Skip to main content

Book review: How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Web Site Design Business

How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Web Site Design Business: With Companion CD - ROMHow to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Web Site Design Business: With Companion CD - ROM by Charlotte Evans

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A decent primer on starting and running a profitable web design business. It contains very little about the technology and tools of web design, because its purpose is to teach someone who already knows web design the business skills they need to profit. Although the text is mostly dry and not entertaining, it does present good business principles, and each chapter ends with a helpful summary of key points and action items.

The main idea is that a web design skills aren't enough; you need marketing and customer service skills to create the web presence that clients need. The book includes tips for client presentations, client interviews, and being personable. A client's website is an extension of their business, so to properly design their site, you need to understand their business, and market it through their site.

The book advises that that your business be a one-stop shop for your clients, providing everything they need for their web presence: website, blog, graphic design, SEO, e-commerce, etc. If you don't offer those services yourself, partner with those who do. By offering the complete package, you provide better customer service, and create multiple revenue streams for your business.

My favorite chapter was 17, which contains 51 pages of case studies of real-world successful web design firms, sized from a single employee to dozens. There's also a CD full of business plans, worksheets, and checklists for design services, marketing, and advertising.

Disclaimer: this is the first web design business book I've read, so I don't have anything to compare it to. Despite its 2009 publish date, the book seemed dated. Maybe it just seemed that way because the advice was mostly generic and not technology-specific. There were parts that seemed to be recycled from older web design business books, or even non-tech business books.

Notes

Design
• Visit the sites of your client's competitors to get ideas for the client's site.
• Design client sites based on their logo, image, and brochures.
• Design client sites to improve the client's business and meet their goals.

Contracts
• Include ownership of your intellectual property in your contracts.
• Separate the initial design from ongoing maintenance (contract).
• Include the right to place your logo and name on the client's site, and use their site in your portfolio.

Client relations
• Maintain strong relationships with current clients and prospects.
• Become well known in the community by participating in chambers of commerce and nonprofits.
• Empower users to maintain their sites.
• Make every client think you work only for them.
• Be available and over-communicate your progress.

Pricing
• Use 3rd party payment processors like PayPal and Google Checkout until you have enough sales to justify having a merchant account.
• Clients prefer a fixed project fee. Charge hourly for maintenance and invoice monthly.
• Offer packages of common services.
• Avoid bottom-feeders (cheap clients).

Marketing
• Include calls to action in your ads.
• Create a flagship portfolio project to showcase to potential clients. Create it at a discount or pro bono if necessary (for a nonprofit or networking group).

Business administration
• Create strategic partnerships with businesses that serve the same clients, but are not competitors, such as graphic design, advertising, marketing.
• Outsource to keep overhead low.
• Spend time and money on good training rather than trying to teach yourself.
• Become a one-stop shop by partnering with writers, photographers, PR pros, graphic designers, SEO experts, etc. Mark up these outsourced services.
• Act like a big, professional company in appearance and behavior.

Rule of Thirds
1/3 overhead: salaries, expenses
1/3 direct production: billable labor (design, development, marketing)
1/3 profit

PPC (pay per click)
target read-to-buy customers
advertise and link to one specific product or service
position #1 is usually not worth the price
use geographic targeting

Pricing rate recommendations
graphic design: $80/hr
site design: $40/hr
basic site: $400-2000
SEO: $250-500
blogs: $300-1200
PPC: $300+

View all my reviews >>

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The difference between burritos, chimichangas, and enchiladas

I love Mexican food, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I always get confused between burritos, wet burritos, chimichangas, and enchiladas. Here are the descriptions, with the differences in bold and pictures following each description.

burrito
A flour tortilla wrapped around a filling (meat, beans, vegetables, etc)


wet burrito
A burrito that's covered in red chili sauce and cheese. Because of the sauce covering, it looks like an enchilada, but it's made with a flour tortilla, whereas the enchilada is made with a corn tortilla.


chimichanga
A burrito that's deep-fried. Sometimes covered with cheese or another topping.


enchilada
A corn tortilla wrapped around a filling, covered with chili pepper sauce


Sources
Wikipedia: BurritoWikipedia: ChimichangaWikipedia: Enchilada

Edit scanned documents with Word 2007

Office 2007 includes support for converting scanned documents to editable text using OCR (optical character recognition). To get your text from a paper document to Word 2007:
In the Control Panel, open Add or Remove Programs.Find Microsoft Office, click it, and click Change.In the Office Installation Options window, expand Office Tools, click Microsoft Office Document Imaging, and select Run from My Computer from the dropdown.Click Continue or Next until you reach the end.You can now scan documents and convert the scanned images to editable text:
From the Start Menu, find Microsoft Office, then select Microsoft Office Tools, then click Microsoft Office Document Scanning.Choose your preset and options, then click Scan.The scanned image should open in Microsoft Office Document Imaging. To perform OCR and open the editable text in Word, click Tools, Send Text to Word.You can now edit and save the scanned document as a Word document.

Considering retiring this blog

I'm seriously considering retiring this blog. When I started it in 2008, it was a place for me to share thoughts and links on a variety of topics. For at least the last year, however, it's just been a place where I re-post book reviews from Goodreads.

You can see all my book reviews on my Goodreads profile, and subscribe to my Goodreads RSS feed to be notified of new reviews. I also intend to keep blogging about WordPress, web design, and web-related topics on my OptimWise blog, which also has an RSS feed.

Would you miss this blog if I discontinued it? Please leave a comment.