Most Common Visual Content Mistakes and How To Fix Them

By nature, people are visual creatures and we’re naturally attracted to images, especially those containing people. Marketers have found out long ago that using striking imagery accompanied with smart copy can affect people and their behaviour towards products and brands.

visual mistakes

Statistics are also showing that social networks that were growing the most in last couple of years are purely image based. As a matter of fact, according to Social Times, Pinterest and Tumblr were the fastest-growing social networks in 2014.

Exponential growth of mobile devices with cameras empowered people to create more visual content and share it in seconds on their social profiles or via text or email. In this article I will identify the most common visual content mistakes and show you how to leverage this influential content marketing to achieve your business goals.

How most people greet others.

Comics are becoming highly shared visual content. Example from The Oatmeal “How most people greet others”.

What is visual content and why is it the future of the content?

What is visual content you may ask in the first place and what is its difference from other forms of content. Let’s define it first.

Visual content is mostly used in marketing and gathers different forms of content marketing based on visual elements.

Visual content marketing encompasses the use of:

Popular social media channels like Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Vine are great examples of distribution channels in visual content marketing strategies.

its-all-about-images-infographic

Images are the rising stars of the Internet.

What makes visual content so important and demanded? Why is it a “thing” in 2015?

In the case of reading, our brain decodes visual information 60,000X faster than text. Visuals are perceived faster and can evoke much stronger emotions when the receiver sees the content.

  • Information overload. There is more information created in one year than it was created in thousand of years prior now. We’re drowning into the ocean of text based content.
  • Life pace is increasing and rapid lifestyle is shaping our future as well as the way we read, learn, and enjoy. People don’t have time to read and skimming as well as scanning have become the norm in many industries.
  • Virality, and easy share-ability. Think of the exponential growth of Pinterest and Tumblr, which are purely visual based. Images are easily shared and received much better than plain text.

To back up these statements look at the data gathered by MDG Advertising.

“94% more total views on average are attracted by content containing compelling images than content without images.”

Most Common Visual Content Mistakes

It’s alright to make mistakes, it happens to the best of us, but doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is stupid. Below are the most common mistakes brands, marketers, and designers commit and potential fixes you can implement.

1. Too Busy

Once designing a poster, product announcement, or infographic, we get so excited that we basically put everything that comes to our mind just because we think it will be valuable for the consumer. Then, we generally create an information-rich visual piece, but we end up with a visual mess that doesn’t have a clear message, priority, or the next step.

Fix: Provide a clear next step

Simply talking to your audience is not enough. There has to be a desired outcome of the visual content you’re creating. If it is an invitation to an event, provide the call to action, a button or a link that user can navigate to fill in more data and sign up. Visual content without clear call to action is a waste of time and money, yes, you might get some shares and likes but these do not contribute to the long-term relationship building and you can simply lose a fan without capturing their data for future approaches.

Pro tip: have only one clear call to action that is prominent in size, color and contrast.

Marketing strategy backbone. Illustration by Tomas Laurinavicius.

Marketing strategy backbone. Illustration by Tomas Laurinavicius.

2. Lack of strategy

This is what brands and inexperienced marketers do all the time, “let’s get likes and shares and it will be good”. No. There is a full cycle of sales funnel included: grabbing attention, increasing awareness, providing value, capturing lead information, interacting, providing even more value, gaining trust and loyalty and eventually selling. You need to have a defined strategy for every single step including user research, competitor analysis and market trends.

Fix: Know your end goal

Start out with defining clear business objectives and desired outcome. After that make sure you get to know the audience you are serving, their needs, and desires. Then see where these two worlds collide and the convergence will be your strategy backbone where you will base all your communication and visuals on.

2015 Social Media Image Sizes Guide

2015 Social Media Image Sizes Guide

3. Designing one format and using it across different mediums

One size simply doesn’t fit all. Surprisingly social networks are not designed by some general guidelines that apply to everything. You need to study each social media platform to get familiar with different constraints when it comes to image formatting.

Designing once and distributing your visual content across various platforms will lead into the next mistake on this list – distorted, cropped incorrectly, and low quality image. Check out this guide to the most popular social network image sizes guide.

Fix: Have templates ready and re-use

Once you are familiar with platform constrains and formats, you can start creating simple templates,which can be easily re-used in the future rather than creating everything from scratch over and over again for each of these, and simply adapt your content to fit these templates.

