What's the best way to compete in the website design business?

9 replies

Anyone own a website design business here? How do you compete with people that offers websites for prices that are way below the market value?
Sure you can tell the customers that your work is better quality but some people are just NOT interested in the quality factor! The price seem to be very important to them these days. What's your view on this?

#business #compete #design #website
  • Profile picture of the author ASM Marketing
    If they're not interested in quality, let them look elsewhere. If you provide a great service, people talk.

    Overdeliver and offer a discount/money-back rebate if a client can refer a friend. The extra custom will be worth way more than the rebate.

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  • Profile picture of the author GoGetta
    Yep, ASM is right!

    It also depends on the value you put into your sites. Its all about the value within the offer. If someone thinks they are gonna get a better site by going through you, even though it costs more, they will! So buold the value, get your USP shouted from the rooftops!

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  • Profile picture of the author Jagged
    Hi Ken,

    Good question. I'm sure you will get a variety of answers on this...

    My attitude is...You get exactly what you pay for...

    Ask...what is it they want their website to do?

    If all your looking for is a digital business card...then a lowball priced website will most likely work...

    If you want to make money...you need to put a little something into it...

    I explain that web designers are a varied bunch...
    There are plenty who are fantastic at designing a beautiful web site....but lousy at the backend features such as proper SEO...
    I liken it to owning a jaguar...but not having the keys. It looks great, but does it get you where you need to go? NO...

    Then there are the ones who are not so much on design, but know how to get the site ranked well...
    ( I use google as an example...not that they are not capable of designing a nice site...but...look at it...it's a "plain jane" website, but.....it's the #1 website out there)

    But knowing how to rank well, or design well...won't do you any good if your website isn't "marketable".
    Will it make you money?
    Will it attract & retain customers?
    Will it reflect & brand your businss?
    Will it get the results you need?

    It's rare when you get all 3 features of good web design....proper SEO & marketability, all rolled up in one package...expect to pay more when you do...

    You definately won't get all that from a $200.00 website.

    Once I explain that to my clints...I repeat...So, what is it you want your website to do?

    Good luck,
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  • Profile picture of the author JB
    This might help from the customer point of view:

    I just interviewed a whole load of design companies for a complete rebuild and relaunch of my site. It's a big job with a total bill of about $30K. I met all of the top design houses in the city, some in very plush offices, others in dark back offices but the guys I went with didn't actually have an office at all. The were a collective who all work from home, each one being an expert in their particular field (backend design, MYSQL, PHP, CMS, front end design etc).

    The project manager was the guy who closed the deal for me - proper consultancy, not afraid to shoot down my ideas as opposed to being a nodding dog. The guy was a bona fide marketing expert who had a huge depth of technical knowledge on all possible areas and he actually brought ideas to the table from the word go. Most of all though, he was able to explain exactly why the site was to be built in a particular way with regard to converting leads and funneling users toward the various site objectives. Bear in mind these guys work from home but they have designed websites for banks, online payment providers, social networks and major bluechip companies - even though they only ever meet clients in hotel lobbies or a rented conference room.

    I would never go with a web design company for any job regardless how small without first spending at the very least 2 hrs talking to the project manager about the brief and what I expect while listening for feedback, then spending a further 2 hrs going through their proposal and brief with a magnifying glass.
    I have a degree in Marketing, a working knowledge of online business and executive experience in a global player - whoever I hire has to wow me on all levels whether the job is a 3 page website or a massive set of complex systems woven together into a coherent product or service.

    You don't have to know everything either, I asked these guys why develop a LAMP system as opposed to going with Java and they were straight up and said because they weren't Java developers - no excuses. If you apply the same approach to whatever your current level of expertise is then you should do well. When it comes to commissioning a website, money should not be the deciding factor - I usually make my decision first then leave the price up to final negotiation. Good money is in good websites, you need to raise the bar above the sales letter sites if you want to be able to wow any bigger fish with an attractive portfolio.

    If you don't have the skills, a good idea is to do a JV with some developers on the likes of odesk or another - just be sure you pick the right people BUT you HAVE to know what you are talking about if you speak to a client over the phone or meet in person.
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    • Profile picture of the author sylviad
      I'm not in web design but I did try selling such a service for an offline client way back when the web was just beginning to roll - mid-90s.

      What I discovered when talking to clients was that they just didn't understand what made a good site. (Well, back then I guess most people had little if any idea what the internet was.) I showed them samples of sites we could build for them, but they just didn't grasp the value, especially for the price.

      You might need to look at it from an educational standpoint. What can your service do for them that they probably don't realize?

      Perhaps they think all they need is a few pages, graphics and content but have absolutely no idea how to make the site work to attract traffic and convert into sales or grab new subscribers - using databases, forums, help desk or whatever.

      If you think about people offering site builds for peanuts, consider what they look like (the sites, not the people ). In my experience, the creators use templates so that hundreds of sites look exactly the same with minor exceptions.

      Then again, some people just don't care about any of that. They just want to get a site and make money. I don't see them as being serious about their businesses, necessarily, so they probably aren't your target customers anyway.

      But let them see behind the scenes... how yours will bring them better results than a template web site that might be ill-designed.

      I hope this helps - but you have already received some excellent feedback.

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      • Profile picture of the author Marty S
        To answer your question in the thread title:

        Be a general contractor, rather than the guy who hammers the wood together. The general contractor always makes more anyhow, and have way more freedom, even while having multiple jobs going at the same time.

        Set yourself up as an international web design firm and start making connections through elance, odesk, craigs list and rent-a-coder. Divide up each job you get into specialized segments and start out-sourcing them. I am NOT even in the web design business and I have half a dozen people I can go to directly now for each kind of job I need completed.

        You will be able to compete on any price level this way, while providing your clients with professional communication and job quotes.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tyrus Antas
    Originally Posted by PixelPerfect View Post

    The price seem to be very important to them these days. What's your view on this?
    Not for everyone. You're looking at the wrong place.

    Businesses have no problem paying for quality work. You just need to prove you can offer that. Mixing with everybody else at freelance sites just devalues everyone's work. You need to create your own presence, on your own website. Create a good portfolio and acquire good references.

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  • Profile picture of the author Adrian Cooper
    Originally Posted by PixelPerfect View Post


    Anyone own a website design business here? How do you compete with people that offers websites for prices that are way below the market value?
    Sure you can tell the customers that your work is better quality but some people are just NOT interested in the quality factor! The price seem to be very important to them these days. What's your view on this?

    Using Joomla with a nice template you can easily make a phenomenal site for next to nothing.
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  • Profile picture of the author PixelPerfect
    Thanks for the great advice guys. Got some homework to do now.
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