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Is the '$300 a site' price point working for you
Is there money in cookie-cutter site?
cyril kearney




msg:3836610
 5:03 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Let me explain. I mean a 5-page site with one of those pages able to email a response form. The site owner provides up to 3 images per page and the site owner writes the copy. No database involved.

The price point of $300 is arbitrary but reflects prices in the New York City area.

Locally that's being marketed by several large services. (Only one is offshore.)

I can build a site like this in a single day. Additional money can come from logo creation, graphic creations, writing copy and if a database needs to be involved.

I have found that marketing my services to very small clients is difficult.

Is anyone successful with this kind of business? Any suggestions?

 

LifeinAsia




msg:3836623
 5:14 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

It seems like they would losing a lot of business to the $10 web sites [webmasterworld.com].

cyril kearney




msg:3836627
 5:22 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

LifeinAsia,
As I read the $10-site, it meant $10 a month by an ISP who charges his fee forever and that site owner probably customizing standard templates.

The $300-a-site is aimed at the person that wants a site and does not want to do this.

My experience is that their is little overlap of the actual customers

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3836670
 5:59 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

This post is a coincidence. I just put a similar offer on my website today. My offer is for four pages with a contact form. All information must be submitted on line and no consultancy is included. I am also including the domain name registration and first year hosting for the websites.

I am hoping to attract people who don't know where to start with website procurement and making it easy for them to submit their website requirements and page contents through a simple, online form.

henry0




msg:3836843
 9:33 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Been there, done that.
Same price range
and even 100% automatic to cut on cost and time
(buy it, run it)
Same 1 year free hosting
Believe me there is no money in there, there is always
a round corner to be squared, an image too small/big/ugly, not to mention we need more/less col,
could you add this or that etc...

So glad I do not deal with clients any longer (in any price range) and just working on my own projects!

it could work if you are big, and have enough resources to strongly market your product.
The "built it they'll come" is doomed to fail!

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3836882
 10:24 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Perhaps you are right. My offer has been up there now for the best part of a day and I have not had a single enquiry. ;)

cyril kearney




msg:3836894
 10:43 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

BeeDeeDubbleU and henry0 I am responding to both of your post.

BeeDeeDubbleU I was interested that you were paying for a full year of web hosting and the domain cost. I figure that as about $60 which reduces you money to $240.

I think your idea to have the people submit their copy over the Internet is workable and will reduce cost. I expect that you will have them read it and change it if needed once as part of the $300.

How much hand coding are you doing or are you using some sort of a generator? Since you are relying on the Internet what are you expecting as your cost of sale?

henry0
"there is always a round corner to be squared, an image too small/big/ugly, not to mention we need more/less col, could you add this or that etc... "

I see this as a real problem but one that can be managed. I would quote a price for graphics work and writing copy up front along with a second round of changes price and I have enough experience that I think I could make it stick.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3836912
 11:04 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have developed a standard template to be used on this offer. I offer a demo website showing the structure and layout (all to standard). I also explain that no consultancy is included apart from one brief telephone call.

I also tell people that they must accept our design and than no conceptualising is included. As you say they will be allowed to give it a once over.

walrus




msg:3836922
 11:46 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

I also tell people that they must accept our design and than no conceptualising is included. As you say they will be allowed to give it a once over.

I've noticed 2 large Canadian hosts started offering a monthly charge for hosting and webdesign recently. If you can get enough of these customers, and can keep the CS to a minimum it could be quite lucrative. Like you said, no variations in layout, just straight templates.

dbdev




msg:3837381
 2:27 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've often thought of this business model (and tried it using a $600 price point) however I'd love to know how you can profit off the "straight template / no changes / no consulting" route.

The template costs, on average, $65 from any of those template sites. That leaves you with $235 to customize the template (clients copy and clients graphics and basic branding integration).

At $60/hour, the remaining budget of $235 (less than 4 hours) is used up real quick just finding the right template to use and putting together a quotation.

Now add correspondence, IT setup (DNS, IIS, etc..), customization of the template with the clients copy/graphics, a review (hopefully with no changes required), hosting, etc...

Just how does this make any sense?

It doesn't albeit the OP can "do this in one day".

I think some of you selling $300 templated websites are targeting the wrong market (and yes I understand the OP).