4. Image is low quality and/or not appealing

Quality over quantity is probably used everywhere you go but it is true. For every visual content campaign make quality your top priority. People might not notice details you put into your work but they will definitely sense your effort and hard work which will lead to better engagement, more shares, and easier tribe building process.

Fix: Follow brand and social network guidelines

To establish certain quality standards, work with your designer on brand guidelines defining what fonts to use, colors, language, image types, spacing etc. Consistently keeping high quality will turn into more fans and followers who dig your style and can recognize you from a distance. Check out these guidelines by Heidi Cohen as a starting point for visual content marketing.

5. Don’t forget the context

Always think of the context how your content will be viewed including device, place, and even demographics. For example, Instagram is only a mobile based social network with over 300 million users. There is a way to show photos on desktop device but creating and consuming content mostly happens on mobile devices. Consider these constraints when planning your next visual content campaign.

Fix: Analyse where, how, and who will be seeing your content

If you are targeting teenagers make sure you don’t try to reach them in wrong places, like Facebook for example, where teenagers are quickly abandoning the platform. Think of where the cool kids hang out, Snapchat, Instagram and act upon these facts and challenges.

burger-king-france

Burger King’s biggest virtual burger on Instagram.

Burger King’s Biggest Virtual Burger On Instagram

A great example is Burger King France‘s campaign of the biggest virtual burger on Instagram that was not only a brilliant idea in terms of environment and execution but also in brand awareness and engagement of certain age groups -in this case, teenagers, as they are the active ones on Instagram.

To celebrate the launch of their Instagram account, Burger King France created the world’s biggest virtual burger by posting over 90 pictures of burger parts which create the illusion of a giant Whopper. Brilliant!

This Ad Has a Secret Anti-Abuse Message That Only Kids Can See

Other great example of smart visual content implementation was done by a Spanish organization called the Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk Foundation. In order to provide abused children with a safe way to reach out for help they have created an ad that displays a different message for adults and children at the same time. Play the video to find out how.

7. Leave your ego at home, you’re not designing for yourself

Just because you like it doesn’t mean it should be there. One of the most common mistakes we all tend to do when working for others is to judge everything by our personal taste. Get into the shoes of the brand viewer to better understand why, how, and what has to be designed to appeal to your campaign receiver. This gets especially hard when anyone in the team has no one close to the target audience to give a genuine point of view. This is when problems arise and people start fighting over their personal taste and preferences. Simple solution is to leave your ego at home.

Fix: Ask your audience

Simply ask your audience many questions to discover what they like, dislike, what and how they share content with their friends and try to pick out their brains if you get a chance to chat with them closely. Another trick is to analyse data, figure out what has been shared the most, what content is most shared by similar brands and your competitors, by the demographic you are targeting and act upon the data.

neil-patel-guide

Neil Patel is a content marketing rockstar and his infographics or visual guides are easily identifiable due to specific style.

8. Lack of consistency

Brand loyalty is not shaped in a day or a week, it takes time for people to get to know your brand better, to better understand values and vision you stand for. Only consistent delivery of high-quality visual content and providing value will take you to the next level of customer relationship.

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” ― Anthony Robbins

Another common mistake brands perform is inconsistency. Make sure to avoid different graphic styles, language and topics to stay relevant to your audience. Sometimes that means sacrificing some brilliant and potentially marketable ideas.

Fix: Stay consistent and identifiable

Neil Patel is a content marketing rockstar. Just because he has been working consistently on his personal brand for years and now creates highly anticipated content he gets his content shared bringing in new business opportunities. Neil has established a certain style of visually pleasing guides that lay his knowledge in an easy to digest way. A brilliant strategy to re-purpose your content and turn it into visual guides that are easily identifiable and highly shareable.

nike-just-do-it

Nike’s mission statement is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”

9. Thinking short-term

Yes Christmas, Easter, New Year are great marketing opportunities but they don’t really create long-term brand value. You get engagement for these special occasions. Tons of views and shares just because it is relevant at a time but then suddenly your target audience freezes up and stops sharing your visual content is the worst you can do to hurt your brand. You should really get down to the roots of your business and, as in mistake 2 fix, get clear about your business goals, set clear values, mission and vision statements so you are getting closer to your ultimate goal rather than getting low hanging fruits.

Fix: Employ storytelling and long-term value creation

Perfect example of storytelling and long-term value creation in visual content is Nike. With their iconic “Just do it.” and “Find your greatness.” campaigns which keeps inspiring people despite the fact that it has been used a long time. These topics are still relevant whether it’s Christmas or Easter.

