Earning More From Web Design: Extra Services You Can Provide

Jan 15 2014 by Michael Bird | 7 Comments

With the digital landscape becoming increasingly competitive and the cost to acquire a new website project steadily growing, web designers need to be proactive in finding additional ways to create ongoing value for their clients.

To survive, web designers need to adapt and increase the revenue generated per client.

This article will cover five strategies for growing your income from website projects.

Website Maintenance Services

Peace of mind is a beautiful thing, both for you and the client. Your customer is going to want to know you’re going to be there if anything ever goes wrong.

And you can be, for a price.

Websites crash, CMSes and their plugins need to be upgraded regularly, updates to JavaScript libraries need to be issued, the list goes on.

Ongoing upkeep is such a crucial part of running a website that some agencies specialize solely on providing website maintenance services:

Google search results for the phrase “website maintenance services”, showing companies that concentrate only on providing site maintenance.

Discussing an ongoing website maintenance service arrangement before a project begins is going to ensure you don’t have to do any awkward post-project upselling, and the client will be able to sleep easy knowing you will be there to assist them if ever the time comes.

For many of our clients at Social Garden (the digital agency I have co-founded) we start them off on a base rate of 5-10 hours per month depending on how complex their website is, which is then automatically charged out at our standard hourly fee.

If this all sounds like too much work for you or your staff, consider outsourcing website maintenance tasks to high-quality service providers that will readily take the commitment off your hands. You can also consider service marketplaces like Tweaky or CreativeFolks.

Conversion Rate Optimization

At the end of the day, you can’t predict with complete certainty how actual users are going to behave on the site you have built.

This is where conversion rate optimization services come in.

Most of my clients are astonished when I explain to them the concept of being able to automatically split test different variations of their website — A/B testing — to improve their conversion rates.

Providing conversion rate optimization services can involve:

  1. Developing the experiment: hypothesis, controlled variables, and the proposed variations to test
  2. Administering the experiment: You can use software like Visual Website Optimizer or Optimizely for this
  3. Presenting the results of the experiment: You could summarize the data you have gathered and your recommended changes
  4. Implementing the website changes: As needed, you will update the site with the improved design

Further reading

Online Marketing

Your client has decided to make an investment in a website and the most common reason they have done so is because they believe it’s going to generate new business opportunities for them. Developing their online marketing plan can be an additional service you can provide. This can involve setting up their mailing list, SEO, developing best practices for managing their social media presence, creating an online advertising strategy, and so forth.

If you aren’t an online marketing professional, you can still make a tidy ongoing profit from sub-contracting work to experts in that field. Many digital marketing agencies (including my company) offer a healthy partnership program that allows you to deliver an industry-leading marketing product without spending the time and effort to learn and execute the latest traffic generation strategies.

When selecting an agency to form a long-term partnership with, be patient and do your homework. Your client trusts your advice and you don’t want to rush into something and end up letting them down.

Further reading

Managed Web Hosting

Website hosting has traditionally been the go-to way for web designers and developers to create a recurring income from their current clients.

Your clients will be delighted to hear they don’t have to find a hosting company and manage their own web hosting solution. This also makes it easier for you and the client to perform site updates and maintenance services.

Reliable shared web hosting companies like Rackspace and MediaTemple offer affordable, managed solutions that allow you to host multiple website domains.

If you’re looking for good value and the ability to finely control your web hosting services, you should consider using a virtual private server (VPS) provider such as Linode, Digital Ocean or Prgmr. Like shared hosting, a VPS will also allow you to deploy and manage multiple website domains using virtual hosting.

The downside to using a VPS is that if you don’t have web server administration knowledge, the learning curve can be steep.

However, a VPS will give you many benefits compared to shared web hosting, such as more hardware resources and much better control with the software and configuration of your server.

Further reading

Research and Development

With technology constantly evolving, websites are becoming stale faster than that bread loaf in your cupboard.

Sharing your passion for design and the future of the Web with your client is a great way to develop a closer bond, and acts as a great pre-sell for when you find a new plugin or piece of technology that you know is going to help their business.

I’m constantly on the hunt for new ways to improve both my own website and my clients’ websites. And when I find something great, I never hesitate to let them know about it and offer them my services to implement it on their site.

What other strategies are you using to increase your revenue? I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions in the comments.

Related Content

About the Author

Michael Bird is the Co-founder and Director of Strategy at Australian-based digital marketing agency, Social Garden. Connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn.

7 Comments

Theo

January 24th, 2014

Great read. Another possibility is to take the pictures used on the website for them, at least some of the pictures. Just think about a real estate agency, i mean there are lot of pictures to take and mostly you have the ability to make better pictures as they do.

Code Climb

January 24th, 2014

You don’t think that website management is a little too much? I mean when you get into doing services like that the client can become a boss you don’t want to work for and end up putting many hours into the site.

Anchit Shethia

January 28th, 2014

Well, what I feel is, do whatever you want, just give something more then what is expected by your customer :) That’s how your customer will be loyal to you and come back again to you for his/her work.

jack

January 28th, 2014

Your options for finding quality outsourcing resources are growing all the time.
Agencies, freelancers, online job boards and subcontractors are all great potential
virtual resources for your next projects. However, selecting the right virtual
marketing assistant can make or break the success of your venture into the world
of remote staff.

Tom Chapman

January 28th, 2014

This is an awesome article. these are some things that a lot of developers never think about – especially conversion rate optimizations! I’ve got to start doing these things to boost my income. :)

Paul Bekhterev

January 29th, 2014

I really had trouble managing my previous VPS. I signed up for a managed VPS with rosehosting.com after a friend’s recommendation, and now all my problems are gone. The stuff there is really helpful and friendly and I can concentrate on my work.

Prashant

January 30th, 2014

Thanks Michael for all the tips. I think managed hosting is picking up some real buzz these days.

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