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What's selling now?


Undead Hunter

3:56 pm on Mar 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've been out of the website design business now since 2004. Started too early in 1997, had a heck of a time selling services over the years. Easier near the end.

It seems to me the design world has changed incredibly since that time. Free software for everything you could base a new site off - Joomla, Wordpress, Mambo, etc. The rise of blogs in general. Google Maps. Not to mention all the outsourcing to distant lands at a fraction of the price before.

I'm wondering what's selling out there today. Are people having any luck selling to small to medium sized businesses? Is it still "brochure-ware" for these people? Who's buying, and what are they buying?

What are they paying now for a website?

I know a number of big and small companies were going after small business websites, noting that a majority of small businesses simply didn't have any online presence at all. Price point was always an issue - but then again, so was simply getting people to act on their sites. Get the content ready, etc. I remember before we quit, we had a writer hired who would draft up info for the client. Cut into our margins but made the projects actually move faster.

Any insights are appreciated.

Fortune Hunter

7:18 pm on Mar 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Free software for everything you could base a new site off - Joomla, Wordpress, Mambo, etc

This is true, but there are still a ton of small to medium sized companies out there that have never heard of these and still hire developers to do work or even if they have heard of them don't have the first clue how to implement them and still hire a developer.

Are people having any luck selling to small to medium sized businesses? Is it still "brochure-ware" for these people?

Personally I am finding a mix out there. I do sell to small businesses and it is mostly "brochure-ware", which I don't see changing in the near future. However the upside is that these jobs are very easy and quick to do and for the moment the price I charge makes me a very nice profit.

On the flip side I have some medium or even medium/large clients that are moving into web based applications where the projects are far more complex and expensive. They are way more time consuming to undertake, but if done well are profitable.

While I know things are being done overseas, my experience has been that the small guys want to meet someone in person and talk to them. To you it might be a small job, but to them it is a chunk of cash and they want to work with a local person they can call and even sit down with in person. They wouldn't even know how to find and set up such a job through an overseas provider.

The larger jobs that are web applications could also be done overseas, but I find these projects are pretty complex, not very well defined at the start, and require lots of face to face meetings to work through the rough patches. I don't see that ever going overseas either.

Now having said all that I just read an article in the Wall Street Journal that said our economy is going down hill really fast and most economists think the worse is still to come and that this recession could be deep and long. If that becomes a reality the market may dry up for a lot of people real quick.

Maybe a good thing to discuss in this thread is how do we as independent businesses or self-employed professionals "recession proof" ourselves in a market like the one that is coming.

Undead Hunter

10:28 pm on Mar 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Fortune: Well # 1, you go after the businesses themselves that are recession proof.

What price range are these brochure-ware sites selling for now? I used to charge from $500 - $1,200 for basically static sites, from 5 - 20 pages in length.

What I mean by the Joomla and all that, I expect web designers now use that as a basis for the design, rather than straight HTML. Then its not a matter of "how many pages", and so on.

For example I did a lawyer site for about $12,000 that was 60+ pages, PHP headers and designed so that the entire site design and menu could be changed in the future. But there was a lot of hand coding and linking involved. I heard they converted the site over to a Mambo platform now so their local people could add new pages.

Of course $12k included a photographer to take pics of each of the lawyers and a writer to form the basis of the content. About 3-4 month process in total. And a bunch of onsite meetings. That was my last big client, and if I did it again I'd have hired out a graphic designer, too. Heck I'd outsource all the coding to India now...


5:04 pm on Mar 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

What are they paying now for a website?

There is a wide range. Judging from some of the posts on here, many people are still happy to work for slave wages. I think it comes down to what type of clients you have, and what their budget is. There is a market for quality and service, I believe, but the key is finding clients who know the difference and are willing to pay for it.


2:01 am on May 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Check out services like cssrockstars or xhtmlized for some ideas on current site build pricing. Keep in mind that these do not include site design - only coding and template creation.

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