The Affordable Detour

The positioning of these inexpensive websites is starting to become more clear. I’ve talked to about six prospective clients, and the pattern I’m seeing is that the draw of the product isn’t cheap website…woo deal! but affordable way to get started…what a relief. There’s a different mentality at work here.

The price I’ve been setting for these inexpensive websites is hovering right at $75. I figured that if I was given all the content and imagery, it would be easy to do a quick content-replacement and put the website up on a host of the client’s choice. But actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that, because the second major hurdle is (as any web developer will tell you) getting that content and imagery in the first place. The first hurdle is actually getting the domain name and the hosting; this is such a mysterious process to the average person that it can be paralyzing. And I’m not just talking about the technical process of going to a domain name registrar and choosing a hosting service. The picking a name itself opens up a whole can of worms, containing such squirmers as should I use my own name or make up a name?to the even more vigorous wrigglers like what am I selling and who is my audience? The entire procedure just stops in its tracks right there.

This is, of course, the reason why getting a website and a log is so expensive when you go to a company to have it done right. It takes many hours of time to properly interview, digest, and synthesize the answers to those questions even for a simple website. These are not easy questions to answer, so in addition to providing the painfree website template, I also need to provide the easy brand identity kit to go along with the how websites work kit. There are many such kits to be created, so the education can occur with the client and the cost to me is much less. In fact, the idea that I’m basically selling kits is a good metaphor; sort of like how the Arduino people provide their circuit board design and software for nothing, but also sell fully assembled pieces.

Here’s where the catalog is currently. They all have somewhat unique names now:

Catalog Page 1 These next two are the very standard page layouts you see on many websites…nothing fancy:

Catalog Page 2 Catalog Page 3 Three templates, very limited customization available. However, there are upgrade paths and customization choices, and the opportunity to provide more services. The most important service of all, though, is the feeling that people can get some help from me. I have to figure out how to make that affordable too.

One thought is to charge a recurring monthly fee, say from between $50 to $150/month depending on the level of service, that includes weekly talk time and guidance through the scary practice of saying who you are and what you do. Essentially this is coached content creation and web design. It’s an interesting idea. If someone is ready to deploy right away, that’s just the $75.00 and BOOM, they’re online. If someone, however, would prefer to take some time with guidance, it’s 75.00/month per month it takes to get the content finished, then $75.00 to blast out the website. This could also blossom into a general consultancy model. I’ll have to consider this.