Where would you send a customer with little budget looking for their own website?

Where would you send a customer with little budget looking for their own website?

adam

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Sometimes I will have a lead approach me looking for a simple business brochure website but with a budget of perhaps less than £100 that would not cover a custom build. In these scenarios, where would you send them? Preferably to somewhere they could set up a simple web presence on their own.

If they searched in Google or believed advertising they would probably go for something like GoDaddy website builder, Squarespace or Wix. It's been a very long time since I've experienced any of these. The problem with many is that I think they give some users too much freedom that might end up with something truly not fit for purpose.

What would you recommend to this kind of person?

 
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D

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I always recommend squarespace. It seems to have more of the "hip" design templates the clients are looking for in a modern website. It holds the user's hand pretty well through the process.

 

Gummibeer

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Preferably to somewhere they could set up a simple web presence on their own.
That's the problem. You don't know how many contact me with "I use (insert service) and have destroyed it". This is the argument why they choose it but it's also the argument why I move them away from it.^^

The problem with many is that I think they give some users too much freedom that might end up with something truly not fit for purpose.
Exactly this!

 

tom

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I experienced in the past that some of those low budget users don‘t want to spend lots of money initially, but they are willing to spend low amounts of money over an indefinite amount of time. So handing them over a 1, 2, 3 year contract with a monthly fee would benefit more than a huge fee upfront.

Also most of them are very thankful if they don‘t have to touch their website in their own. So paying a monthly fee for someone doing 5 minutes of work a month is totally fine for them.

 
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Gummibeer

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Send him to me 😉😅
To clarify: 100 bucks is nothing and will NEVER result in a good experience.
Yes squarespace has the best votings so far.

But the absolute minimum is ~300-500. It's not just the page. There have to be a domain, DNS, email, SEO, SMO and all this stuff

 

ek1

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First I sit them down and ask them to think about their business goals and marketing. I then ask if SEO, easy scaling, e-commerce, or online conversion is something they think they'll need. I'll also bring up the fact that Wix/Squarespace/etc often 'lock you in' and so if in a year you're unhappy with the service you might have to start from scratch - not only with a new design but also potentially with a new domain and therefore new google indexing!! I also try to work in stuff like "you're the business owner, not a web developer. You wouldn't fix your own car if you didn't know how - you'd call a mechanic" and "do you want to spend your time fighting with a platform you're unfamiliar with or do you want to pay someone to use their skills and expertise to make something bespoke?"

Overall I definitely recommend WISYWIG editors to hobbyists who want to make a little on the side, or people with very simple website needs - for example, a restaurant that is just looking for a place for people to look up their hours online.

BUT. I HAVE BEEN WONDERING. The next time a pal or acquaintance comes to me with $250 and wants a basic 5-page website, I'm going to try and rig something up in Gatsby and see if I can do it in short enough time to make it worth it for me :D

 

Gummibeer

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I experienced in the past that some of those low budget users don‘t want to spend lots of money initially, but they are willing to spend low amounts of money over an indefinite amount of time. So handing them over a 1, 2, 3 year contract with a monthly fee would benefit more than a huge fee upfront.

Also most of them are very thankful if they don‘t have to touch their website in their own. So paying a monthly fee for someone doing 5 minutes of work a month is totally fine for them.

Exactly. Depending on the business of them they are also willing to pay, partial, with their products/services. These cost nothing or very few in real money and you can get a lifetime bakery voucher, new handmade interior or whatever they offer.

 

blaq

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well Godaddy is targeting me with their site builder so thats the best place i would send them

 

adam

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well Godaddy is targeting me with their site builder so thats the best place i would send them

I don't think I could ever recommend any of GoDaddy's products. 😳

 
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VickiLanger

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@tom has a really good point. I could totally imagine being happy with those terms.

For domains, GoDaddy is a very frustrating site. Alllllll the upselling is obnoxious. I found google domains to be awesome. It’s simple, easy, has great documentation, and no upselling. Super easy for a beginner

 
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Gummibeer

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For domains, GoDaddy is a very frustrating site. Alllllll the upselling is obnoxious. I found google domains to be awesome. It’s simple, easy, has great documentation, and no upselling. Super easy for a beginner

Upselling via email? Gmail incoming rule^^
Upselling on-site? Simply ignore it 😅
It's no bad practice or annoying upselling, only some checkboxes.

The most important thing for me is how easy I can change the nameservers to cloudflare. After this I only touch the domain in cloudflare.

 

Gummibeer

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As a summary:
Try to find a way to keep them with a professional - subscription, not-money payment, increase their budget.

What I do in all these scenarios are limitations - which all of them are fine.

  • No deadline - I tell them how long it could take and communicate if it takes longer, but no contract deadline
  • Only static pages, a single form and a single backend service Integration
  • No webUI - I manage the content and server
  • Nearly no revision cycles and creative work - we scroll through themeforest for ideas but I don't buy/use one

Now the benefit:
They get my whole experience, motivation, skills and consulting. Including all the things that relate to a website and that they don't need a blog, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube if they can't effort the time needed. Also the technical help to setup email, Google search console or whatever they need with DNS verification.