How is it that I (and many others) sell single page landing pages for $3K? I regularly sell "websites" for $5K - $7K. I know this is peanuts compared to agencies who sell websites for $35K. Imagine a selling a CMS for $168K. This is a fact and I sit in these meetings watching these purchase order get signed.

A $300 website is no different than a $10 website from G.

After losing my shirt on the "all inclusive $600 gold package", I personally chose to target a different market whereby this same effort could be accomplished at 20 times the price.

But then again, there is a plethora of prospective clients looking for cheap solutions which clearly there is great supply to meet this demand.

We all get the same 168 hours in a week... in this business you can literally choose your target market.

/rant

Rosalind




msg:3837400
 2:49 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

In my local area there's a web development company offering a very similar cookie-cutter solution, plus design, for around £1500. So I suppose the profit is in up-selling the more expensive services and packaging it all together.

dbdev




msg:3837414
 3:02 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Not to get off-topic, it's just that I see companies paying $2500 for "adding a hyperlink to the nagivation menu". $1800 to move a graphic from the bottom of a page to the left side of a page.

Yes these are agencies. And yes people actually pay this.

A good friend of mine is a higher-up (suit) who does marketing for these clients. He feeds me this stuff and sends me the purchase orders, presentations and quotations all day long.

Can you charge your client $2500 to add a hyperlink?

Why not?

Address that question... Start with precieved value in pricing and then look at who your targeting... perhaps it's time to change.

These guys are no better than you.. we can all add a hyperlink to a page so clearly ability is not in question. I would typically do that as a free-bee!

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3837449
 3:37 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

The template costs, on average, $65

Not if you use and reuse your own.

[edited by: BeeDeeDubbleU at 3:37 pm (utc) on Jan. 29, 2009]

cyril kearney




msg:3837464
 4:06 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think these are good points.

Let me explain. In my case, I don't see these as the main focus of my business. I, like others, am really after sites in to $5000 and up category. But no one is buying right now. Most potential clients are scared by the resession. They are making do. I will keep marketing to them.

So I am looking for a different avenue. I don't see my thrust as marketing on the Internet but locally, generally through word of mouth, referrals and local advertising.

Like BeeDeeDubbleU I would be relying on templates I have already developed but the idea of buying a template is a good one and I might do that to make a sale.

The $300-a-site breaks even only if I spend half a day on it, but I expect to spend a day. It's a half-a-loaf situation.

My thrust is to upsell my services. Try to convince the site-owner that he really needs more: SEO, an eCommerce site, a mailing list, a newsletter or more complex application.

Up to now I've been throwing these 'little fish' back but now I'm exploring them as a filler until business bounces back.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3837483
 4:34 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think I could have a site like this up and running with some individual design elements basic SEO included within a day. I am only a home based freelancer so if I could earn £299 a day I would be very happy. ;)

simonuk




msg:3837485
 4:34 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree with you Cyril,

For a very long time I have shunned the budget sites as I remember just what a pain they were (why is it a 5k website can be built quickly and efficiently but a £100 site seems to take weeks because of the flaffing around?).

I am sort of toying with the idea of going back to basics but with the lessons well and truly learnt from years gone past.

I think before I do I need to spend time writing out the answers to the inevitable questions like "can you move this here and that there and put that in there and this over there". I need to write out some polite "No because..."

I really don't ever want to be back in the situation where that £100 site takes weeks to complete. I need airtight and concise guidelines for all budget jobs.

cyril kearney




msg:3837513
 5:01 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

simonuk,
For me at least, the steps in developing a web page are clear and easier than they were when I started. Then I developed using tables. Now I use table-less CSS with no styles embedded in the HTML. I have a lot of experience now with JavaScript driven menus and JavaScript libraries like jQuery.

On most $5000 website, my effort goes into the application development and not in the presentation.

You point up an important thing. With the $300-a-site, I would have to be disciplined and work fast. (I mean have a good enough is good-enough mindset.)

I have learned how and when to say 'no' to a client but CSS has gone a long way to letting me be able to say 'yes'.

