A few questions on "selling websites to local businesses"

26 replies
Hi guys,

I have been thinking about this for a while and now that I have joined this forum I should ask a few questions for inspiration and to see if i should continue my idea.

I have been thinking about selling WordPress websites, maybe 3 or so pages for local businesses that have absolutely no web presence. So these would be simple websites on a free theme (but modified to look decent).

An example site would have maybe - a home page with a picture slider and their contact details address etc, an about us page, a contact us page with a contact form and then could offer a Facebook page along with that as some sort of social upgrade or something with integration to the site etc...

Note - I have been using WordPress personally for about 2 years or so and can build a pretty decent looking site, but we're not talking about charging thousands or anything, maybe like $100? (without hosting)

I have a few questions tho (you don't have to answer them all but if you have something of worth to add on any of them please feel free to pitch in!)

1. any ideas on how much you would charge for such a simple site?

2. would you get them to buy the domain and the hosting themselves and guide them through it or sell that to them as well (if i do that is reseller hosting confusing? haha)

3. is there anything else you can think of that a local business would benefit from having on their website?

5. Any suggestions on good WordPress themes for this? I like the Responsive theme myself!

Thank-You so much for reading my post and even more so if you can add anything to it!
#advice #local businesses #question #questions #selling websites #web presence
  • Profile picture of the author market your way
    The best way that worked perfect for me is to have your customers purchase a domain and a hosting account and then build the site for them.

    About a responsive WordPress theme is easy to find,
    Go to the theme section in WordPress and where it says install
    new theme in the search box type in ( Mobile Responsive ) and theirs
    hundreds to choose from free.

    Hope this Helps
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    • Profile picture of the author efil4renots
      Originally Posted by market your way View Post

      The best way that worked perfect for me is to have your customers purchase a domain and a hosting account and then build the site for them.

      About a responsive WordPress theme is easy to find,
      Go to the theme section in WordPress and where it says install
      new theme in the search box type in ( Mobile Responsive ) and theirs
      hundreds to choose from free.

      Hope this Helps
      hey man, thanks for your response! how much did you make doing this then? haha and how much did you charge for what kind of site? also I think you may have misunderstood me with the responsive theme bit, that's actually a link to one I quite like, it just has a super generic name! haha "responsive"
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    • Profile picture of the author fandbworld
      Originally Posted by market your way View Post

      The best way that worked perfect for me is to have your customers purchase a domain and a hosting account and then build the site for them.

      About a responsive WordPress theme is easy to find,
      Go to the theme section in WordPress and where it says install
      new theme in the search box type in ( Mobile Responsive ) and theirs
      hundreds to choose from free.

      Hope this Helps
      Or you can buy a re-seller account at Hostgator and host their sites for a monthly charge. I charge 30 a month for a business site, comes with updating their wordpress and minor maintenance. Make 10 sites and that is 300 recurring monthly. 100 sites and that is 3,000 recurring etc... I know some companies that easily charge 100 a month for hosting.

      Or if you would rather not deal with them on going, just sign up to be an affiliate and give them your affiliate coupon to purchase hosting.
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      • Profile picture of the author efil4renots
        Originally Posted by fandbworld View Post

        Or you can buy a re-seller account at Hostgator and host their sites for a monthly charge. I charge 30 a month for a business site, comes with updating their wordpress and minor maintenance. Make 10 sites and that is 300 recurring monthly. 100 sites and that is 3,000 recurring etc... I know some companies that easily charge 100 a month for hosting.

        Or if you would rather not deal with them on going, just sign up to be an affiliate and give them your affiliate coupon to purchase hosting.
        woah really 100 for hosting? haha madness! but yeah I didn't really want it to be an ongoing thing, more mention that they are built on WordPress which can be easily updated by either themselves or any "web master" but they could always phone me to do one off work on the sites (updates etc) but I am kind of intrigued bu the recurring money! do you think I could just host their sites on a personal host gator plan (unlimited domains) and make their an ad on/ sub domain or would that not work/be risky?

        Thanks for all the input guys. I'm starting to get quite excited about this to be honest!
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        • Profile picture of the author fandbworld
          Originally Posted by efil4renots View Post

          woah really 100 for hosting? haha madness! but yeah I didn't really want it to be an ongoing thing, more mention that they are built on WordPress which can be easily updated by either themselves or any "web master" but they could always phone me to do one off work on the sites (updates etc) but I am kind of intrigued bu the recurring money! do you think I could just host their sites on a personal host gator plan (unlimited domains) and make their an ad on/ sub domain or would that not work/be risky?

