'

    As for images - try istock(dot)com - royalty free images that you can buy and use on their sites - there are some reasonably priced images there.

    From a design point of view - you might like to get your customers to look around or send a few samples from templatemonster(dot)com - they can indicate a look and feel they like and you can then develop the site or buy the template and use that

    If you are really interested in setting up websites for your client can you answer the following

    1) do you know how to code - html / php / MySQL
    2) do you know how to use photoshop or other editting software?
    3) do you want to use dynamic content (MySQL) or static - simple HTML pages

    Based on your answers I will send you a few more websites and tip

    Dave WebSmith
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    watch this space ...
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    • Profile picture of the author xatsmann
      Originally Posted by davewebsmith View Post

      Hi SandyCmy

      If you are really interested in setting up websites for your client can you answer the following

      1) do you know how to code - html / php / MySQL
      2) do you know how to use photoshop or other editting software?
      3) do you want to use dynamic content (MySQL) or static - simple HTML pages
      Dave,

      Can't you outsource a lot of this?

      I am starting a web hosting company for small businesses but I have a feeling it will end up doing a lot of web design since offering small companies just hosting is like offering them an office--they still need to furnish and decorate it before it is of any use to them. While some small businesses will be happy to do this themselves I think many will want someone to do both web hosting and web design.

      As for me I can do basic html/css-Based on your answers I will send you a few more websites and tip I have done a small amount of java/php but I haven't had to use it yet.

      I use GIMP since I don't have the money or the hard drive/CPU for full blown photoshop--I also think using that for a small business is like saying if you're buying a delivery truck it has to be an 18 wheeler when a small van or pick up truck will work just as well for most small business--better in fact as it is cheaper to run and easier to operate.

      I can do simple HTML page as are on my current website Jacks Web Hosting Home Page and while I have the capability to do sql--I really don't know what I am doing with it at this point. Yes, I've read some books on it but I've never tried the theory out in practice.
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      Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ernie Lo
    Are you sure you want to do web design? Get ready for pesky customers who will suck you dry and not value your time.

    Your on a Internet marketing forum yet want to trade your time for money doing web design? Nothing wrong with that, but I just know I was heading down the web design route yet once I discovered IM, I knew web design as such wasnt for me anymore.

    I got a friend who runs a successful web design business...simply using Adwords, it works great. He just has an ad titled "web design CITY" and he get conversitions.......however I introduced him to Adsense and even though his just making a few dollars he is so unmotivated to do this web design biz now haha....

    Just think about it is all I'm saying, its not as glamorous as it may seem.
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  • Profile picture of the author CliveG
    Web design is pretty much a commodity business these days. You will find that in many cases you are competing against the owner's 14 year old son!

    Choose a niche, maybe marketing existing websites (which will probably include a redesign as well). Try something local that no one else is doing.

    Not trying to put you off but first write a realistic business plan including financials and make sure than you can live off the results.
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    • Profile picture of the author underthegun
      Originally Posted by CliveG View Post

      Web design is pretty much a commodity business these days. You will find that in many cases you are competing against the owner's 14 year old son!.

      Lol I've had that happen to me before, a few times. "My son says he can design me a website and it'll be free". My answer is usually something like "Can your son provide you will a fully functioning backend to meet your requirements or is he going to edit the html code every time you need an update?"
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      • Profile picture of the author davewebsmith
        Originally Posted by underthegun View Post

        Lol I've had that happen to me before, a few times. "My son says he can design me a website and it'll be free". My answer is usually something like "Can your son provide you will a fully functioning backend to meet your requirements or is he going to edit the html code every time you need an update?"

        I leave my card and say give me a call if he gets stuck - Ill requote you at that stage

        i have had a few that have come back and i have done their websites for them

        As my dad once said - You can take a horse to water but you can't wash behind its ears
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        watch this space ...
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        • Profile picture of the author rosetrees
          Why do you want to start a web design business?

          Do you have contacts? Do you have any skills in that area? Have your exiting customers asked you for web sites?

          Or have you just read somewhere that it's a good way to earn money? Being a high ranking bank official or civil servant is also a good way to earn money.
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          • Profile picture of the author xatsmann
            Originally Posted by rosetrees View Post

            Why do you want to start a web design business?

            Do you have contacts? Do you have any skills in that area? Have your exiting customers asked you for web sites?

            Or have you just read somewhere that it's a good way to earn money? Being a high ranking bank official or civil servant is also a good way to earn money.
            I'm curious--are you saying that one should not attempt to start a business without any contacts or skills or existing customers?

            I think you're saying that a person should know something about the business before they try and start a business, correct? I agree but on the other hand, you don't want to wait too long or you either end up with "paralysis by analysis" or you won't ever think you have enough knowledge to go into a business.

            I wish I had just started my own business when I was younger--I probably would have failed but I think most people do when they start a business--its best to get it over with when you're young as possible so you can start again.
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            Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price.
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        • Profile picture of the author underthegun
          Originally Posted by davewebsmith View Post

          I leave my card and say give me a call if he gets stuck - Ill requote you at that stage

          i have had a few that have come back and i have done their websites for them

          As my dad once said - You can take a horse to water but you can't wash behind its ears

          I did that with my last customer. He got pissed at me, literally pissed, that I was asking $500. When he chewed me out then told me to leave. I made the site anyway. He never came back but I expect he will. I have a friend that works for the man and he says he's already thinking about it because he can't find anyone to do it for free or for $50 and it be what he wants.