The legendary University of Oregon track and field coach, and Nike co-founder, Bill Bowerman said, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

coca-cola-be-giving

Coca-Cola curates a Pinterest board of fans generated content.

10. Ignoring user generated content

Internet in 2015 has empowered humanity to create more content than ever before. Brands ignoring their customers content are missing out on genuine and highly relatable visual content campaigns that directly talk to their fans in their own language.

Fix: Utilise fan generated content

It’s easier than ever to monitor your brand with tools like Google Alerts, SumAllMention and react to these mentions. Most important thing here is to put that support and love your customers show into creating more genuine and closer relationships. Once you start noticing and appreciating fan support people become evangelists of your brand that becomes the ultimate promotion tool.

Conclusion

Whether you have been wondering how to get started in visual content marketing or simply looking for ways to improve, this article will definitely help to level up your game. There are many ways to engage with the ever changing social media world and hopefully tips and tricks in this article will help you design better content, reach more people, and grow your business or personal brand.

I’d like to hear your experiences and lessons in visual content marketing, please don’t hesitate to tweet me at @tomaslau.

About the Author

Tomas Laurinavicius is a Lithuanian designer, entrepreneur, blogger & digital nomad. Founder of Despreneur and  co-author of Mobile Design Book.

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Announcement of #EspressoMonday

#EspressoMonday Episode Nr.21

Announcement of #EspressoMonday

A pleasant Monday to all creatives and coffee lovers out there who have always been anticipating our #EspressoMonday episodes. We’re extremely grateful for your support as well as the questions you’ve thrown our way.

However, after filming 20 episodes and reading the influx of questions, we felt that it’s time for a change. Before we go any further with this special #EspressoMonday announcement, let’s get that Java down our throat to start another exciting week.

As we mentioned, this will be an exciting week because we will be announcing a new format and a new season not only for our #EspressoMonday episode, but for the 1stWebDesigner format as a whole. One thing is certain – the changes will definitely be for the better.

The Reason Behind the Change

It is always a fact that nothing is permanent – change is always waiting to happen. However, change is necessary, especially in the World Wide Web. We always have to keep up with the change or we will sink into oblivion. Most importantly, though, the change reflects our commitment to always deliver the best available tools and information to make you much better with your craft.

Another reason behind the change is the fact that the influx of questions that come our way is too much to handle already. Moreover, we can only handle certain topics and to answer questions that are way beyond our expertise would be unfair for you.

For one, we are not Wikipedia and, at the same time, we want to give you information or tips that we know really works. We don’t want to pretend that we are experts at something we are not. For example, we want to give you more in-depth topics regarding design and coding as well as the business side of the web design profession.

Simply put, #EspressoMonday won’t be the same #EspressoMonday you’ve been following the past few months.

Bringing in the Experts

If you have noticed, we have already introduced some changes in the website. However, we are happy to announce that instead of the usual one video per week we give you, you will soon see a whole lot of helpful videos every week. Not to mention the articles and the podcasts you’ve already come to anticipate.

Another big change we’re going to implement is that James, our CEO, won’t just be the only one to answer all the questions. Instead, we will be inviting different experts and industry leaders to address each particular question with more in-depth information and examples.

For starters, we’ve already brought you Aaron Walker and Jairek Robbins with their very insightful tips and advice how to succeed as a web design professional.

Conclusion

These are just some of the changes we’re bringing in and hopefully, a lot more. Despite these changes, however, our love for coffee hasn’t waned. So even though there’s a new format to our show, we still encourage you to bring your cup of coffee, not just on Mondays because every day is Espresso Day!

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Best Business Tips on How to Become a Great Web Designer

Learn How to Become a Great Designer from Jairek Robbins

What are the best business tips how to become a great web designer?

I think you’ll agree with us when we say:

It is always a challenge for web designers to find the right methods and strategies how to increase their performance so they can generate more income.

Is it, really?

The good news is, there really are proven tips that will give you an edge how to be a successful web developer and to become one of the leaders in the industry. They are actually not new, but oftentimes overlooked wisdom because they sound and look simple.

In this video interview, Jairek Robbins shares more than just his two cents, but a whole lot of wisdom that will make you a better web designer. You can take all the tips and apply them one at a time in your life or career as a website designer. And in so doing, you will be able to increase your value and naturally expand your client base. So let’s look at each of them.

1. Always find something to learn from people.

To become a successful web designer, you need to accept the fact that there’s always something you can learn from people, whether from their successes or from their mistakes.

