Doing Website Re-designs: Keep Existing Content or Write New (and other questions)?

5 replies
Hi all,

I've noticed that several people on here have had success with getting businesses to buy a redesign of their current site, especially if the site they have now is outdated looking and very basic (no contact form, etc.).

However, when you do a remake can/do you keep the existing content (assuming it's adequate) and just create a new site using it or do you remake the whole thing including the content? Would copyright issues come in to play here?

I'm assuming that when you're done, you show them an example on a sample domain and when they like it, you just email them the files and database and tell them to forward it to their web guy. Anyone ever have any issues with the current (original) web designer getting upset or trying to under-bid your price?

Speaking of price, do you charge less if you're doing a redesign or do you charge the same as if they didn't have a site? It seems like the client might have the mind-set that since the original site is "already there" a "redesign" should be cheaper. Perhaps this isn't the case.

Thanks for any answers.
#content #existing #questions #redesigns #website #write
  • Profile picture of the author digichik
    When doing a website re-design, you need to get the log-in information for their hosting. You will find that most clients won't even know how to reach their prior web designer. I give them a 30-day delivery date, which starts when they give me the log-in information, not when we sign the agreement. You will have to stay on them to get the things you need.

    As for the old copy, if it can be used again, I'll use it. If it needs to be re-written, I add that into the price I quote them.

    Any website re-design is a brand new website, and that is how it should be priced. Keep in mind you will have to buy stock images and graphics in many cases, that should be figured into the price quote, as well.

    Do not under price your service, a great website is the cornerstone of any marketing a business will do. It is more important than their yellow page ad, and most businesses are willing to pay, on average $5000 per year to advertise there. They should be willing to pay you well for a tool that is even more valuable. If you present it properly.

    A website will not usually need to be re-done for 2-3 years. In other words, the business will get a whole lot of value from it.

    Learn how to do on-site SEO really well.

    Don't sell web design, sell your services as a profit generating tools.

    Don't under sell your service, web design takes longer than most newbies think and they end up working for $1.00 - $2.00 per hour(if they honestly look at all of the time they spend with each client/project.)

    Don't be afraid to ask for the money you want, it is as easy to ask for $5000, as it is to ask for $500. There is no difference.

    Don't sell yourself short.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron H
    Any re designs I've done in the past I've got the client to write the content for me, always explained to them I can outsource, but they're the experts in their business and really the best ones to write about it.

    Normally it's a case of weighing up the amount of content needed vs cost in time/money and possible reward. Especially say if it's an ecommerce site full of standard manufacturer descriptions.

    Always get as much content as you can if the client is creating it before starting the job and manage them properly and keep them to deadlines or the job can drag on forever.

    I'll usually base pricing around an hourly rate on how fast I think I can do the job, then add 25%. Then after being burned in the early days I'll never start a job without 50% up front, and always host everything on a test domain. Then once the client is happy and the balance is paid I'll do the site move to their server for them.

    Definitely going to second about not being afraid to ask for the money you want, start undervaluing your work and you'll just keep getting cheap clients. Unless there's some other incentive or I can definitely see some long term value I'll walk away from a client if they start messing about on price.
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  • Profile picture of the author amarketing
    Wow, thanks for the great replies, everyone!

    Good to know that's it's cool to keep the existing content. Also, I had thought about having the owner write the content, but then I figured that it would just make the project take a long time (after all, some folks aren't keen on writing anything longer than a paragraph). I thought what I could dowould be to write it up myself and then tell the client that if they want to write up something more detailed and email it to me, I'll post it for free.

    It looks like you guys are talking about uploading the new files yourself. I hadn't thought of that. I figured that since they paid hosting each month, they would naturally be able to contact the company that is billing them. Although, when you think about it, if their site is really old, the company may not even be in business anymore that set it up, so that makes sense.

    Good advice about charging the same as for any other website design. That's what I figured, but just wasn't sure if the clients will try to haggle on the price. It'll probably be a matter of finding the right way to present/position it.

    Thanks for your input.
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  • Profile picture of the author AussieT
    You will have to be prepared to wait a long time if you are going to ask the business owner to write the content. They will write you 2 or 3 sentences if your lucky.

    I have waited 3 weeks so far for a few photos that he could have taken in one day, And when they came the are of very low quality despite me asking for high res images.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron H
    Used to find that with content but then started to break the projects down, setting deadlines and managing clients like an employee.

    To start with you need to gauge their reaction to creating the content, even if they're slightly unsure then you skip it, do it yourself or hire someone else to do it for them.

    Another option which I've heard someone else use is once you know the site structure is to sit there and record the client talking about each page subject, then either write everything up yourself or again send the job out.

    Just realised there's apps like Dragon mobile apps which might be able to transcribe the whole recording, then it could just be a tidy up job (probably say make a voice recording too for backup).
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