I can also easily display carousels. These let you navigate images and/or HTML in a carousel-style widget. These are an extra-cost item are fairly easy to sell.

henry0




msg:3837515
 5:02 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am only a home based freelancer so if I could earn £299 a day I would be very happy. ;)

In the absolute you are correct, but please, focus on that market:

Firstly) you are jumping on a the band wagon of a train that started way back when
Secondly) this a very well taped market
Thirdly) because most if not all of the big guys offer a few pages for a few dollars
almost every small biz, pap and mom brick and mortar retails shop do have their own www

Off topic: A still quite good market is to go after those that have a website since ever, never modified, way down in Google “forgotten basement”.
Pitch sale improvement, added exposure.....
It’s quite easy to make shining the benefits as part of your “dog and pony show”

dbdev




msg:3837518
 5:07 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

henry0 - good point. I am getting a lot of "year 2000-2002 website" redesign projects these days.

cyril kearney




msg:3837543
 5:24 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

brilliant idea henry0

HugeNerd




msg:3837573
 6:02 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ok, so please go easy on me here as I am worthless when it comes to programming but feel I have a pretty keen business sense...

To build off of henry0's suggestion, why not examine the whois data and find build dates for these template sites. Contact any site which has been up for 6-9 months, where they've had enough time to utilize their template, see its effects on business, and find out whether or not they are deriving any value from their $300 investment.

The customers will weed themselves out. Anyone who is happy with their current site is either dull or has low expectations/needs. Either way, you can forget them and move on. Any person who hesitates or complains about their current site is a sale waiting to happen....

Those with complaints will tell you exactly where your oportunities lie. They'll be primed for a "value-added" sales approach -- they clearly know what they got for their first $300 and that it isn't enough. That's where you swoop in and tell them that for $5,000 they don't get a website, they get you, a real live person who answers phones and emails, does consults, customization, SEO, true design work...all of the things their template site lacks.

In short, why fight the cookie-cutters when they're doing you a favor and segmenting the market?

cyril kearney




msg:3837726
 8:31 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

HugeNerd,
I am not so much looking to fight cookie-cutter sites as I am exploring the possiblity of implementing these low margin sites. The $300-a-site would be used to take up the slack during a economic downturn.

I agree that these sites will not have a great marketing potential for the site-owner. They serve meerly as a web presents. A local movie theatre nearby has a site. There objective is to give out there telephone number and travel directions to anyone that looks at there site. The same thing is true of a Nail-care site. They want it so that super-pages and other listing sites will have a url in the listings.

There are also Wedding Picture site where a couple puts up pictures of their wedding meant for their relatives and friends.

You have a great idea about looking at some of these cookie-cutter sites and trying to get them to upgrade to a better performing (marketing) site.

HugeNerd




msg:3837787
 10:10 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am not so much looking to fight cookie-cutter sites as I am exploring the possiblity of implementing these low margin sites.

I just don't see why you'd say "If you can't beat'em, join'em," when there appears to be a clear consensus that these sites are essentially worthless, or at best, complex yellow page listings, and take much more than $300 worth of labor. If you have a superior product and you know it, why forsake it?

It seems like you're feeling the economic downturn. If so, why not cut your rates for your marketing sites? Rather than trying find a way to make money out of a near zero margin site, just make a smaller margin off upscale sites -- disrupt someone else's market rather than trying to play ball with those disrupting your market.

Personally, I doubt anyone is feeding their family off of $300 cookie-cutter sites. Particularly this Google $10 site -- I think they're 'loss-leaders' and someone is taking a bath on the cheap sites in order to upsell.

Another idea (I'm sorry for being long-winded):
Ever gone into a store and seen items which appear to have a "Good, Better, Best" sort of categorization? That's a beautiful marketing ploy which plays off human psychology.
Good Widget: No options, lets say its $65
Better Widget: 5 options, priced at $95
Best Widget: 15 options, price at only $99
The "Good Widget" is there for consumers who know exactly what they want and don't wish to purchase anything additional. The fictional store probably only stocks a couple of the "Better Widget" -- who would buy it? The "Better Widget" exists only to add perceived value to "Best Widget" and ultimately drive people to purchase the "Best Widget" -- why not pay a few extra dollars to get 3 times the number of options?! (I'm sure we've all seen this; I know I fall prey to it, despite my understanding of how I am being manipulated).

