If you’re a professional graphic designer, adding website design to your skillset can be extremely lucrative. In this article, I’m going to share with you my methods for making money from websites. I’ve been in the professional website design business for over 10 years, and during that time I’ve built hundreds of websites – many of which have brought in millions of dollars in revenue. So whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking for ways to take your business to the next level, read on!
Websites have been one of the biggest tools and biggest sales tools that I’ve used in my business to generate the money that I have to get to where I am today. If you’re not selling professional website design, this article is hopefully going to encourage you, and help you do that. What I want to talk to you guys about today is actually selling websites and making a huge profit, and starting to generate recurring revenue as a creative from designing websites.
Why Professional Website Design?
Now, you’re probably wondering why professional website design is so valuable. Well, let me just give you the facts. The facts are pretty amazing. Two hundred and fifty-two thousand websites are built every single day. That’s an insane amount of demand! That website stat you’ve probably never heard before is from a website called Sitefy. It’s a pretty incredible number. When I saw that number, I was like holy moly! Over a quarter-million new websites are built every single day. Here’s another stat for you: over 1.8 billion websites are currently online.
Now, I want to make sure that there’s a caveat here: not all of those are active websites. A website that has gone stagnant and hasn’t been updated or changed is not actively being used, while there are active websites out there, 80% of the 1.8 billion sites are not active. However, the other 200 million or so sites are still active, so there is a huge demand for new websites. This demand is quickly growing, so if you’re not capitalizing on this opportunity, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.
Do I Need a Website?
Websites are not slowing in popularity; they’re only growing in popularity. In terms of a website, the other reason why you should be considering doing websites or selling websites as part of your business model is that websites are very good for information. They’re very good for generating revenue, and they’re very good for educating your potential clients. So if you’re not utilizing it for this reason and you’re not offering this as a service, you’re really only discounting and shortchanging your clients on the potential that they have in their business. A lot of companies are still out there that don’t have websites or they have old, outdated websites that need to be redone.
If you already have a relationship with them and they’re already working with you, why would they want to go somewhere else and work with somebody else? They would probably get taken advantage of if you weren’t the one taking advantage of the situation and getting a small piece of the pie. Send that work to me or to somebody else, or hire somebody in-house to do it for you. If you’re going to go out and sell websites, you need to have a basic understanding of what you’re selling. Now, as part of what I do, I educate my clients on websites and can go really deep on this.
The Basics of Professional Website Design
So, let’s get to the next part, which is the basics. So you need to understand the basics if you’re going to sell websites. Websites are just a huge goldmine for you as a creative, and there are some things that you need to understand. So let’s get to those. There are four things that I wanted to talk to you guys about.
What Is a CMS?
The first thing you need to understand is that a website is usually built on what’s called a CMS, which stands for “content management system”. This is where you’re managing all of the content on your website. You can install apps and plugins and other things that can help you do live chat and recurring billing and affiliate sales and checkouts and all the different things that you want to do. Abandoned carts are a common issue, so you really need to understand what platform you’re going to use before you sell it. For myself, we build 90 or 95% of the websites that we have on WordPress.
What You See Is What You Get
WordPress, which I’ve mentioned before, is an open-source platform that has all kinds of developers and programmers building website themes, plugins, and apps. This gives you massive flexibility and scalability. WordPress is probably the king of all websites; in fact, just to put some numbers to it, there are 455 million WordPress websites. That’s more than any other platform. you can do other website platforms like Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix. There’s a lot of advertising for Wix and Weebly out there, but some of these other websites platforms are great – they’re simple and easy to use if you’re not experienced with web development or web design and you want to build a website yourself but you have some really good creative abilities and you want to learn it, this is where I would start – with get yourself get your feet wet and start with a “WYSIWYG” builder. That’s what these are called.
So there’s a difference between WordPress, which you can download a custom theme, but that you’re going to have to custom code it; there are some that have visual builders, but none of them really have the same type of WYSIWYG. The keyword or term used in the industry is “drag and drop builders.” Drag and drop builders are really easy to use: Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace all use those. So this might be something you want to consider if you want just a simple mom and pop type website that’s not going to be very big or going to scale. You just need something basic and you want to get it up quick? Go with the WYSIWYG Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix. One of those will work fine. But if you really want to take it up to the next level? You want to scale? You want to expand? You want to do a lot more? You definitely want to consider WordPress.
Static Website Design
Now, the next kind of website that you can build and you’re going to need a developer and a coder to do this is a static website. Now, that’s going to require some HTML, probably maybe some PHP but probably for sure some CSS. HTML and CSS are going to be needed for that, and you’re going to have to custom code it and make sure that you find somebody that can do it right. These can load very quickly because there’s no content management system on the back end. It’s just static HTML and css that are pulling from the server. So this is something that I want you to take into consideration being able to know what type of website your client needs is really really important, and even what you need.
