The timing is right. More and more small business
owners are looking for help as they make the move to online promotion.
Most do not have the time or skills to build their own site.
As a result, they are actively seeking affordable Webmasters.
So capitalize on this growing demand by setting up your own home-based business.
Do the kind of work you love and reap all the financial benefits -- i.e., the profit!
Starting any type of business, online or off, requires solid preparation. Without it, the foundation is weak.
And it leaves you, as the owner/operator, susceptible to costly mistakes and worse yet, irreversible decisions that could stunt growth.
The Webmaster Guide
will start and keep you on the right business track. Mark Frank, the author of the Masters Course, and owner of
a home-based Web site design business, gives you an insider's perspective on what to do... and more
importantly, what not to do on the "business side" of your new company. (After all, you already have the "creative" side under control, or else you wouldn't be
promoting your services!)
The Webmaster Guide covers essential operational aspects, such as:
It will provide you with the information and resources you need
- a well-developed business plan
- targeted marketing
- pricing of services
- attracting clients
- effective communication
- winning proposal/contract construction
In other words, what you need to do Webmaster business successfully.
- bypass common mistakes
- create satisfied clients
- increase your productivity levels
- generate recurring income...
The consumer demand for Webmaster services is substantial and it will not evaporate
in the near future. You are definately not on a high-risk business proposition.
You will have all the advantages of working from home:
- no office to rent
- no boss telling you what to do
- flexibility to pick your own hours
- ability to generate income in your living room
- the biggest advantage of all, you're the person in charge.
You decide how, when and where you want to work.
The Webmaster Guide will help you establish your Webmaster business on a solid footing and position yourself as a successful independent designer.
Take a quick overview of the Course in the following:
The First Steps in the webmaster guide
Start off on the right track and use the quideline provided to develop a Webmaster business plan that will keep you on the path to success.
Web Site Marketing Secrets
The focus in this chapter is on niches and you will also discover some marketing secrets that will change the way you look at Web sites.
Designing for Success
Get the most of your design time and learn about some very effective tools for creating the kind of results your client will love.
No clients - no business and effective advertising is the key to pulling in the contracts.
Dealing with Clients
Your "people skills" are just as important as your design skills. Use communication tools and techniques that will help you build a positive relationship with clients.
The Legal Stuff - Proposals and Contracts
A Webmaster business is built upon contracts and a good proposal can make the difference between working and not working.
We highlight some important points from the webmaster guide
In the "Attracting New Clients" section
You have to go to your Webmaster business clients, because the clients arent't going to come to you!
Your clients are small businesses that advertise but don't have Web sites and your clients want their businesses to be more successful.
Your clients' needs always come first.
You just have to convince them that you understand their problems and that you can help to solve them. The better you know what your clients need, the better equipped you are to meet those needs.
Spread the word - Cash on free publicity - Become a contributing author
Tell all your friends, relatives, and co-workers that you are openly looking for clients for your Webmaster business.
Get some free press and your name in the newspaper to introduce your services to the community.
Submit articles to publications geared to your Webmaster business target group.
It's important to get your name out to your target audience effectively and inexpensively and the payoff is worth it.
The thought of "promoting yourself" to others may make a little uncomfortable, but it's just part of the job. Self-promotion is just another skill that you have to master to make your business work. Just be friendly, courteous, and informative. Once you have established a relationship with your client, and understand her/his business needs - you will be in a position to recommend solutions - and the solutions are you! Figure out what they want and need to make their business better - then tell them how you can help them get it.
The webmaster guides "Dealing with Webmaster Business Clients" section
You get a lot of insider advice about the importance of learning to communicate and develop close working relationships with your clients, despite barriers.
Whenever you send an e-mail to a client, send a copy to yourself as well - and keep these copies in a folder with any messages that you receive from a client. These will provide both you and your client with a written record of discussions for future reference.
Be sure to follow up every meeting with a written summary and send it to your client and yourself by e-mail.
Since your Webmaster business clients fall into different categories: Nice...Non-responsive...Demanding... you have to deal with them to make your business successful.
The nice clients will give you a pleasant time.
With the non-responsive clients you could be forced to stop working for a while, or give up.
The demanding client: All you can do is inform your client of the drawbacks of his approach, and then do as you are instructed. It's his site and he is paying the bill. Give him what he wants, even if it is not what he needs.
Submission of Materials
Every Web site development task requires some input from the clients, and sometimes the submissions will be unusable. Graphics, or photos will be of poor quality and text will be poorly written, or just a series of notes. Deal with this as a contract issue. Test it online and get e-mail approval, if the Webmaster business client is satisfied.
Sometimes clients just need a place to start and they will be able to edit what you have written.