2. Have an accurate view how to build a really solid foundation.

Good money will not come in just because you created a nice blog, a website, or a logo. Rather, your success hugely depends on how big your community and platform are as well as the amount of time you invested to bring so much value to people that they trust you enough to learn more from you.

3. Be willing to give your gift to the world no matter what it takes.

Identify what the core talent or gift you want to share with the world and be willing to share it anytime, anywhere that you begin to generate a lot of value from it as well as generate desire for people to start wanting what you have to offer them.

4. Be willing to earn your way to the top.

A lot of marketers and sales people often teach that you need to set a high price in order to find better customers. The reality, however, is you’re not even booked for a project that costs $800 so why demand a $25,000 rate. You have to be willing to start at the bottom and bring value in what you do until people start noticing what you can deliver. Then, you can increase your rate because that’s the only way to go.

5. Just show up and serve.

Show up and serve people. Show up and serve even if they don’t have anything to pay you, but they have the audience and the platform to get your message across. Be willing to deliver again and again.

Give them what they need. Give them what they want. Give them even what they don’t know they need. Do it so well that they begin to brag you to every person they meet. That will make your business grow and expand naturally no matter what industry you are in.

Conclusion

Becoming a great web designer and getting into the place where good money is, requires an investment of your time, money, and effort. You need to have the drive to learn new skills and new tools to make yourself better and better, which adds to your value. When you add value, you also begin to create a brand and a name for yourself as well as increasing your skills and the ability to serve.

And the end result of it?

Your worth increases as well as your confidence because you have the evidence to back the claim of being a great web designer.

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What Are the Top 10 User Onboarding Tools for Your Website?

You know that feeling of stepping out of the airport in a new place that you know nothing about and having too many options to do as your next step?

We all have been there, but what happens when you have a person waiting for you holding a cardboard with your name written on it and handling all the transportation, accommodation and quick adaptation with a smile and sincere hello.

You can’t help but feel connected, safe, and eager to explore.

onboarding header

This is what user onboarding is on the web, a process of orienting and familiarising your first-time user with the environment, giving basic essential directions and increasing the likelihood that new users become successful when adopting your product or service.

User onboarding is important to growth because it helps convert new users into active and engaged users of the product.

How does onboarding process looks like?

The unique thing about user onboarding is that it’s a one time act. The process will be performed only once, right after the user signs up, so it’s challenging to design a flow that is primarily based on the user that knows nothing about your product or service and is easily distracted or bored.

According to Ed Hallen, Co-Founder at Klaviyo, there are three primary goals in building a great onboarding flow.

  1. Takes care of one-time setup: For example, on Twitter, this is uploading a profile picture, entering a description, etc. This process should be painless – and better yet, fun or engaging.
  2. Generates excitement about using the product in the future. Even if people get fully setup, you have to leave them excited enough to come back.  This is one place Instagram excels – it immediately shows me beautiful pictures that make me want to take my own.
  3. Teaches the user how to use the product – by doing, not by words. Google’s introduction to MapsGL is a great example. Switch into MapsGL and you get a tutorial walkthrough that guides you through viewing historical landmarks around the world.

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

According to Whitney Hess, the term onboarding comes from the field of human resources and the common practice of new hire orientation. In that context, the steps in the process are often referred to as accommodate, assimilate, and accelerate—all of which apply quite nicely to how new users ought to be treated in order to bring them into the fold.

Similar to what Ed Hallen said, there are three primary goals that must be performed in order to engage users and make sure to keep them interested.

Accommodating your users means giving them the tools they want and need to use your site to their benefit. Assimilating means helping the user to absorb the culture of the site and, in a sense, come to resemble the existing users. Lastly, accelerating generally applies to delivering the value proposition better and faster.

Top 10 onboarding tools

The main objectives of the following tools and technologies are designed to measure customer sign-up success and empower users with effective self-service tools and content. Effective onboarding flow essentially allows users to have a pleasurable first time experience, lower support costs, and increase revenue for your company.

intercom

Intercom

Intercom is an ultimate all-in-one customer relationship management (CRM) tool that allows you to get to know your users and their browsing habits. It enables you to communicate with them through real-time in-app and email messages.

The onboarding process becomes much easier with Intercom, and converting new users to become active customers is simple. It also allows you to manage all queries in a team inbox with personalized replies and timely support options.