All in all this costs me around 20-30h per site. It gets faster with every site. And I can fill my portfolio and they are happy that they get a professional website. Also here follow ups are a business. 😉

 

blaq

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I don't think I could ever recommend any of GoDaddy's products. 😳

yeah! they are scam bugs.. i have 10 domains with them and every year each domain goes up with 5$ right now im moving all my domain to Google. but to keep the topic my best recommendation is ... getting a free theme on Hugo and hosting it on GitHub or netlify ..

 

VickiLanger

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Upselling via email? Gmail incoming rule^^
Upselling on-site? Simply ignore it 😅
It's no bad practice or annoying upselling, only some checkboxes.

The most important thing for me is how easy I can change the nameservers to cloudflare. After this I only touch the domain in cloudflare.


I agree that it is just some checkboxes to ignore. However, in the case of people who aren't so computer literate, it can cause confusion. They have no clue if they need the things they're being asked about or if it's just junk.

 

Gummibeer

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I agree that it is just some checkboxes to ignore. However, in the case of people who aren't so computer literate, it can cause confusion. They have no clue if they need the things they're being asked about or if it's just junk.
They shouldn't buy a domain because they aren't able to switch NS, update DNS, setup a VPS or anything else that's required to use a domain without managed webhosting. 😉

 

Dominic

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I experienced in the past that some of those low budget users don‘t want to spend lots of money initially, but they are willing to spend low amounts of money over an indefinite amount of time. So handing them over a 1, 2, 3 year contract with a monthly fee would benefit more than a huge fee upfront.

Also most of them are very thankful if they don‘t have to touch their website in their own. So paying a monthly fee for someone doing 5 minutes of work a month is totally fine for them.


That's very interesting. I never thought of that. Do you have experience with such contracts? If yes, how did you build the sites for them?

 

tom

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Yes, it's basically like a webhosting contract with infinite runtime that can be canceled monthly. Your ROI will be later, but overall you'll get clients that will share their experience with you and push word of mouth about you forward.
But to do this, you'll have to create a basic setup for yourself with cheap hosting, cheap but good looking multi purpose themes for wordpress or likewise static site generators. Basically cutting costs for infrastructure and setup down to 0 for yourself (webhosting reseller accounts on Plesk or cPanel or Directadmin are great for this as you can get them for 10-20$/month or even less).

With Plesk Onyx or Obsidian, you also have full wordpress integration which makes managing those sites even easier.
Just bootstrap everything down to 0 or a little bit above 0. Split initial payments up to yearly costs. Divide yearly costs by client amount and multiply it with 3 (you can also multiply it with lower or higher numbers, but I've always multiplied it by 3 to get the basic monthly costs - 3 because my expectations are 1/3 of the real stuff).

For the contracts, work with prepaid payments and possibly let a lawyer set them up. There are also cheap online services where you can pay a little monthly fee so you can use their contracts including a few customizations that they'll do just for you.
Pay attention to details, eg. make the contracts human readable. The easier to read, the better to discuss with your client.
Few small statements that you can read to a kid and the kid will understand it. If the kid understands it, your clients will understand it too.

Another big topic is: Make your clients love you and love your work. No matter if you are using the same wordpress theme for 100 clients or just for 1, make every client feel special with their own website.
Try to act with your clients like you'd do it with your grandma. Take care of them and they'll be careful with you in return.

Create a few packages (around 3) from which your clients can choose. Include the amount of work that can be done per month in those packages. Start with little work (1-2 hours per month) and work your way up to 10 hours/month with prices around 200-400€ monthly. Try to calculate with 2-5 clients to cover your basic monthly expenses (if you're self employed or freelancing or just doing work beside your daily job).
Include a statement into your contracts that the client can't collect hours if they are not used during the month. For higher packages you can add a statement that the client can move 1-2 hours per month to the next month, but not to the following months. So moving 1 hour from March to April is ok, but moving the same hour again from from April to May is not ok.

So to sum it up or TLDR:

  • Take care of your clients as they'd be your grandma (shitty grandmas don't count, get rid of them asap!).
  • Create a few pre-defined packages (around 3).
  • Include monthly support hours.
  • Rent a cheap reseller account (Plesk Onyx/Obsidian preferred if you're working with Wordpress, otherwise cPanel or Directadmin) to host your clients websites.
  • Create a cheap and basic setup for yourself (CMS, multi purpose themes, ...).
  • Calculate your monthly costs that you need to cover.
  • Let a lawyer or online service create a custom contract for you.
  • Accept monthly, semi-annual or annual payments. Also think about a non-refundable prepaid system. This will get you money upfront.
  • ...
I'm a little exhausted right now, I could write loads more, but I hope this works for the beginning and gives you a little bit of advice. You can always ask here or send me a PM if you need more details.

😊

 

Julian

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Webflow.

Always Webflow.

Squarespace / Wix / Adobe Portfolio are great for first timers, but Webflow has templates and easy to use features that often inspire clients to create more and more over time.

And I can always log into their accounts and make fixes whenever I need, for a small fee.

 
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