Tips to Help When Designing for Others
As a few of you might know, apart from plugging WA, as I go I am making some money designing start up websites for customers. I refer you to my last blog if you want any background.
I have been self employed to a greater or lesser degree for 8 years, working freelance as a writer and as a trainer in self defence etc. Each time I do a slightly different aspect of any business getting it just right for people becomes a bit of a learning curve.
I have found this with this new skill set that WA is giving me.
Here I want to save you a bit of time if you ever get asked to sort out a website for someone else and have not done it before.
People Expect: BESPOKE WEB DESIGN UNLESS YOU TELL THEM THE DIFFERENCE.
We know how WordPress works but your probably customer won't.
I charge small in comparison to bespoke HTML masters. That said I offer more. I learned early on to explain it this way.
'If you wanted your dream house building you get an architect to draw the plans. You can have everything exactly the way you want it. He will do the plans, but it is up to you to put up the walls, put in the electrics and plumbing. That's a web designer, HERE IS YOUR SITE, OFF YOU GO, IF YOU WANT MORE, ITS WILL COST YOU.
My service means you pick from a wide range of house designs, but can't always have exactly what you want. However I not only build it, I put in the electrics, the plumbing, all the fixtures AND I even help move your couch in on the day you get the keys'
BE HELPFUL, REASONABLE, BUT NOT AT YOUR OWN EXPENSE
I also ask how many products and services the customer has to go in this site as one of my first questions. I made the mistake of promising a full package for a fixed price once only to find they had 223 products. I now will do 20 for the start up price and then work for a daily rate after that.
Third and Last Tip for Today: Don't Cheapen What You Do
I find as soon as I talk about anything other than basic 'Pretty stuff' people glaze over. They have a start up business they are passionate about, they really don't care how we do it. Avoid over simplifying what you do because the temptation is to give an air of 'I can do anything and I won't bore the customer.'
For many you are the answer to one of a thousand headaches....it's gold so remember that when talking to them.
Throw in the realities of SEO research, checking blogs are just right for the business to get ranked, how long it takes to fiddle with themes and establish links. Estimate the time it will take THEM to keep the site fresh.
I want to give a fair service, I don't want them to think I can run sites off in a day ( even if that is sometimes the case) what I do want is a customer who will come back to me and keep me on the payroll doing their content into the future.
This is a revenue stream that also allows you to spin profit for yourself using affiliate programs on customers sites. That's for another time maybe.
It can be hard working with people to get things as close to the way they want them, BUT I have found it puts money into my account in nice big chunks. In the end I would like to work with a handful of people as they expand and make money through programs. For now however this will do nicely.
GET UP AND OUT FROM YOUR COMPUTER
My advice is once you can put up a functional and attractive site, once you have got above the basic problems that we all hit from the start: Get out from behind the computer and talk to your local organisations that deal with business. Just do it despite the nerves. Loads of help on WA and you can always shout me.