Price: Free to $87 per month

autosend

AutoSend

Personalised and perfectly timed email goes a long way in building genuine and loyal relationships with your customers. AutoSend is a behaviour-based email marketing platform that comes uber handy in your onboarding flow allowing easy and effective in-app or on-screen messaging with email and text capabilities. It takes just five minutes to set up and without coding, you can track events in visual mode and click on elements you want to trigger. AutoSend will create the events for you.

Price: Free to $1,999/month

walkme

WalkMe

How does your first time user get everything at once? All your fancy features and endless use scenarios might overwhelm them and leave them frustrated with your product. WalkMe lets you add a step-by-step walk-thru to your website or app. All you have to do is write your instructions for each step and you’ve just setup an awesome new onboarding process.

Price: Free to custom plan

heap

Heap Analytics

To create a pleasurable onboarding experience you first need to know who you are serving. You also need to know their understanding of your product. Heap Analytics automatically captures every user action in your web or iOS app and lets you measure it. Once you have data, you can start testing iterations and work towards customer happiness and higher retention rate.

Price: Free to $599/month

onboarded

Onboarded

Onboarded claims to be user onboarding as a service, it allows you to easily add a user onboarding flow to your site, with analytics to improve engagement. Onboarded makes it easy to build interactive product tours, guides, and user onboardng flows. Great tool to get started with user onboarding.

Price: Free for 10k data points/month

olark

Olark

No one can replace human interaction. The power of talking to a real human being is still one of the most effective relationship building resources and you should think of making your customers happy with a possibility to talk to a representative who’s there when your customers need it. When automated onboaring scenario fails, users can turn to real people to talk about their struggles. Powerful.

Price: $17/month to $243/month

zopim

Zopim

Zopim is another live chat software that lets you start and respond to conversations with your users. You can answer questions or even guide them through the onboarding process step-by-step ensuring the best experience possible. Make sure to learn from manual onboarding processes to optimise your primary strategy and automate the majority of the process.

Price: Free to $55/month

tutorialize

Tutorialize

Tutorialize powers website tutorials that guide visitors around your site. It is literally ready in minutes, totally customizable and can significantly increase customer engagement. You can use it to onboard new customers or new staff members, and your developers will love the flexibility when it comes to customization.

Price: $14/month to $59/month

onboardingplugin

CM OnBoarding WordPress Plugin Description

This onboarding plugin will come handy for WordPress lovers. It’s a fully-featured guidance and engagement plugin that allows you to improve the user experience by providing easy to use, accessible and intuitive help widgets which can include audio, video and text. This is a great tool to assist your site users and answer their questions, walk them thought the site, improve user experience and user satisfaction, improve your conversion and more.

Price: Free to $75

kissmetrics

KISSmetrics

Numbers don’t lie. KISSmetrics is an extremely smart tool for tracking, analysing and optimising your digital marketing performance. Find out how your users behave, where they abandon your website and start improving your product with onboarding flow. This tool will show you what’s working and what’s not across all campaigns, mobile, and web.

Price: $200/month to $2,000/month

Successful examples

Onboarding flow is a tailored and ever changing experience that depends on product, target audience and many different factors that may be more or less important for other companies.

That is why top sites focus on steps they know are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for user retention. By focusing on these KPIs, onboarding experiences are designed to set the user up to experience value from the product quickly. This increases their probability of remaining engaged.

Below are some examples of successful onboarding flows that proved to make hundreds of millions of users happy.

User Onboarding is a collection of effective and successful onboarding practises by the well known companies and this blog analyses and documents the processes to give you an insight into what works and what doesn’t. Learn how world’s most popular web apps do it!

how-twitter-onboards-new-users

User Onboarding breaks down Twitter’s onboarding proocess to show you how to guide and engage first time users.

How Twitter Onboards New Users

Twitter has north of 270 million active users, and their previous onboarding flow brought in more than two thirds of that over the span of three years. That leaves some mighty big shoes to fill for their brand new flow – wanna see how it stacks up?

how-evernote-onboards-new-users

Learn how Evernote onboards new users utilising smart marketing techniques.

 

 

Evernote provides a suite of products and merchandise aimed to help you better “collect and find everything that matters.” Their multi-faceted product offering led to some unique onboarding challenges – there’s lots to learn from with this one!

How Evernote Onboards New Users

how-pinterest-onboards-new-users

Pinterest onboarding flow utilises visuals and human psychology to create a desire for the tool.

