Pricing Web Design Projects

There’s a great post over at Blue Favor on Pricing Web Design Projects. The post is excellent and definitely deserves a read. A couple of points I really like:

A crucial problem to accurately pricing projects is that proposals happen so early in the process, as the vendor we only have a couple of meetings, phone calls or a document to understand the project. We do our best to come up with a fair and accurate price, but it often feels like a shot in the dark.

This is something I have grappled with for years. To be able to give an accurate idea of price you need a clear idea of what the client is after. And to know this you need to spend time working with them to determine their goals, requirements and strategy. Which brings me to the next point in the post:

Though every book I’ve read on the topic of pricing says to never ever ballpark, I have a tendency to do so. If they can’t disclose the budget I typically try to start throwing a few numbers from previous projects to help gage the scope of what we are talking about, call it a good faith effort to start the discussion.

I too often do this, partially for the reasons above. Ideally I like to get a budget but that is not always possible. If not I try to do a rough scope of the project and give the client an idea of costs. If we’re on the same wavelength we take it from there.

The post also goes on to talk about determining hourly rates, quoting by the hour or project and tips for clients when pricing a web design project. Definitely worth a read, and an addition to my feed reader.

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Stock Photography Can Be a Bad Idea

I was reading an article on the pitfalls of using stock photography recently. Basically a Chicago based online pet business bought a stock photo of a pet to use on their website only to discover:

I bought a stock photo of a dog for my website and it has become our unofficial mascot. Recently, I discovered that another pet site is using the same photo. Can I stop the site from using it?

Unfortunately unless you have an exclusive license or have contracted a photographer to take the photo for you you have no exclusivity to it and anyone can use it. And therein lies the rub. What may seem like a cheap option (stock photos can be bought from as little as $1) can end up being an expensive lesson.

More and more businesses, including large corporates, are going down the stock photography path and are being embarrassed by finding images they’ve used in campaigns being used by competitors, making it difficult for consumers to tell brands apart.

When using photographs in your website or marketing materials it often pays to spend a little money and have them done by a professional photographer. Not only will they look better, you are guaranteed that all the hard work you’ve spent in building and promoting your brand can’t be undone by a competitor simply buying the same image/s and muddying the water.

Uniqueness is important in business – don’t drop the ball by making it easy for others to copy you.

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Five Reasons Why I Blog

The lovely Bill Slawski from SEO By the Sea has tagged me in a new blog meme: Five Reasons Why I Blog. Thanks Bill. :)

Ok, so why do I blog?

I was Pushed Into It

Ok maybe that is a bit harsh but I was encouraged to blog – it was tied into a blog design project ThinkProspect was doing for a client. Admittedly I had heard of all the benefits of blogging but just hadn’t found the time to start my own. I’m now very grateful for the push.

I Love Blogging

Since that early push I’ve discovered I really, really love blogging. It took a while to get the hang of it all but now I love it. It’s a great creative outlet and usually gives me a nice push on those mornings I’m finding it hard to get going.

To Improve My Writing Skills

This has almost been a side benefit but I’ve found blogging has really helped my writing and finding my own voice. Something I felt I had struggled with previously.

To Communicate with Clients and Prospects

Blogging has been a nice way to communicate with clients and prospective clients. In particular prospective clients can get a feel for me and ThinkProspect before they even pick up the phone. I’m amazed at how many people have come to us after reading and liking the blog.

To Educate and Inform

I’ve had so many wonderful people help and support me over the years it’s great to give back to others. I’m also so appreciative for all the comments I get for the blog. It means a lot to me to know people are enjoying it and talking about it.

Here are the 5 people I’d love to hear from:

  1. Miriam Ellis-Loraditch from SEO Igloo Blog
  2. Li Evans from Search Marketing Gurus
  3. Darren Moloney from On SEO Pond
  4. Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Roundtable
  5. Pierre Far from eKstreme.com
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The Worst Thing an E-Commerce Site Can Do

My husband is trying to order some decent products online. He’s made his selection, provided his details, given them his credit card info and submitted his order. The page then hangs and hangs and hangs and hangs. Re-submitting does exactly the same thing. He’s given up and gone elsewhere.

I wonder how many e-commerce sites put through dummy orders just to test their system. In the bricks and mortar world you make sure you unlock your door each day. The same should happen online.

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