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The Basic Concepts Behind Selling Web Design Services

Sales… It’s on the mind of everyone in business and every freelancer. Everyone wants more sales. It really isn’t as difficult as some make it out to be, usually it’s the sales trainers, coaches, and other people that have something to gain by you believing it is some difficult thing.

That being said, the only truly difficult thing about sales is the self limiting beliefs you carry on your own shoulders.

I can’t do anything to defeat your self limiting beliefs, self doubts, or problems you bring onto yourself. However, I can help you break free from a couple newbie mistakes when it comes to selling web design.

What You Need To Know About Selling Web Design

Sure some of this can translate into other industries, but this is certainly going to be more useful for the web designer, the freelancer, the guy starting his or her own web design agency.

There are plenty of advanced techniques we could talk about. We could talk about proper positioning when selling, but let’s just keep this simple, it’s the simple, easy, basic things that make the biggest difference.

Let’s get into this…

Selling To Businesses WITH Websites Vs. WITHOUT

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to selling web design comes down to a simple choice they make when prospecting.

The most common mistake is that beginners are trying to sell to businesses that don’t have websites. It makes sense, I understand why they believe that’s the route they should take but in the end, it usually is a bad approach.

You’re always better off selling to a business that already has a website, instead of a business that doesn’t have a website.

The business that has a website, already sees, or understands the value of having a presence online. Maybe they don’t have the best website, but they are already sold on the idea. When you approach businesses that don’t have a website, you have to not only sell them on the fact that you’re the right person or company for the project, but you have to sell them on the entire idea of having a website and web presence.

Selling ideas can prove to be much more difficult. You’re adding additional steps to the sales process.

I’m not saying to ignore the businesses without websites, but purposely targeting those without, is a bad strategy.

Why Would Businesses With a Website, Buy a Website From You?

This is just a continuation on the previous point, but adding a bit more in depth information to help you “see the light”.

So why would a business, that already has a website, want to buy another website from you?

The truth is that the majority of people that have websites, are unhappy. If they built it themselves, they’re unhappy about being limited by their lack of knowledge. If someone else built the website, they can be upset that the company has become unresponsive, and they are unable to make changes to the website. Maybe the maintenance cost is too much, maybe they just want something better looking or better performing in search or with conversions.

There are a ton of reasons why a business will want to have their website designed or redesigned by you. Ignoring the group of proven buyers, doesn’t make much sense. Even if you see a website that looks better than what you can do, there may be an underlying issue that could cause the business to want to jump ship. You never know what they’re thinking until you talk to them.

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Setting The Right Price Point

Another common question or hang up that a lot of beginners have is the topic of pricing. How do you price a website? Do you custom quote for each project? Unfortunately this question doesn’t have a simple answer.

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about 3 very important stages of business. Two of the topics covered in that post were growth, and profit.

You have to have a sound business strategy to determine which direction you’re aiming for when it comes to price. I’m a big believer in achieving growth first, and improve profit later, since it’s always easier to improve profit once you have a customer base.

The approach you take depends on your growth, and / or your profit strategy.

You have three options:

1.) Low volume but high profit.

With this strategy, you’re focusing on profit from day one. Obviously you SHOULD be focusing on profit no matter what, but this approach is for those that just want to be a “consultant” type, where you take on very limited work for a higher mark up. Your margins are good, because you spend more time on finding the ideal client, and maximizing their value. This strategy will never allow for you to achieve massive growth but it will allow you to have great margins for less overall effort.

2.) High Volume and Low Profit

This strategy is for those that want massive growth. This is commonly used by larger companies that place a lot of importance on market share, they have a higher overhead and higher operating cost. These are typically the businesses that have a lot of back end processes and systems in place that allow them to continue scaling their business. The loss of a client or customer doesn’t pose much risk, whereas using the low volume but high profit structure exposes you to much more risk.

3.) Decent Profit and Decent Volume

This is the middle ground and the fine line I like to walk on that allows a steady flow of clients coming in while having pretty good margins. This allows you to put money into marketing and having a good ROI on almost any campaign you implement. This is probably what I would recommend for most people starting out. The other two choices, are definitely for those that are much more advanced.

That being said… what’s the right price point?

Usually, example #1 will likely charge around $4,000 for a website, maybe even higher. Of course, price will vary based on the scope of a project, but to show some sort of control in this example, we’re going to say it’s for a basic 5-7 page website. A basic website, no bells and whistles, just the basics. Those are usually between 3-5K for the solo consultants.

In example #2, the same website can be built and likely priced between $400-800. They aren’t really “lowballing” they simply have the processes in place to be able to handle high volume websites and still have a decent margin. They also count on an increase in revenue from the lifetime customer value. If you decide to go this route, I’d recommend starting at the higher end of the spectrum. In my own personal “volume” based pricing, I noticed $849 was the best price, slightly above the range I just gave.

In example #3, this is kind of the sweet spot in pricing. You can have a wide range of businesses that can afford your services without having a low price. This range is typically between $900-$1,600. You’re priced slightly higher than the high volume model, which helps you to avoid the high maintenance clients that want something for super cheap. You’re also priced low enough to where it’s easy for a lot of businesses to use your company but not too low to where you’re losing out on profits.

If you’re outsourcing the work to a third party, or you have a regular freelancer that does work for you, you want to consider what your costs are, and set an appropriate price.

You don’t exist as a business, to give people a discount, or a cheap deal, you exist to make money and grow a company. Just keep that in mind when it comes to pricing.

Don’t Leave Money On The Table

Another common mistake with beginners, isn’t the fact that they don’t understand what the best price point would be, but the fact that they’re leaving a lot of money on the table by not offering a complimenting service, like hosting.

Everyone that has a website, also has hosting. Why don’t you become that source?

It benefits them because they can call someone they already trust. It benefits you because it is residual income that you really don’t have to do much for.

One common mistake when it comes to hosting, is having the client sign up through an affiliate link instead of you getting paid directly. If you’re getting affiliate commissions, that’s a nice chunk of change for you but it’s only once. You never get it again.

When you offer the hosting service, all you need is a reseller hosting account, and charge the client directly.

Let’s break this down…

$50-125 for a one time hosting commission as an affiliate.

$10-50/mo for hosting

Obviously, on the lower end of the hosting spectrum, you can charge on a monthly basis at $10/mo or just do a one off charge for the year at $120 and not miss the affiliate commission at all. The best part is, you get that money again the following year…and the year after, as long as you continue hosting.

$10/mo is really on the low end. I’d recommend charging 25-35/mo instead. Yes, they can get hosting much cheaper, but what can you do to add value and make it easy for them to choose you for such a small fee? Have backups? Security upgrades? Plugin updates? Content changes so they don’t have to do it themselves? It’s not hard to justify a $30/mo charge….

So don’t make the mistake of leaving money on the table. Make sure you offer hosting, and make sure it isn’t through an affiliate link.


There are a lot of “basics” out there in any business, but hopefully me covering just a few of these will help some of you get started and make better decisions when it comes to the growth of your business.

Any questions or comments are much appreciated… just leave em in the comment section below!


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