How Pinterest Onboards New Users

With its 70 million users, Pinterest would be one of the 20 biggest countries in the world – bigger than France or Italy, even! Wanna see how they managed to get so many people up and running?

reallygoodemails

Really Good Emails is a curated collection of effective emails that convert well.

Really Good Emails

Email is still one oft he most used and effective marketing channel and you must utilise it in your onboarding experience. However, people get tons of emails everyday, so how you distinguish yourself makes a lot of difference to how successful you will become. Check out this inspiring gallery of emails for all possible scenarios.

patterntap

PatternTap is a huge visual collection of curated patterns ranging from websites to web and mobile apps.

PatternTap

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. When designing your onboarding flow, take a look at what’s happening around. Find inspiration from other products and services that has been proven to work and simply adapt. Analyse and learn from other designers on PatternTap. It’s collecting specific designs and user interaction patterns where designers can learn what works well and why.

goodui

A Good User Interface is a curated collection of techniques and practises that have high conversion rates and are easy to use.

GoodUI

GoodUI, short for Good User Interface, is a project of user interface designer Jakub Linowski. A good user interface according to the creator of the project is usable and has high conversion rate. Ever growing list of UI ideas features techniques and experiments you can utilise to increase your website conversion rate or customer happiness with A/B testing.

Conclusion

User onboarding is in no way rocket science, but it takes time and practise to get it right. When dealing with people and the ever changing online culture, you can’t predict how your users will react to your products or services but by gradually working on it and iterating your onboarding flow, you will get better at attracting and, most importantly, keeping more users in your tribe.

Consider using some of the tools in this article to track, analyse, measure and improve your onboarding experience to save on costs, increase customer happiness and achieve better results.

I am always open to feedback and suggestions, as I work with many startups I’d like to hear your experiences as well as the lessons and tools you use for user onboarding. Catch me on Twitter @tomaslau.

About the Author

Tomas Laurinavicius is a Lithuanian designer, entrepreneur, blogger & digital nomad. Founder of Despreneur and  co-author of Mobile Design Book.

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How To Deal With Competition In The Freelance Business And Respect Yourself

The Podcast Episode with Nicholas Tart

Nowadays, there are already a lot of opportunities for freelance web designers compared to a few years back. However, there is still the misconception of not spending a lot of money on freelance design and development simply because some clients think that freelancers are not professionals.

Fortunately, not everyone has this misconception, and one of them is Nicholas Tart, AwesomeWeb Project Manager. Being a former freelancer himself, Nick understands the pains, struggles, and frustrations of freelance web designers.

That understanding has guided Nicholas as the Project Manager of AwesomeWeb. He knows that while design is the top priority of designers, they still need to earn a living. That is why AwesomeWeb aims to be different than the other job marketplaces as it connects designers to projects that pay well.

The Importance of Having the Right Mindset

Nick talked about his experience when he first started as a freelancer. Just like everybody else in the freelancing business, his approach is pretty much the same – get clients and send them an invoice after the job is done. Sure, he gets clients who pay between $2K and $3K, but they come in trickles – like a case of getting lucky.

His view about freelancing changed after talking with a friend who works as a web designer at a big agency. He then started thinking how to work as a freelancer and run an agency, even when it was just him and a couple of contractors he had hired.

What he did was instead of charging for hours, he charged for hours so if the job would take him 50 hours to finish, he would multiply that with his hourly rate of $75 and charge the client $3750. He also divided his time into 15-minute increments, so if he spent three minutes doing some changes in a website, that would charge around $18 by dividing $75 by four.

With that, his mindset changed from that being of an employee to being an entrepreneur. An employee mindset can simply be likened to how schools taught you. That is, you sit quietly, memorize any information given you, and regurgitate that information when exam time comes. This kind of mindset will definitely sabotage your mindset as a freelancer.

An entrepreneur mindset, on the other hand, calls the shots, owns up to his responsibilities, and designs his own success. If you don’t think like one, you become a liability because it limits your potential. However, there are practical ways how to develop this kind of mindset.

Entrepreneurs solve problems first and design next.

Entrepreneurs are not really worried about job descriptions, but they view themselves as problem solvers first. And in order to solve problems, they are not afraid of getting their hands dirty and will complete the necessary tasks to bring them closer to their goals.

Clients hire you to design a website for them. But why are they doing that? What is the underlying problem that drove them to hire you?

Web design professionals who have an entrepreneurial mindset will try to figure that problem out, within reason, to help their clients. If you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask your clients because they will be more than happy to do that.

