It’s been said that a website is never done. That’s only one of the reasons web design and related marketing is such a lucrative profession. There is serious money to be made as a web designer, providing necessary tools to business owners of all kinds. Let me go into some of the reasons web design is such a great business and some of the ways to profit this the business.
Your first profit center will usually be the basic sale and creation of a website. Prices should range anywhere from about $500 to $5000 for a basic site, depending on feature and your ability to provide professional results. If you sold and created one website a week, you can see that your income from that alone can be rather comfortable. But selling a website a week — although very possible — is not always as easy as it sounds. But that’s OK because there are many many ways to supplement your income with monthly and yearly billings to your clients as soon as you have a couple websites sold. Monthly and yearly billing should be your ultimate goal because that is what is going to give you a regular income you can rely on, and supplement you in lean times.
Every client will need hosting. If you put their site on their Godaddy hosting account and say thank you, you have just killed a very substantial source of monthly income. Not only that, but you have done your client a disservice. The hosting is not fast enough, and if they get hacked they may lose their site forever and have to pay for a new one.
What you want to do is provide quality hosting services for your clients at a price that is worth it to them and to you as well. Quality hosting services are fast, reliable, safe, secure, regularly backed up, and easy to restore to if a site is ever hacked. Keeping up with security updates for your clients is a part of this service. When you provide this you can charge a fair price for it. I like to bill for this service yearly, and I have never had a customer complain about it. $300 a year for a normal site without a shopping cart works for me and my clients. You can charge more if the site is big, has high traffic or bandwidth needs, or has a shopping cart or something that makes you work on the site on a regular basis. When you have 20 such hosting clients you will be getting paid about $500 a month in monthly recurring income that will last more than a decade in most instances. It won’t make you rich, but it’s better than letting it slip through your fingers.
Everyone knows you can get cheap hosting for about $8 a month on sites like Godaddy and Host Gator. If you put your client’s sites on that kind of hosting and let them pay for it you’re missing out on a big source of income. Instead, you would be much better off to create your own hosting account on the major hosting platform and then resell that by hosting several sites on one account. That Account with a good company such as Rochen will cost you only about $25 per month and you can host probably about 50 sites on that account. Rochen offers hi-speed SSL hosting servers, automated backups done throughout the day, and their security is kept up-to-date constantly. If you present the offer properly you can charge $25 per month or more. I like to church this year early at $300 dollars per year.
I often give the first year a hosting for free to close the website deal. I let the client know that in the future they’ll be paying $300 per year for serviced hosting. This includes constant backups which can be used in case the site is hacked in order to restore the site to a known good version. It also includes hosting on a known secure high-speed web server which is better for the customer experience and the SEO of the site. It also includes security updates for WordPress or Joomla! or whatver platform I choose to build the site on.
Up-sells for Website Clients
There are plenty of profitable services you can charge your website clients for that will give you a good income after the creation of the site.
The biggest one of the upsells you can provide is SEO. A site without SEO is a sad site indeed, with few if any visitors. Monthly SEO will bring your clients traffic and profits. Since they are making money from it, they will be willing to pay out a share of that to providers who perform it for them. The least you will want to charge will be $500 a month for very basic service. For more difficult or national SEO projects you will want to, and need to, charge much more. An SEO budget in the thousands is not uncommon at all. It’s a lot of work, and not all profit for the provider, but there is enough profit in it to make it very much worth your while.
Site Upgrades and Facelifts
As I mentioned, a website is never done. Five years down the line websites will look different and have more functionality. Your clients will want to and need to keep up with these changes. And you will be there to help them with the changes they will need.
New website features come out all the time. If something new comes out and you think it can help your clients business it would be a great time to try to upsell that feature to them.