Looking after my business

Hello everyone.  It’s Jonnie, owner and proprietor of Jonnie Grieve Digital Media.  This little venture of mine has been going now for about a year and a half.  Since January 2012 I was thinking very much about the possibility making websites in return for an income. Working for myself is something that I’d wanted for some time previous. Websites are my passion. They make me tick and have done for a long time.  I love the feeling of creativity, of being responsible for creating and designing something that is going to make a difference to individuals and businesses.

Last July, I made it official and gave the business a name, and here I am. In that time I’ve acquired a small but valuable set of clients who have given me business, mostly for websites but for some important Multimedia work as well. I also have many more potential leads that could lead to more business and important income.

But as I have also been learning it is very difficult to get a business off the ground and give myself reliable income. It’s one of the major disadvantages of self-employment.   The money can come in but not always when you need it or as often as you need it.  I’ve been relying for a little while on networking and work of mouth for the time being to build my client network.

So more and more lately, I have been asking myself the question, “How can I make more money?”

The obvious answer is marketing and promotion. I do have ideas and plan to start to get my name out there and let people know I exist and available for web design.

But what else can I do?  There is another option and this is the most difficult one, I think.  Review my charges and my policies for getting in continued income, and this what I mean by “continued income”.

My current pricing structure for websites is as follows.

  • £220       1-5 pages
  • £250       6-10 pages
  • £300       10-15 pages
  • £400       for 15+ pages

I don’t charge an hourly rate for my designs.

As it stands at the moment I charge a design fee which covers design and building of the project, for which a deposit may be paid with the rest paid on completion.  If I take care of the domain and hosting, then I will also pass that cost on too. But then that’s it. Currently, I have no policy for continued edits and changes to the site.  I don’t stop communicating or advising my clients once the websites are complete and I’m always available for questions help and advice. Simply put, I don’t stop working for my clients but the money stops coming in.  I’m sure you can all see there is a problem with that scenario that is my predicament.

At the moment there is no policy I have in place for charges for ongoing work like edits and changes to pages and sites.  I do many changes on websites for clients on demand.  If they’re simple things like a spelling error or a stray character then that is simple and I’m not inclined to charge money to cover such “work”. But there are often times I’ve been doing some work and thought, surely there is billable time for me here where I am doing work and the work I am doing is worth some return on the time I am spending.

So I could stamp my foot down and say, yes I can add this for you but it’ll be another £10 or £20 but then, I could start scaring clients away for extra billable work where before they’d previously have had it for free. New pages and fundamental design changes are certainly fair game, but I suppose my point is that at the moment I don’t quite know what I am going to do but I do know that I can’t carry on the way I am running things currently.

Therefore I want to use this blog to inform my clients and future customers that I am reviewing my policies for ongoing billable work and word will be forthcoming on how things will happen in the future.  I will make a clear policy on how I will handle changes and edits in the future.

I’d like to thank my current clients for their business and hope we can continue to build a long lasting business relationship in the future.

*Feel free to share any comments you may have*

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Doing “It” with Jonnie Grieve Digital Media

What can I possibly mean by “It”?  Let me explain.

In the last couple of weeks, you may have seen a godaddy.com advert, advertising easy to create, pages and hosting, you know, one of those websites that gives you pre prepared templates that you can use with your own text and images to create some pretty good designs.

Not so long ago I might have agreed and advocated the use of these sites.  But then, I became a web designer and Godaddy don’t seem to be too kind to web designers like me who offer designs in exchange for a design quote.  I earned a good degree helping me get the ball rolling on learning to design and code my designs for myself. And in my opinion I don’t think you do yourself justice if you go for these sorts of design companies.  Sure you can get a visually appealing website and yes that might reflect well on you and your business. But surely there is no substitute for a hand crafted design, specifically tailored by a design expert.

I find Godaddy’s latest advertising spin to be quite grating indeed, and not just because they’re pretty much a competitor of mine and by doing what they do, they take away a need for a website I could possibly provide.  And I understand the meaning behind it.  

I did “it” in the kitchen, I did “it” on my laptop, on my phone”  I did “it” with my partner. 

You’re taken in and you wonder what on earth they’re talking about, and suddenly they’re revealed as customers of GoDaddy creating easy web solutions without having to write code.  There’s another one which rings alarm bells with me.

 “I used to have to pay a guy to do it”. 

This is all very well but I want to make the case for paying a human being to make you a website.  I put it to you that the best websites out there are created by professionals. Industry experts.  When I first started out in learning web design, I used to swear by using Dreamweaver. Even now I still think it’s a useful program but I no longer rely on it to write whole websites.  I prefer to be in complete control of the code that I write so that it comes 100% from me and not generated by the program itself.  If you use visual tools you cannot be sure the code generated will be easy to read or easy for the search engines to find you.

There are also SEO aspects to consider.  I don’t know how well GoDaddy is kitted up for SEO or if there is any ongoing support.  However with a personal web designer you can be assured that you have a human who has an eye of the best SEO possible for your site.  I make no secret that SEO is a hard business especially with more and more pages being added to the internet in a single day. Unfortunately it is no longer a case of just choosing the right keywords, However I do know what it takes to prepare the site for the engines so they’ll crawl you faster and I can offer tips on generating web links and web traffic.

You get what you pay for and while sites like godaddy.com might give you a quick and visually appealing design solution you’d be wise not to write off the merits of using a professional designer. So if you do need a website, please consider me.  I’m available for cost effective web design or just an initial chat!  🙂

Jonathan  (Owner: Jonnie Grieve Digital Media)