Entrepreneurs use client feedback to improve their business.

An employee depends on performance reviews, while an entrepreneur focuses on launching a product that is viable, getting feedback, and using it to improve the product even more. A web designer who has this kind of mindset understands that they will have to change several courses of actions in order to find a winning formula.

Entrepreneurs take responsibility over their successes and mistakes.

Your greatest and most powerful testimonial as a freelance web designer is your reputation. A good reputation leads to higher rates, referrals, and opportunities to work with dream clients. However, it is in your hands to shape your reputation well. Blaming mistakes on the externals, or even your clients, are a huge recipe for failure.

How to Position Yourself as a Freelancer

What is the difference between a freelancer who charges $40/hour to a freelancer who charges $80/hour?

This was the question which Nicholas answered by saying that it is not only about the quality you bring to the table, but also on how you position yourself as a freelancer.

Positioning yourself correctly as a freelancer means you need to be able to pinpoint who your perfect customer is. Once you know who your perfect customer is, the next thing to find out is what would trigger them or fire them up to choose you over other freelance web designers in the marketplace.

This can be quite tricky, most especially in terms of pricing. How will you be able to convince your client to hire you even if your rate is higher than the other person?

In his podcast interview, Paul Jarvis mentioned how he was able to charge $9000 per client or per project, and his secret is by serving only one type of client well. In his blog, he also mentioned that the right way to position yourself as a freelancer is by thinking yourself as a leader and not as a laborer. This simply means that you have to commoditize your skills and focus on how much value your solutions and expertise are on the table.

To show his dedication to such principles, Nick and the AwesomeWeb team help web designers who work in their platform do just that. They guide them by building a portfolio which highlights their expertise, helping them understand who their perfect customer is, and most importantly, connecting the perfect client to the perfect freelancer.

In short, AwesomeWeb is dedicated to helping their members know exactly who they are, what type of work they want to do, and get as many clients for that type of work. And part of that dedication includes developing their marketplace to benefit the freelancers even more.

Conclusion

There are still misconceptions regarding how freelancers are being viewed. These are due to several factors coming from clients and even freelancers themselves. However, you can challenge, even change, these misconceptions by having a change of mindset first. Respect and change come from within first, then it manifests and bring change to the people and things around you. By heeding the advice of experts and industry leaders, you can soon find success as a freelancer with your respect still intact.

 

 

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8 Conversion Rate Optimization Tips for Checkout Pages

For most of us, the checkout process of a website means nothing more than just something we need to go through in order to buy something online. For e-commerce experts, however, the checkout process (and more importantly, the conversion rate drops) are nightmares that keep them up at night. Improving the conversion rate with a minimal 1% can actually turn out to be a huge increase in income at the end of the month.

checkout header

Optimizing conversion rates is a job of its own. It is very unlikely for a web designer to be an expert at it, considering marketing professionals spend years learning to improve them and many of them still don’t get there in time before the web trends change. I will be honest with you right from the start: there is a lot of hard work behind learning how to work in this area and getting good at it. The good part is that there are not many web designers out there who are. If you get good at it, you will have a huge advantage over your competition.

Today we look at several user experience elements you can implement in your websites to improve conversion rates. This can turn out to become a better view for you when you look at the bottom line of your bank account.

Limit the clicks

Cutting the checkout process to a limited amount of clicks can’t do anything else than increase the conversion rate. It is common sense that users, whenever they hold their credit card in their hands, are very sensible. The smallest detail can make them put the card back in their wallet and leave. If there is something you take from today’s article, it’s this:

If you want users to buy, you have to make it easy.

Now repeat this in your head a couple of times – if you want your users to buy, you have to make it easy. There have been multiple studies (like this one or this one) showing that single page checkouts have higher conversion rates. You might argue that the “single vs. multiple-page” debate is counterproductive unless you know your audience. I would disagree. Regardless of who your audience is, no one would rather have to go through a more complicated checkout process. No one. If you limit the amount of clicks and make it easy, you are better than many of the competitors out there.

Choosing a single-page funnel is without any doubt best and there is no better way to prove this than looking at the A/B tests that were done previously.

Checkout on Dribbble

Simple check-out process on Dribbble

Don’t ask me to sign up

You found a nice product within a decent price range. You research it online and get ready to buy it. You go to their website and add it to cart. You click on “buy”. And then they ask you to create an account if you want to buy the product. But I don’t want to create an account only for the sake of being in your database and you having access to my mail. I just want the product. No upsale, no newsletters, no marketing targeting me. Just give me the damn product.

