I've started a new web design site – which is a bit of a departure for me. I've based the idea around a few things I read in the War Room. The site is called Local Trader Websites and it's aimed a local tradespeople and small businesses – plumbers, electricians, independently run small shops etc. It's brand new, and so far I've only sold one site – a redesign for a local TV aerial installers. They were very happy with it, and thought it was good value for money, so it's a start.
I researched the market, looked at what competitors were charging, and also looked at the type of sites people in my target market (who already have a site) like. From what I can see, they tend to prefer something fairly conservative, and I've put together some example sites accordingly. The graphics and copy were outsourced to fiverr, and I put the WP themes together using Lubith. So far so good.
To reach my target market quickly, I've been trying to put together some JVs with people who publish local free magazines. These are advertisement supported, and the main advertisers are the sort of businesses my service is aimed at. I notice a lot of advertisements have a phone number or e-mail address (often the sort of address supplied by a broadband company) but no URL.
I've contacted about a dozen of these magazines locally and in neighbouring districts. Several have asked me to contact them again later in the month as they're busy putting together their Christmas editions and things are a bit hectic at the moment, a few have told me they already have similar arrangements with other web designers, the remainder have said flat out they're not interested or simply haven't bothered to answer my e-mails or return my calls.
I did, however, have a very interesting (although not particularly pleasant) conversation with one magazine publisher yesterday. She was quite scathing. She said that my site and the example sites looked very “amateurish” and that she wouldn't have the nerve to offer such rubbish to her clients – words to that effect, anyway.
Here is the URL of the main site
Here is the URL with the example sites:
Do they look amateurish to you?
This woman went on to say most local businesses just want a free, template driven site and singled out Free Website Builder - Moonfruit - Total website design control (not an affiliate link) as a good example. Apparently, they have an arrangement with Barclays Bank and if you open one of their all-singing-all-dancing business bank accounts you can get “free” website. She said that as I'd have to be competing with this sort of thing, and that my designs weren't any good, I was on a hiding to nothing.
It has never been my intention to go after that sort of market. I know that freebie seekers aren't going to buy anything no matter how cheap it is. I also know that anything bundled with a bank account isn't free, and you end up paying for it many times over.
However, this conversation has got me wondering, and as I'm too close to this project to be objective, I'd like some feedback from fellow Warriors:
- Am I on a hiding to nothing here? Are the sites amateurish, and not up to the job? If so I'll just stick to making videos
- I state on the website that all the sites are bespoke and designed to meet each businesses individual requirements as opposed to the sort of template driven service offered by Moonfruit (and 1and1 etc.). Am I not making that clear enough?
- Or is she just being a b**** and trying to put me off, with perhaps an ulterior motive in mind?
Honest and objective feedback would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
<Update 18th November>
I've taken everything everybody said on board, and changed the site and example sites accordingly. Once again, many thanks.