          Thanks for all the input guys. I'm starting to get quite excited about this to be honest!
          Well if you make it ongoing you keep that relationship going. Easy to upsell them and such. Plus more likely to get more referrals from them. Unless they are an annoying customer who messages you constantly.

          When I first started I did it on a hatchling personal plan with add on domains. Pretty sure you are really not supposed to do that though, so just switched to the re-seller plan.

          I will also respectfully disagree with the above poster in not charging anything for doing the website. I would say charge at least 500 for the site. Get less headache clients looking for freebies. You would also be surprised how hard it might be to give away a free site. People will think it is low quality and not worth it. They would not want to represent their business poorly and may think by getting a free site it will.

          But you could try out both if you would like and see what happens. Good luck either way
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          • Profile picture of the author midasman09
            Banned
            Warrior "Gene Pimental" has a great WSO where he provides Ready-Made sites with a Video for various niches.

            Don Alm
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            • Profile picture of the author infamous dave
              Originally Posted by midasman09 View Post

              Warrior "Gene Pimental" has a great WSO where he provides Ready-Made sites with a Video for various niches.

              Don Alm
              Anyone use these themes? www.offlinebusinessthemes.com

              If so, what do you think of them?
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        • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
          Originally Posted by efil4renots View Post

          woah really 100 for hosting? haha madness! but yeah I didn't really want it to be an ongoing thing, more mention that they are built on WordPress which can be easily updated by either themselves or any "web master" but they could always phone me to do one off work on the sites (updates etc) but I am kind of intrigued bu the recurring money! do you think I could just host their sites on a personal host gator plan (unlimited domains) and make their an ad on/ sub domain or would that not work/be risky?

          Thanks for all the input guys. I'm starting to get quite excited about this to be honest!
          Just because you are familiar with something doesn't mean your customers are (or want to be).

          Just because you know how to do something easily doesn't mean your customer does (or wants to learn).

          Just because you want to work on something doesn't mean your customer wants to (or has the time).

          Don't undervalue what you bring to the table. This is one of the most common problems I see.
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          • Profile picture of the author MrFume
            Finally the voice of reason...these people that talk about charging 'zero' for creating websites are completely insane. I think there is a complete failure of understanding. this craigslist mentality where people request pro bono work for the great privilege of having a referral down the track ..get real! 'The laborer is worth the hire'. forget 'cap in hand' approaches and square your shoulders, you are providing a specialized service; no wonder offline marketing is becoming devalued, these people with no sense of self worth are destroying the market.

            Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

            Just because you are familiar with something doesn't mean your customers are (or want to be).

            Just because you know how to do something easily doesn't mean your customer does (or wants to learn).

            Just because you want to work on something doesn't mean your customer wants to (or has the time).

            Don't undervalue what you bring to the table. This is one of the most common problems I see.
            Signature

            The whole basis of what we do as human beings is based on Communication, nothing would be possible otherwise. I work with communication, publishing on the Web, digital media.
            Digital Media for a Noisy World

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            • Profile picture of the author Greg71
              Originally Posted by MrFume View Post

              Finally the voice of reason...these people that talk about charging 'zero' for creating websites are completely insane. I think there is a complete failure of understanding. this craigslist mentality where people request pro bono work for the great privilege of having a referral down the track ..get real! 'The laborer is worth the hire'. forget 'cap in hand' approaches and square your shoulders, you are providing a specialized service; no wonder offline marketing is becoming devalued, these people with no sense of self worth are destroying the market.
              I agree. What if the referral also wants a free site in exchange for referrals? It becomes a big empty-promise pyramid.

              Someone has to part with cash, it might as well be your first customer. Do a good job and you'll get referrals anyway, but they'll be paying ones.
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        • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
          Originally Posted by efil4renots View Post

          woah really 100 for hosting? haha madness! but yeah I didn't really want it to be an ongoing thing, more mention that they are built on WordPress which can be easily updated by either themselves or any "web master" but they could always phone me to do one off work on the sites (updates etc) but I am kind of intrigued bu the recurring money! do you think I could just host their sites on a personal host gator plan (unlimited domains) and make their an ad on/ sub domain or would that not work/be risky?

          Thanks for all the input guys. I'm starting to get quite excited about this to be honest!
          Hibu / yellowbook customers along with many of the other big brands charge $100-300/mo for hosting.
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          • Profile picture of the author DABK
            Regarding $100 for hosting

            What do you think your clients will do if they buy hosting on their own and get a message from the hosting company that something's wrong with a file? Or if the site is doesn't open?

            Spend hours and hours trying to fix it or pay someone hundreds of dollars a pop to fix it.

