Tuesday, July 5, 2011

5 Success Tips for All Website Designers

Being a website designer can be greatly rewarding and very profitable indeed. Your customers could not care less about HTML, CSS, MySQL, PHP, Joomla, WordPress and all that other "technical stuff", all they want is to "get online" and they are prepared to pay someone who will help them to achieve this in the easiest way possible.

This is where professional website designers come in. The key word here is professional. There are many website designers all over the world but very few could be considered professional.

If you apply the tips in this article you could join us in that special group - all it takes is a bit of knowledge, hard work, patience, persistence and you'll be well on your way to being very successful.

1. A Professional Website

Your website is the most important tool you have in your success kit, it must be absolutely top class! If you get your own website right everything else will pretty much just fall into place. But wait, what does a professional website look like? I'm glad you asked, I was getting to that. It's unfortunate to see all the website designers out there whose websites have not been well thought through and which pay little or no attention to the customer. Here are some tips for a great website:-

Keep the design simple. Don't go overboard with fancy graphics, animation, drop-down menus, flash, slideshows etc. Adding this stuff to your website might make you feel quite proud of yourself but your customers won't be too interested. There really is power in simplicity.
Keep the language simple. Your customers don't care that you'll "build their website with the Drupal CMS using PHP, CSS with custom templates, a MySQL database and will host the website on an Apache server with a Linux operating system". It's amazing how many website designers have this sort of language on their websites. Keep the language simple for your clients.
Prominent contact form. Yes, a 'contact us' page is nice but that's just not good enough. You need a contact form on every page.
Testimonials & clients. Proudly show of any testimonials you get and display the logos of clients you have worked with. Don't worry if you don't have any yet, we all had to start somewhere but as soon as you get them start showing of!

2. Offer Web Hosting Services

In the early days I used to design clients' websites and then recommend them to another company for web hosting. This was a very bad idea! I mean really, after you have put in the hard work to create a client's website does it make any sense to just hand them over to another company so they can be getting a monthly web hosting fee? Absolutely not! Smart website designers always offer their clients web hosting services as well. When starting out a simple reseller web hosting account will do then you can move to a virtual server and then maybe even your own datacentre one day but you have to offer web hosting services, it's not that difficult and it just makes sense.

3. Create Website Design Packages

This is very important. When a potential client visits your website the only question going on in their mind is "What do I get?" it is your website's job to answer this question well. Create packages with different prices and list clearly exactly what the client gets with each package. The importance of doing this cannot be overemphasized. You want to try and minimise the number of 'quotation requests' which you get buy just letting your customers know what's on offer right away. Remember to keep your language simple and to offer your clients ridiculously great deals!

4. Respond Quickly to Customer Queries

When a potential client fills in your contact form they either want to or are thinking about doing business with you, I find that too many companies (in all industries) drag their feet about replying to customer queries. You'll earn a very special place in the hearts and minds of your clients if you become famous for super quick responses. Leave customers pleasantly surprised and almost in disbelief that there's actually a company which responds so fast. You'll be glad you did.

5. Become an Internet Marketing Expert

There's a reason why this is the last tip, it's the most important. You see, you can be the greatest website designer in the world but if no one knows about you, all your skills will be completely useless. I remember when I would browse the websites of other designers and after looking at the work they did for their clients I'd be thinking "hey, I could have done a better job than that!" but the fact remained that they stil had more clients and were making much more money than I was. In order to succeed you must take marketing your business very seriously. I would say you should aim to spend about 30% of your time applying the other tips on this page and 70% on internet marketing, this is your number one most important activity.

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