          I'm considering just making an email leads list and email other shops around my area that do the same business. Try and sell variations of my already completed work to them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Grant
    I've to honestly wonder about a lot of this. You want to create a web design company, but you need a website template for your company website?

    My thing is, why do people treat making a business online and offline differently? Would you create a construction company, and then ask another construction company on how to build your office? Would you ask that same construction company with whom and how they advertise?

    You need to treat this as a real business if you're going to be successful, and you won't make it if you're seeking handouts. You need to do a lot of due diligence if you're serious.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marco Yandun
    Instead of godaddy, I'd go with 1and1, they are cheaper and now, for the first domain, they are giving domains for free.

    Also you may try wordpress with thesis theme, where you can make good designs,

    Marco
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  • Profile picture of the author LawForYourWebsite
    Are you clear on the service you want to offer? Pesky customers tend to result when the deliverables are unclear or described too vaguely.

    Do you have a standard agreement that you can use to say "I've done everything I said I would do - now pay me"?

    Are you attaching legal forms or sending people off to sort them out themselves?

    Sit down and think through the process step by step from the point of getting a customer until receipt of payment and all the actions that have to occur in between.

    Then then about expectations are likely to exist without having been discussed, and what you would do at each point of the process if something went wrong.

    Then work out what resources you already have in place, and what else you need to sort out. With the stuff you don't yet have, work out what it is going to cost you and your potential risks and returns if you don't sort it out.

    There are different ends of the spectrum. Some people never get started waiting to get it all right first, others jump in without sorting anything out. If you want to go ahead, work out where you sit.
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  • Profile picture of the author bydomino
    Ok Where do I start.

    I own a web application and design business that has been around since 1996. I have done very well with this business but I have proved to my self that it is time to change my focus.

    [SEO First Site either at the same time or later. This is way more easy then Web first]

    Here is my story and support of this.

    What do we bring to the table:

    We can write anything you can imagine on the internet. My sites make money for the clients.

    We write sites all the time for $2,000. About every 1 in 8 goes for 5-9K and about every 1 in 25 goes for 30 - 80K or more.

    I can write any of the code that my developers can and I can do all the graphics that my designers can. I can do all of the admin work my administrators can.

    THAT I feel is very important because I know how long things take and I can bid the jobs. If you want to start a web design business I think you should know these things

    I manage over 1000 domains and own and lease 23 servers.
    The hats I have and still wear are:
    SEO
    Developer
    Designer
    Admin
    Salesman
    Mentor
    Speaker

    I feel the only way to really make it, like 15K to 20K a month or more, is to be able to design and develop anything. That is where the money is, CUSTOM. My company specializes in making sites that get stuff done, or sites that affect the bottom line.

    If you can show how a site will make X amount of Money then you can charge a portion of that with out much hesitation.

    Ok so what is the problem you say. Clients,.. All over the internet you hear and see folks making their own websites. People become designers and they can become very difficult to managed because they feel like they know what they want because they use the web.
    But with SEO it is a big mystery. To help things, so many folks say they can do it but really cannot.
    It is NOW easy, if you can show proof, to sell a client on getting them in 1st page Google. Even better, they have no idea how you do it.

    SO what is the plan now? Here goes:

    1) Determine if your client can pay you.
    Do they have money?
    Does their product really work?
    Does it have a good mark up?

    This is important. Sure I run into clients I like that really cannot afford what they want. I call this charity work and run about 4-5 of these projects a year.

    2) Then tell them about how you can get them on 1st page Google. Sell them on how this will get them more traffic and more sales ONLY if they are using the right keywords.

    3) Tell them you will do the initial keyword research for $500. You will then be able to let them know what the actual effort will be to get them there.

    4) Do the work and come back with the findings.

    Easy niche - $500 a month for 4 - 6 months then re look
    Medium niche - $1000 a month for 4- 6 months then re look
    And so on. Some clients you will have to charge thousands.

    (it is important not to promise too much too soon. Most SEO projects take time)

    If they balk at the costs and if YOU BELIEVE IN YOUR SKILLS then tell them you will charge them half up front and collect the other half in 2 months

    So if it is $1000 a month then
    Jun 1st $500
    Jul 1St $500
    then Aug 1st $1000 and then $1000 for the next 4 months . you will then collect the other two $500 on month 7 and 8

    5) DO THE WORK!!!!

    6) Out of this will come, "your website will do better if it was redesigned" or you could improve the bounce rate if you had better copy, or this tool would help you out like this,...
    Then you can sell these upgrades if and only if you think you can handle the client.

    WE have been doing this so long I know we can handle the client, but they are WAY more humble, positive and trusting of your skills once you 1) take charge 2) show them some thing with the SEO.

    Having a track record or a nice site list helps as well


    7) Host everything you build and only host what you build!
    Charge for this. make it a service. I do not host anyone, except charity clients for less than $20 a month. Most are $40 a month or more. But I answer every issue or question the same day and usually the same hour. I also have a policy I tell to every client. If we can fix it in 10 min or less no charge. We are the one stop shop.

    8) If you are a developer then think about how their site can make them more money.

    Ok with this new plan we are running 15K plus every month and climbing. It is also easier to run SEO on 5 or 10 clients then it is to develop a website for 5 or 10 clients.

    Using this technique I am selling 90% of what I go after.


    I hope this helps ,

    Kevin
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