The contract should clearly define the scope of the work involved.
Contracts are the tools you use to get paid. A good proposal gives your prospective client evidence that you understand the work to be accomplished and that you deliver in a timely manner.
Once you have the job, you need to document your business agreement with a contract.
The proposal in the webmaster guide
Your proposal should be structured so that most of it can be incorporated directly into the contract. This lets you reduce the time required to write the contract and allows you to give your client a contract that contains information in a familiar format.
As a minimum, your proposal should include the following items:
-Statement of the work
-Basis of your cost estimate
It's important to have all of them included in your proposal.
The statement of work in the webmaster guide
defines the tasks required to complete the Web site design from start to finish and you should divide the statement into several sections. The individual sections must include a description of the final product as well as a description of the work you are going to do.
When you quote the price for a Web site, you have to be able to justify to your prospective client and your justification comes in the form of a list of services you are going to provide, and lists of conditions and constraints.
The services list should include a description of every service you intend to provide, including:
- Developing a page layout to be used throughout the site.
- Designing the navigation scheme.
- Developing graphics required to support the page layout and navigation scheme.
- Submitting the Web site to search engines.
The list of assumptions, or conditions and constraints you include in your proposal, is to build in flexibility and still maintain reasonable limits on what you are going to do.
If you agree to build a site with photos of the client's products, you have to place a limit on the number of photos.
The same logic applies to the amount of text you will write, special features on the site, additional services etc.
The basis of Cost Estimate
The cost estimate is there to show your client exacly what you are going to do, and it's also there to limit your client's ability to add surprises, or extra work without paying additional fees.
The Exclusions in the webmaster guide
The exclusions section describes what you will not do and exclusions are an essential part of the proposal, because many of your clients are not computer literates.
Even those with some computer skills don't know much about Web design. If they did, they would do it themselves.
Therefore be sure to include something like this in your proposal:
This proposal does not cover
-Web site design instruction
-Web site and computer support beyond that specified herein
The site map in the webmaster guide
The site map is a list of pages that you expect to include in the new site and it should include a brief description of each page and a list of special features that will be found on that page.
It's important to define the site map as accurately as possible because the size and complexity of the job are defined here. If not done correcly, you are in a risk not to be paid what the job is worth, or you may have to increase the client's cost, with a not pleasant result.
The map should look like the following
- Home page, introduction to the client's business and products
- Article Pages, up to six article pages, written by the client
- FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions
- Guarantee, product warranty information
- Testimonials, comments and feedback from customers with a feedback form
- Contact us, company address, phone, fax, e-mail link, map, contact form
The schedule is a statement of how long the work is going to take and both you and your client need to know.
You need to be careful with the schedule, because with it in the contract it is legally binding.
The best way to deal with a schedule is to break the job into three, or four major sections, and define the tasks to be done within each section and it's much easier to estimate the time required for small tasks.
Use approximate estimates 3-4 days, 2-3 weeks and this will give you a lot of breathing room in your schedule.
Include the following paragraph in your proposal
"This schedule defines the major tasks to be completed during the life of the project. Individual tasks may be added, deleted, or moved as required to meet the demands of the design. the elapsed times are estimates and may vary depending on workload, changes, customer submissions, and third-party service providers."
If you client is not working against a specific deadline, he will accept these parameters.
The fees is the most important thing for many clients, and you have to make this part very clear.
Your cost quote must be very easy to understand
Web site Development
(80 hours a $75 per hour).................$6.000
Search Engine Registration Fees...........$450
Domain Name Registration Fees.............$30
Additional work will be billed at $75.00 per hour.
Payment is to be made in three installments of $2.160
The payment schedules follows this pattern:
1/3 advance payment
1/3 midpoint payment (client approval)
1/3 delivered (client approval)
Your proposal should be impressive, as it is a marketing document.
It should be visually appealing, clear and easy to read, free of typos and errors.
Anything you can do to make yourself stand out from the competition will work to your advantage.
Many clients will ask for more work once you begin. Many of the requests will be trivial and you will want to do them just to keep your client happy - but some will require hours of work - so don't hesitate to inform the client that these requests are beyond the scope of the contract and that they will have impact on cost and schedule.
Remember that your Webmaster business clients are people that are paying you to provide a service.
So treat them with respect and give them what they want in a professional manner.
If you follow this advice, your Webmaster business will prosper............
The goal of The Webmaster guide to BUSINESS is to elevate your business knowledge and skills, with the shortest learning curve possible.
Satisfy the growing demand for independent Webmasters.
Promote your services. But...
Don't ignore the "business side" of your Webmaster guide business. Creative design skills are not enough to ensure longterm success.