Digital Masters - Growing Your Web Dev Business

8 Tips to Make Your Web Design Services More Valuable

February 02, 2022 Marisa VanSkiver, Captain Coder Season 1 Episode 40
Digital Masters - Growing Your Web Dev Business
8 Tips to Make Your Web Design Services More Valuable
Show Notes Transcript

You're probably a web designer and web developer because you like the work, but isn't it nice when the work is actually profitable?

There are a lot of web design business gurus on the market. I'm certainly not the only one trying to help website agencies make more money and provide a better product. But what I typically hear from those other "experts" is that you should simply charge more money for the websites you're building. That's how you become more profitable. That's it. Just raise your prices.

While yes, I think Wix, SquareSpace, and other DIY builders have certainly made us as an industry race to the bottom a bit, we can't just ask for more money if we're not providing more value than those DIY website builders.

The biggest problems I see with these gurus? They tell you to charge more money and add more value, but they rarely tell you how.

Well today, I'm going to take you through 8 ways you can add more value to the websites you're building so that you can charge more. Not only can you raise your prices, but you'll be raising the level of customer service you're providing and improving the results your customers get with their websites. That can mean more recurring revenue and more referrals for you. Frankly, that's all a win win win to me.

Let's dive in.

Resources

Now, you're probably a web designer or a web developer because you actually like the work, but isn't it nice when the work is actually, you know, profitable? There are a lot of web design business group rules out there on the market, and certainly not the only one trying to help website agencies and web designers make more money and provide a better product to their customers. But what I typically hear from these other experts is that you should simply charge more money for the websites you're building. That's how you become more profitable. That's it. Just raise your prices. Well, yes, I think Wix, Squarespace and other DIY website builders have certainly made us an industry in kind of a race to the bottom. We can't just ask for more money if we're not providing more value than those DIY website builders. The biggest problem that I see with these other gurus, they tell you to charge more money and add more value, but they rarely tell you how. Well, today I'm going to take you through eight ways you can add more value to the websites you're building so that you can charge more. Not only can you raise your prices, but you'll be raising the level of customer service you're providing and improving the results your customers get with their websites. That can mean more recurring revenue and more referrals for you. Frankly, that's all a win win win to me. So let's dove in. Now, number one, you want to plan and strategize upfront. UFT, this isn't the fun part, and frankly, it's why we as an industry tend to skip it. But before you start anything with a website project, you have to plan it out and strategize. Applying some upfront research to your web design projects will go a long way to not only helping you to create a better product at the end of things, but will actually make the entire process so much easier. So step one Sit down with your clients before you start anything else and ask them questions about their goals with the website, what results they're hoping to get out of it, and their long term vision for their business. Knowing what the target is and where they want to grow to will help you to actually hit the mark, meaning you're far less likely to have angry clients at the end of a project. Work with your client to set solid KPIs or at least outline their top three or four objectives so that everyone is on the same page for what success looks like. Next, you're going to do some research into their target market. Who are they trying to reach? What problems are their customers facing that your client is solving? Your client may already have some buyer personas drawn up, but if not, that's something that you can probably do pretty easily just for a short sketch of who you are trying to reach and what problems the business is trying to solve . Now, when you're working on buyer personas, take note of how they talk about their problems. Knowing how they talk about things and the terminology that they're using will help with my next step. Now, after you've done the upfront research, I next create a site map. Now, this could be as simple as a visual representation of the pages, and there were URLs you're going to include in the website, or you could take it one step further and include wireframes. Now, personally, I stick with a simple site map. I walk my customer through it, verify the pages we're going to include and go from there. I find kind of, depending on the customer, much more information than that can feel a bit overwhelming. So wireframes tend to not go over as well. But that all depends on who you're working with and what your normal process is. Now we're going the next step. I said that the first step is going to help with that's number to make the copy of benefits driven and SEO friendly. Now, after you've strategized, this next step becomes a whole lot easier. Now we talked about this a little bit more in episode 35, but you have to be at least editing the copy your client is providing. The copy, after all, is what's going to convert those browsers into leads and sales. So it's not a part of the process. You can really skip even if you're not a writer. It is really easy to switch around your clients. Provide a copy by taking some of the things you decided on in your strategy phase and ensuring that the website on the copy is focused on the benefits you're providing the end user and less on the features of the business. Now, if you ask her client to provide the copy for their own website. Unless they happen to be a company that provides writing services. Chances are they're going to focus on the features, they're going to focus on them. They'll provide company that's all about the company, the features or other services. And they're going to use technical jargon that their target market doesn't understand. After doing the research up front, you should have a buyer persona for your clients that includes their target customers problems, pain points and even the terminology for how they speak about those things . Reframe your client's view of their business and put the copy back into the customer's view. You have to appeal, after all, to their target market and not the CEO, ensuring that the copy and the website you build are focused on the benefits of the company's services and using the customer's language. It'll actually be more SEO friendly, too. After all, the target market isn't searching for help using the company's technical jargon. They're looking using the words and language that they understand. Number three, build for a good user experience. Now, whenever you're building a website, you need to think of the user first. Now the company or the brand that you're helping, but the people that will