|How do you compete with $10 websites?|
I'm starting a web development/web design company, and came across a few huge players such as Yahoo and GoDaddy who are offering $10/month websites.
How can I compete against this? I'm sure it's only a matter of time until a client says: "You charge how much? I can build my own website on Yahoo for $10!"
What have you guys used to say in response to remarks like this?
I know you can say that your website will be more professional than Yahoo until you're blue in the face, but I guess you can't please everyone.
Looking for your thoughts.
You'll get the trade as people eventually trade up from those sites.
Sooner or later, people realise they get what they pay for; if they want good design, they'll look for it.
Annoying though, huh?
i guess at the time of crisis, everyone is thinking of how to earn money... on the other hand, when was it not like that? O-)
10$/month - that's usually the price for the virtual hosting. Are you planning to sell hosting services or is it 'websites' that you'll be selling?
For 10$ you get an address, accessible via the internet, and a tool, presented with the flashy words like 'intuitive GUI', 'fast and responsive application', 'from very small and basic to very sophisticated (enterprise level)', 'free widgets', 'community support'.
But, in the end, it all looks like a big pile of trash, and you're granted the honor of buying yourself a small parcel of land in it ("be the King Worm")...
In most cases, it would probably be something bought and forgotten...
And i really don't think Google views it to be something very much different from this. Contacting each customer individually? Getting to know what they really want? Doing this and that for the customer to realize it isn't actually what he wants?
You pay for:
- convenience/little headache (you don't want to get into the details, you don't want to search for offers, compare them, do the studying, etc)
- fast resolution; get the issue solved right away (somehow is related to the previous)
- quality; you really know what you're buying (something that comes with time), or you don't really know, but you have a certain biased impression, or the seller has successfully created this impression (although, it's odd to have this situation, when there is no actual 'need')
What should be understood quite clearly (i also have big problems with this) is what you're going to sell (the product) and to whom (the customer). And then check on the rivals. Doing it in the reverse order is also useful. It might help with the 'definition of the product'.
Virtual hosting is based on volume. You need:
- a heavy-geared technopark inside a big refrigerator
- people packaged inside water-air-dust-heck-proof suits (sausage-style) doing the mopping and cleaning
- 2-3 dozens of "red-eyes" (50% PC/50% man) hitting the keyboard at cosmic speeds, while administering the park
- 2-3 dozens of sexy-voiced women, responding to phonecalls hitting like a hailstorm
- 2-3 dozens of "people" doing the selling, promoting and other stuff
Pay the renting bill, pay the electricity bill, pay the traffic bill, pay the payroll ... it just keeps going and going O-).
You sure you want to get involved, not late, can compete?
Virtual hosting is based on volume. Tens of thousands of customers... something only a very brave, self-confident, greasy with the government, rich person would dare to take up...
'Websites' - that's a different story...
You have three responses to the customer who expects you to give them a personal service for the price of an automated one
Customer; You charge how much? I can build my own website on Yahoo for $10!
Response 1: Yes sir, that website will get you a choice of a few templates, which will be the same as everyone else using the service is using you will get no customer or technical support, and you will have a limited functionality which may not do everything you want. What I intend to do is create you a bespoke website using not only the most up to date technology and techniques but designed around your needs.
Response 2. Yes you can, Good luck with your new business sir.
Response 3. Really $10 on Yahoo, Google will give you a website for free!
Which you choose depends on whether you think the customer genuinely doesn't understand the difference, or if you think they just want something for nothing.
I am so fed up with enquires in which you spend ages gleaning exactly what they want and you end up understanding that they want a site like amazon or ebay and have a budget of £100 to build it.
Simon I used to love the "I want to be #1 for mortgages, and I want to spend £99 please"
Now that I'm client side, I have learnt to laugh again :)
If you can't think of any reason why someone should choose your service over Yahoo's $10 site, you should really reconsider running your own firm and servicing paying clients. Any web developer worth his salt should be able to produce a whole list of reasons on the spot.
Something to think about: A case study on a Yahoo site versus a site you made yourself.
|How can I compete against this? |
You don't. You shouldn't even be in the same space as these guys. If you are you won't be in business long. Like Kevin said above, you should have a whole list of services and value that Yahoo couldn't possibly compete with that you can offer. If you do you won't even take phone calls from people wanting $10 web sites any more.
You're absolutely right. My main concern is trying to make sure the customer understands the benefits of going with something professional, with all the bells and whistles.
But in this economy, it's hard to convince people to fork over the dough.
|Response 2. Yes you can, Good luck with your new business sir. |
Followed by: I'll be here to help you when you understand the problem.