            $100 a month by comparison might not seem so much to them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sieg
    there are many ways you can approach this type of business.
    Whenever one propostion fails, you can always expand your reach by hosting the readymade sites on your hosting account and if the business buys, you can either point the website to their hosting if they already have one, or if you can even tell them that you can maintain their websites on your hosting account and ask for a monthly fee.
    upsell on SEO, ranking, content generation, all in one package sounds optimal if you would want to go deeper in it

    I would sell the site from $500 just for the site, and if they buy in for you to maintain the site, charge $200-$350 for the site, ~$40 for hosting, and the upsells is infinite.

    hope this gave you some ideas
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    • Profile picture of the author efil4renots
      Originally Posted by Sieg View Post

      there are many ways you can approach this type of business.
      Whenever one propostion fails, you can always expand your reach by hosting the readymade sites on your hosting account and if the business buys, you can either point the website to their hosting if they already have one, or if you can even tell them that you can maintain their websites on your hosting account and ask for a monthly fee.
      upsell on SEO, ranking, content generation, all in one package sounds optimal if you would want to go deeper in it

      I would sell the site from $500 just for the site, and if they buy in for you to maintain the site, charge $200-$350 for the site, ~$40 for hosting, and the upsells is infinite.

      hope this gave you some ideas
      I feel a kind of monty burns style evil finger pyramid of contemplation coming on......excellent! haha too much? Awesome for the input man thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Sieg
    i had to add something else, I've found that whenever you approach these companies with web related stuff, it's always good to give them something free.
    I get an adwords voucher or the like, usually gives you $50-100 worth of advertising for your prospects is a pretty huge deal.
    you can even work it to find and close some leads which makes the trust building part a breeze with sticky retention for your business.
    ok. im done. good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author efil4renots
      Originally Posted by Sieg View Post

      i had to add something else, I've found that whenever you approach these companies with web related stuff, it's always good to give them something free.
      I get an adwords voucher or the like, usually gives you $50-100 worth of advertising for your prospects is a pretty huge deal.
      you can even work it to find and close some leads which makes the trust building part a breeze with sticky retention for your business.
      ok. im done. good luck!
      Awesome Idea with the adsense voucher! Thanks!
      any idea where you can get the 1st time vouchers from at all?
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      • Profile picture of the author Sieg
        Originally Posted by efil4renots View Post

        Awesome Idea with the adsense voucher! Thanks!
        any idea where you can get the 1st time vouchers from at all?
        Google has their "Engage" thing going on, you partner up with them and get a free voucher. https://google-engage.appspot.com/us/engage_migrated/

        Join seobook and they also give out vouchers. Free 2014 PPC Coupons for Google AdWords & Bing Ads


        free who join Microsoft ad affillates programs.
        free who join Microsoft ad affillates programs.
        free who join Microsoft ad affillates programs.
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        • Profile picture of the author Garble
          Originally Posted by Sieg View Post

          Google has their "Engage" thing going on, you partner up with them and get a free voucher. https://google-engage.appspot.com/us/engage_migrated/
          I like the idea of offereing free adwords coupons. I took a look at what google now calls their Partner program. Looks like you need to pass a test as well as spend min $10k.

          Anyone know if you need to spend that $10k before they will give you some adwords credit to pass out to clients?

          I realize that 10k is not that much when it comes to managing a few campaigns, but it's still way bigger where I'm at right now.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tom Addams
    I can help you out here.

    1. any ideas on how much you would charge for such a simple site?

    Zero. Give them away for free BUT have them join a hosting company through your referral link.

    2. would you get them to buy the domain and the hosting themselves and guide them through it or sell that to them as well (if i do that is reseller hosting confusing? haha)

    Get them to buy a domain through your affiliate link.

    3. is there anything else you can think of that a local business would benefit from having on their website?

    Target small businesses, mom and pop stores. Contact form, map, blog, prices, directions to their business. Look at others in their niche to find out specifics.

    5. Any suggestions on good WordPress themes for this? I like the Responsive theme myself!

    Buy commercial reuse rights to premium themes - or A premium theme.

    Above = license to print money.
    Signature

    I Coach: Learn More | My Latest WF Thread: Dead Domains/ Passive Traffic

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    • Profile picture of the author Realindaville
      Originally Posted by Victoria Stone View Post

      I can help you out here.

      1. any ideas on how much you would charge for such a simple site?

      Zero. Give them away for free BUT have them join a hosting company through your referral link.

      2. would you get them to buy the domain and the hosting themselves and guide them through it or sell that to them as well (if i do that is reseller hosting confusing? haha)

      Get them to buy a domain through your affiliate link.

      3. is there anything else you can think of that a local business would benefit from having on their website?

      Target small businesses, mom and pop stores. Contact form, map, blog, prices, directions to their business. Look at others in their niche to find out specifics.

