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I also taught myself about search engine marketing and applied what i learnt to our website with impressive results.
Now, 3 companies want to hire me on a freelance basis to create website for them and offer SEO & SEM services
My thinking was to draw up a contract for the webdesign part and after the sites are finished draw another contract to offer SEM & SEO services to run over a period of say 6 months
My reasoning is that it will take a considerable amount of time to tweak and monitor the sites to bring in good traffic which takes a considerable amount of time thats why I want to have two separate contracts.
I want anyone with experience in offering consultancy work especially in SEO & SEM to please advise me if my method is the best and if not what approach I should use.
SEO tends to have a lot of "hurry up and wait" work, where it is nice to view results before moving further. This constant monitoriing and adjusting requires a different pay structure in order to appease both parties.
You may consider doing the contracts "a la cart" as it adds a comfort level for the customer. Make them feel at ease, and remember they will most likely want to make minor changes to content and design as well after the initial "design phase" is completed. Some type of maintenence contract is a good idea to incorporate both ongoine elements of seo and any other changes that they may need.