actually be browsing and using the website again, this is where the upfront strategizing and buyer personas come in handy because you've researched, you've done the work to get all of these answers. You know who you're building for, which makes up providing a good user experience far easier when you focus first on the user two, you're going to drive those sales and conversions better than honestly any other tactic you can try. Now, do you want to know my number one, you x tip? Keep it simple, stupid. Otherwise known as the K i ss or kiss method. Now don't over complicate your design or any other part of the website experience. When everything is simplified, it automatically is going to improve the UX because anyone browsing the website should be able to figure it out. Chi Assassins also powerful, if you're not the best graphic designer on the planet, it'll help you provide and create clean, simple designs that are still beautiful and effective. Now, tip number four, design with responsiveness in mind, I feel like I probably shouldn't have to say this in 2022. But I think a lot of people still forget that we not only have to think mobile first, but responsibly. When you're designing and creating a website, you want to ensure that you're doing so by thinking about how it's going to look on various screen sizes. Now, when I first started building websites for money 18 years ago, it's long time. I only really had to worry about one screen size. Fast forward to now and we have to worry about our websites looking good on phones, tablets of various sizes, laptops, desktops, massive monitors, teves, Xboxes and probably soon the metaverse. Because, you know, maybe God only knows. Don't just design out the desktop version of the websites you're building or just the mobile. While I always recommend designing a website mobile first, you actually have to design and test the other screen sizes too. Well, you can definitely research into responsive methodologies and best practices or use libraries like Bootstrap, which is what I actually use. one of the best things you can do is just to build, create multiple web sites, check on the major breakpoint sizes, trying on different devices, and just see how it changes your designs. You'll be amazed at how that helps shift your brain into thinking in all of these sizes and options. Now, value tip number five, follow Web accessibility best practices like we discussed in episode 30, web accessibility improves a website's overall UX and on page SEO. So there's really no reason to ever skip this tip. But if you want to work and a step above your competition, this is a weak area for a lot of web designers, and it will help you provide a ton of value into the websites you're building. Now only will following it. Best practices for web accessibility provide digital experiences that are more of inclusive and help to capture their entire target market. But it will protect your customers against ADA lawsuits. There's honestly, there's not a single reason why you shouldn't be following basic accessibility rules. Honestly, not a single one. You can dig into more about how you can be accessible in episode 30, but the basics include simple things like using alt tags and descriptive file names on every image, checking font and background color contrast ratios with free tools like web providing transcriptions or closed captioning for any videos with sound and including proper text in links. Like think anything, but learn more coding sites for web accessibility of best practices. Honestly, don't take me any more time than it would if I didn't. Not anymore. Once you get used to the process, it becomes very easy to incorporate it into every website you're building. Now, numbers, tip number six, practiced customer communication. This is a shift from our other tips, I know, but just provide better customer care. Look, guys, the bar is super low, especially with web developers to be better than your competition. But when your customers feel like you actually care about them and their businesses, it's amazing what value they feel like has been added to the project. For one, you're actually listening to them and addressing their needs, not just providing and applying a cookie cutter solution to their business. For two, you're actively helping them and keeping the project on track. If you're like me at all, you have heard an untold amount of horror stories of web developers taking the money and not answering for weeks or even months on end. Half finished projects or design, there was nothing like that was promised. By simply answering emails within a day or two. Communicating where you're at on the project, checking in weekly and even doing some video calls. I know just email isn't good enough. You'll be able to up level your customer service from about 80% of web designers and developers working in the market right now. That statistic is very, very much based, in fact, at least my own personal experience. But look, especially if you want to set yourself apart from competition, like on job boards like Upwork and Fiverr, you have to actually be better than what your customer is used to from getting that from working on those platforms. That's it. Now, tip number seven, set your client up for long term success. I think honestly, this is my best kept secret and how I'm so beloved by so many of my customers. Not only do I care about them and their businesses success, but apparently it's rarer that I'm asking them questions like where they want to grow their business to on a year, five years and even ten years now. Not every client is going to have an answer to that question. But getting them to think about what they want in the long term and then talking it over with me. It helps me to build their websites to be more future proof. I have several clients that get an average of three to four years of life or more out of the websites I've built because we're planning out for that growth. I'm also doing what I can to make sure that their websites stay flexible and are built for those changes down the line. Now whether that means making it simple for them to change up images and services or make simple copy adjustments, I want my clients to have websites that grow with their business, not one that gets never gets updated because it's too hard or they've grown in ways they didn't expect. Now, our last tip and tip number eight, never stop learning. The key to adding value to your websites. Never stop learning about websites. This is an industry that literally changes by the hour, let alone by the day. You can't ever be comfortable in your knowledge. But that's kind of also why I love it. There's always something new to learn. Always a new tactic, a new trend, or a new best practice to follow. So find a few guides experts that you trust. Listen to this podcast every week and follow them. Read blogs, books, articles to help you stay fresh. Dig into new aspects of web design and learn how other parts of digital marketing work with websites. When you spend just an hour or two a week learning, you'll find new ways to consistently add value back to your business, your offerings and your clients. Thank you guys all for tuning in to this episode this week. I will see you next week. Same time. Same place.