      5. Any suggestions on good WordPress themes for this? I like the Responsive theme myself!

      Buy commercial reuse rights to premium themes - or A premium theme.

      Above = license to print money.
      This is how I started my business and it worked very well for me. No need for start up money just hard work and a little bit of know how got me rolling. I market free sites to business pages on Facebook and Google plus that dont have sites. They must sign up for hosting and domain name through my affiliate link to qualify. I give them a very professional but basic layout , home,about us contact us.

      I have in the wording of the contract that the "free site" does not qualify for changes and it come with ads" i put ad from my absence account in the header and the footer or side bar depending on the layout.

      I get a least one free customer a day and the company i work with pays me $105 per signup so it not bad. I use it a entry point most upgrade to more pages, logo design , marketing , SEO , etc. I dont use it as my business just a point to get them in but its nice to make money from them on the front end.

      Also people said something about don't give freebies its a headache, if the wording of your contracts is right there are no worries I make sure i have it plain everything that is expected for the free site which includes when done "no changes" unless its a paid service. This usually advances them to a paying customer when i say blank service isn't free or isn't included.

      I am by no means a pro but just sharing what got me started and what works for me hope it helps.
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      • Profile picture of the author shivermetimbers
        Originally Posted by Realindaville View Post

        This is how I started my business and it worked very well for me. No need for start up money just hard work and a little bit of know how got me rolling. I market free sites to business pages on Facebook and Google plus that dont have sites. They must sign up for hosting and domain name through my affiliate link to qualify. I give them a very professional but basic layout , home,about us contact us.

        I have in the wording of the contract that the "free site" does not qualify for changes and it come with ads" i put ad from my absence account in the header and the footer or side bar depending on the layout.

        I get a least one free customer a day and the company i work with pays me $105 per signup so it not bad. I use it a entry point most upgrade to more pages, logo design , marketing , SEO , etc. I dont use it as my business just a point to get them in but its nice to make money from them on the front end.

        Also people said something about don't give freebies its a headache, if the wording of your contracts is right there are no worries I make sure i have it plain everything that is expected for the free site which includes when done "no changes" unless its a paid service. This usually advances them to a paying customer when i say blank service isn't free or isn't included.

        I am by no means a pro but just sharing what got me started and what works for me hope it helps.
        That sounds like a great idea, especially at 1 customer per day!

        Can you explain further how you advertise or contact these customers regarding the free website offer?
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        • Profile picture of the author Realindaville
          Originally Posted by shivermetimbers View Post

          That sounds like a great idea, especially at 1 customer per day!

          Can you explain further how you advertise or contact these customers regarding the free website offer?
          As I said in the post most come from Facebook and Google plus pages. I look at the business pages and if they ddon't have a site I email and call them. I also have a whitepaper I give them saying the advantages of having your own site and not using just Facebook . I also get a lot of recommendations too and I give them discounts for recommendations.
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  • Profile picture of the author efil4renots
    THANK-YOU EVERYONE!!!
    There were way more answers than i had expected and they are all great ideas!
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  • Profile picture of the author Bdotson111
    Congratulations on the idea. You are a great start on building a web business.

    There are a bunch of ways you could structure your offer to prospects. The "free" site with hosting is viable if you A) sign up enough of them and b) remember to continually market to them in a useful, non-spammy way.

    My firm builds sites and we also help companies find the right web or app designer. When we do the latter, we do not bid on the project. The companies hire us because they do not know what they need, what they should budget, how to communicate with designers & developers, etc... In other words, the value of our expertise is higher than their internal knowledge and they are willing to pay for it.

    Why am I telling you this? Don't undervalue your work.

    One example: A company hired us to build a design and technical specification for a website with some membership features. We built the spec so each company bidding on it knew exactly what was expected. This allows us to judge their proposal on the expected relationship, culture, client references, and budget. The proposals from firms for the exact same deliverable (finished product) ranged from $5,000 to $50,000. To completely simplify the example: I reviewed the exact same apple 5 vendors were willing to sell me and their prices ranges from $5-50k.

    If you want your business to be transactional and go for volume, then your current model will work just fine. Just keep in mind you could be making more $ per hour spent by seeking out companies willing to pay you to help them solve a problem or reach a goal. All other things being equal, I'd rather manage one client paying me $10k than one paying me $1k.

    Good luck! Hope this info helps.
    Signature

    Bill Dotson
    Main Business: WebMedley http://www.webmedley.com

    New project under development: The Tech Coaches http://thetechcoaches.com

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  • Profile picture of the author hbari
    Anybody has an opinion about the DomainResellerDirect reseller program? I find little information on the web despite the indications that they are in business as far back as 2006?
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