I'd try to take the "Good, Better, Best" approach and apply it to web design. Templates are a "Good Widget". You already do "Best Widget" with your marketing sites, you just need to find a "Better Widget" to help peopel determine the true value of a site and drive them to purchase the "Best Widget".

henry0




msg:3837803
 10:28 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am interested in hearing from cyril kearney
how he plans to market his new offer.

cyril kearney




msg:3837810
 10:40 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

HugeNerd,
Your point is well taken.

A $300-a-site yields about half my average daily income. It's fixed cost is $0. There is a market for this low-marketing-value sites.

I am already pursuing my usual clients with heavy discount but the New York City market is essentially frozen. The stock market closed 200 points lower today amid more layoff announcements.

So it's time that I look outside the box. My essential question is the $300-a-site a viable market and is the price-point $250 or $300 or $600.

The $300-a-site seems to be a very stripped down site. Many of the site owners will want more and those services.

You have an interesting idea of having an offering between the $300-a-site and the $5000+ for a site. I’ll have to think about that.

HugeNerd




msg:3837827
 11:02 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

My essential question is the $300-a-site a viable market and is the price-point $250 or $300 or $600.

What's your time worth? If your fixed overhead is $0, you then, are the only variable cost.

I'd say some portfolio building SOP is necessary -- do 2 or 3 templated sites, for free, for some charities (the true kind of charity...one which will be thrilled with any pro bono site). That way, you get a feel for how long it takes, your real costs, what people need vs what they want in the templates, etc. As it's charitable work (and tax deductable...) you should feel free to severe ties if they try to make it overly complicated or step outside the confines of the experiment. Granted, they should be well informed of the situation and why you are doing them this favor. That way, there's no love lost when reality sets in. When all is said and done, I'd have no problem turning to them and asking them if they would have been willing to pay $x for it had you charged.

LifeinAsia




msg:3837833
 11:12 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

As it's charitable work (and tax deductable...)

You can certainly deduct any actual out-of-pocket expenses related to the project (mileage driven to meet with them about the project, etc.). But as it's already been established that there is no overhead, there's no tax deduction. You can NOT deduct the "value" of your time.

OK, let me rephrase that. You CAN do whatever you want (including deciding not to pay any taxes in the first place, if you really want to go that route). However, if you get caught & audited, it won't stand up and you'll be subject to penalties and interest.

[edited by: LifeinAsia at 11:14 pm (utc) on Jan. 29, 2009]

cyril kearney




msg:3837861
 12:01 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have been in the consulting business since 1989 and I do pay my taxes.

I meant by zero cost that I have a bunch of templates already developed as part of my consulting practice. I routinely use these on the $5000+ sites as a starting point.

A $300-a-site has my labor cost only and incedentials such as phone, transportation, stationary, advertising costs etc. would be subtracted for tax purposes. I work from home but do not claim a home office on my taxes.

Charities I have found consume a lot of time so I will probably just do some mockups and replace them with actual site I have developed over time.

It is not a question of worth? I can't get enough work at a fair value so I looking at a possible alternative to fill in the voids on my schedule.

It is still unclear if an actual market exists and can I get sales through craigslist, referrals, personal contacts and advertising.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3838037
 7:28 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I spent about two days setting this offer up on my own website. I have built the demo site there so people can see exactly what they are getting. I have told them the price and listed the terms and conditions. It's all there for them if they want it.

It's a good deal for me and also for them because they will get a business like, professional looking, W3C validated web site that has been optimised and it will work for them.

I don't intend to market it outside of my own website, which gets plenty of traffic. I just see it as another option for my clients. If it works for me then that's fine. If not then all I have lost is my own time. If I get one of these a month I will be very happy.

OTOH if it takes off I could always increase the price... :)

HugeNerd




msg:3838228
 3:07 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Can you A/B split test on your site with multiple prices offerings? That'd be a quick(ish) way to determine your most profitable price point.

What about posting your price as "per page" -- 5 pages for $300, 10 pages for $450, 15 pages for $600...

It is still unclear if an actual market exists

I'd assume the market exists. I could see myspace bands who want something 'more exclusive' shelling out a couple hundred bucks to throw their "About the Band" and "Discography" content on their own URL. Certainly it's more exciting for them to have myband.com than myspace.com/myband.

Also, anyone on yellowpages.com without a full website is a potential customer. They'd get a signficantly more full listing, their own url, and a chance to describe themselves and reach what they have determined their target market as opposed to what the phone company says is their target market.

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