I don't even bother explaining any more. More and more it seems like the only reason people want to have a "sit-down" or "face to face" or "do lunch" is to suck my brain like the parasitic zombies they are. They call me pretentious, obnoxious, even rude, but what I really am is short on time. :-)
If you have to spend as much time to rope the client in as you do on the work, it's not worth it.
I would also tend to say, don't try to compete if you are offering exactly the same thing as Yahoo! or other plays. Google and Yahoo! are not lowering their margin - they just tried so hard to lower their cost - there is no manual work involved in the $10 package - it is pure computer work, which is very cheap. If you are offering exactly the same thing, you will be in trouble. That is the basic knowledge of economics: those who offering better package with lower cost win.
amazon or ebay and have a budget of £100 to build it - Oh wait and im not going to pay you until Ican see the site there.....
This seems like a good case for having a few pages up on your website explaining as clearly as possible exactly what your benefits are over going with the cheaper solutions. Have one version written for the technophobic, and another for people who are slightly more savvy. Then when people ask these questions, you can just send them an email with your canned response, or quote it if your conversation is over the phone. It might pay to get this professionally copywritten.
This should save you some time, and it could also get you business. For every potential client who tells you they could get it done on Yahoo! for $10, there's plenty more who just won't bother to have that conversation.
On your site you should have the reasons you are better, plus a link to the Yahoo and Google offers. Why waste your time talking to people with no budget? Send them away as fast as possible - besides, you would then have outbound links to two high pagerank sites!
|besides, you would then have outbound links to two high pagerank sites! |
Why is this important? If you are looking for SEO punch for your site you want these to be inbound links. Linking to them doesn't really do anything for you except send the person directly to those pages, which is what you said you wanted to do, but you mentioned the quote above and I wasn't sure why it mattered.
A "website" is a major facet of an overall marketing and business communications strategy and must be seamlessly integrated as such. Consistency of branding and marketing messages across print and web must be a primary objective of any internet marketing strategy. You as the "web designer" must understand the psychology and get behind the thinking of your clients' prospective customers in order to deliver a sound product that generates results.
An automated, $10 "website" solution is not capable of such thinking and research and can only provide a container for graphics and copywriting.
A "web designer" provides:
1. persuasive, sales objective, copy writing
2. powerful impact graphics that sum up the story of a page and drive home the marketing messages
3. mechanical and linguistic search marketing integration
4. measured success and failure of online business objectives through analytics and subsequent refinement
5. excitement and enthusism towards the success of this $5K website.
So do you want to sell a "website"?.. Or do you want to sell an interactive marketing and communications platform that will yeild actual results; generate actual sales; drive up your clients' bottom line...
Define who you are as a company... gone is the day of the "webmaster".
Brett Tabke's 26 steps, item G
|So do you want to sell a "website"?.. Or do you want to sell an interactive marketing and communications platform that will yeild actual results; generate actual sales; drive up your clients' bottom line... |
Well said, this is the exact case I make to potential clients that try to match my services up against a template or $10 web site. I also use the following analogy...
I ask client, "Do you use yellow pages advertising?"
If yes, then "Then you are aware that you pay a monthly fee for this ad?"
If yes, again then "What if I told you I would give you a 3 page full color yellow page ad for $10, but it has a couple of small catches? One, I will put the exact same ad in front or behind yours with your competitor's info in it and by the way most people don't really use this yellow page book either, but hey, don't worry because you can't go wrong for $10 bucks, right?"
That usually drives the point home pretty well :)
I dont know about this, I'd compete with providers in the same space tagetting the same companies by offering something slighly better and more expensive, but as far as $10 websites go, if you choose to compete then its going to have to be by doing $9.95 websites...and a lot of them :)
I generally answer such questions with "Do you want a website, or do you want a website drawn on a cocktail napkin?"
The competition is from the "designers" who know sweet F.A. about html and whose offering involves "building" sites with the Wizard provided with one of these $10 offerings.
i think you should give your "potential customer" 10 minutes and show them how to sign up and use G Sites.
tell them to come back in a week if they have any questions.
they will either need you badly or if they think they don't need you, just say "nice site!" and you will have saved time on the brain suck.
|I am so fed up with enquires in which you spend ages gleaning exactly what they want and you end up understanding that they want a site like amazon or ebay and have a budget of £100 to build it. |
Which brings up a more important issue really... business development. If I had to go back in time and start again, I think the #1 lesson I'd like to bring back with me is that you need to be very quick and accurate with weeding out the time wasters. I still get caught out from time to time, but I'm getting better at it - very important point, but perhaps for another thread!