If you’re just looking for a basic portfolio site, just go with a simple WYSIWYG. If you want to be able to expand upon that and grow, hit up WordPress; those are the two that I would strongly recommend. Also, do me a favor if you find this content helpful. This is the kind of content that you like, so you can pay me back for all the time and money I put into this article by sharing it with someone who could learn from it. I want to keep making content that you need, so without hearing back from you, I’m in the dark. I have a little bit of analytics but it really doesn’t tell me a lot, so I need to hear from you guys.
Pricing and Selling Professional Website Design
Next, we will discuss pricing and selling websites. This is a key element you must understand. A website is much more than just a WYSIWYG or WordPress site. There are many things that go into it to make it successful. They need to be fast, SEO-friendly, and provide a good user experience. The customer needs to be taken on a journey and the website needs to be easy to contact. It can’t be cluttered. There are so many things that go into a website, and this is why I want you to get experience. I’m writing this article to help you understand that building a website is not just like throwing somebody $500. There’s a lot of time that goes into a website, including security that needs to be done right. So if you’re going to sell it, you want to sell it for the right price.
Price vs Market Value
Now, the first pricing lesson I want you to learn is that you need to sell the value of your website as opposed to the price. Again: market value versus price. What are other people paying for quality websites? Do some shopping, call some competitors, call some people around town and ask for quotes. Get some prices and see where people are coming in at. Don’t go to Craigslist, don’t go to Fiverr, don’t go to those cheap websites. Get some realistic market value-type websites because that’s the type of business that you’re trying to build. You want to make sure you get some market value prices of where you should be inside your price ranges because websites can range anywhere from the low side of a thousand dollars (which is the cheapest I’ve ever built one for) to as high as $50,000 or even more, into six and seven figures.
So, you really have to know that, like, when people come to you and say “How much for a website?” it’s an impossible question to answer without getting a ton more information. That’s like asking “How much for a car?” well, is it a Tesla or is it a freaking Kia? And that’s a really good way to determine whether you want the type of website they’re looking for. Are you looking for a Kia or are you looking for a Tesla or a Mercedes or a Rolls Royce? Like what kind of website are you looking for in comparison to a car? This is a really good way to determine that. You never want to sell the website just on price. You want to understand the market value of what they’re looking for and the type of client you’re working with.
Fixed Bids vs Hourly Rates for Professional Website Design
The second pricing lesson that you need to learn when selling a website is fixed bid versus hourly. You never want to sell hourly, as you are having competitors that are going up against you that are working for much less money per hour. And if you get into that price point and price battle, you’re going to lose and you’re not going to end up making the money that you want. So you need to have a fixed bid. If your actual hard cost for a web developer to come in is a thousand dollars, you may need to make two thousand dollars on this, so you want to mark it up and sell it for three thousand dollars. Maybe you want to include some additional features or maybe you think it’s going to take a little bit longer, so you sell it for $3,500 and you throw in an extra $500 for unforeseen things that come up – that’s just part of the business, that’s part of marketing, that’s part of web design, and that’s just part of planning against scope creep.
Avoiding Scope Creep in Professional Website Design Projects
This is something I wanted to talk about because this is the last point that I wanted to make when it comes to selling websites. You need to get a very clear definition of your scope of work: how many pages, how long are those pages, how much content is on each page, what’s the security like, are you doing SEO on those pages, are you going to be doing ongoing marketing on them, does it have e-commerce? How many images will be on each page? Who is supplying the content? Are you supplying the content, or are they supplying the content? Are you supplying the images or are they supplying the images? There’s so much – what about videos? Are there going to be videos on the website? Are there going to be other plugins?
There are so many variables. You need to get a very clear, clearly defined scope of everything that that customer needs on the website – so that nothing is left out. And then, when they go, “Oh, by the way, I needed this.” You can reply, “Well, that wasn’t just automatically included in the price. That wasn’t defined in our scope, and we will need to renegotiate.” So this is something you need to communicate. You need to be very clear about it, and I really want to encourage you not to let yourself experience scope creep. Be very clear about the documentation you put together when you send a proposal, of everything it includes and what it doesn’t include. It is also important to list what you’re not including in the scope of work, so make sure you put together a clear scope of work along with your proposal and agreement. Then you’ll be good to go!
So that’s in a nutshell what I have for you guys today. I’ll write more articles on the dynamics of websites in the future, and I’m really grateful that you came to read this today. I hope it was really helpful, and I look forward to hearing from you guys in our community. Make sure you check out the Instagraphics Pro Network on Facebook, and I’ll see you guys on the next one. My name is Adrian Boysel, and as always, keep looking up.