If you don’t want my money, there is no easier way to let me know than asking me to sign up in order to buy. This is one of the things that makes me cringe. Many years ago I was looking for a fitness tracker. There were not so many of them on the market as there are today. When I finally found the right one (which was also one of the few and the only decent choice), I headed to their website to buy it. They asked me to sign up. I didn’t. Today, I’m using a product from their competitor.

You should always allow users to buy without signing up. If you really want them in your database for whatever reason, there are two options of doing it. The more aggressive is creating an account at every purchase with the email and a random password. When you send the order receipt per mail, send the account information as well. If the user opts in, that is his choice! You don’t force him to do anything he doesn’t want to.

The second way of approaching it is asking users to create an account on the “thank you” page, after they purchase. Most of them won’t, but if you show them what the benefits are, some might. Tell them, for instance, that they can track their order if they create an account. That’s an added benefit. I would sign up (albeit with my “spam mail”) just to be able to track the package.

Another good reason for doing it after the purchase is that at that point in time you only need limited input from the user: the password. You already have everything else. If you ask them to sign up at the beginning, they will feel they have to give you a lot of information. But if you delay the signing up, it won’t feel the same, because users only need to type in a new password.

Regardless of how you do it, always give the user a choice. Don’t put him in the corner and ask him to create an account if he wants your product. You should be thankful he is willing to buy it in the first place. Don’t try to stop him. In the end, you might miss on a lot of money.

Free shipping?

If your web shop offers free shipping, this is a biggie. “Free shipping” are probably the two words that brought most revenue to online sellers in the past decade.

“For whatever reason, a free shipping offer that saves a customer $6.99 is more appealing to many than a discount that cuts the purchase price by $10″

David Bell

Statistics show most people leave products in a cart without buying them because shipping and handling costs are too high. A well-known study from UPS shows that a whopping 44% of the users who didn’t finish a purchase chose not to do it because of these costs. Just imagine being able to sell to so many more people, your income would go through the roof.

If you offer free shipping, make sure to highlight it during the checkout process and during the final confirmation (if you choose to have one). If you don’t offer free shipping, you might want to A/B test it for a couple of weeks to see how much your income grows.

Free returns and secure payments are also two elements you could emphasize during the checkout process. While many people already know how to look for a secure connection, some still don’t. They will always be afraid that someone will steal their precious credit card details, so making it obvious to them that this is not likely to happen can only help you and your conversion rate.

Nail the forms

As I recently wrote in my latest article, unless you create amazing forms that improve the experience of the users, you won’t have much success with checkout processes. Conversion funnels rely heavily on input from the users. Frustration, which is a thing I often find myself feeling when having to fill in a form, is not something you want your users to feel when they sit with their credit card and are ready to purchase.

Web form with labels

Forms are an important part of the check-out process

You should take a look at the whole article, but for the sake of making it easier for you, I will summarize here what is important when you try to improve your forms.

Ask only for the information you need. In Europe it is actually illegal to ask for more information from the users just for the sake of having it. If you don’t use this information for purchase-related operations, not only it might bring you legal issues, but it will also annoy your users. Fine-tuning your labels and sticking to a single-column layout are two other tips that I speak about in the article. They are also really important for increasing the speed of completion.

You need to optimize your forms for mobile, no doubt about it. Keep in mind that a lot of purchases are made from portable devices and unless you create responsive forms, you will not be able to sell to as many mobile users as you could.

Have I added the product to the cart?

Noticeable microinteractions can make or break your e-commerce website. For instance, always let a user know he added a product to the cart. You would be surprised to learn how few websites are good at this. Don’t get me wrong, most of them try to let the user know, but it doesn’t always work as well as it should. It should be as obvious as it can get that they’ve added something to the cart.

When a user adds a product to the cart, she should be able to quickly move on to the checkout page, but you shouldn’t force her to. If she wants to continue shopping, let her do it. This should be the default setting, but always keep the “checkout” page at a click’s distance.

Add to Cart confirmation

On this webshop you are not in doubt about what you’ve added to your cart or about how to purchase.

Persistent cart

If a user added something to the cart but never got herself to buy it, you would really be stupid if you let the cart expire or clear itself on refresh. Studies show that if you persist and retarget them with ads, users will come back and pick up where they left off. Moreover, they might even be happy that you remembered their cart. The reasons behind them leaving can be different. Some might not be sure about the price, while others might have been caught in the middle of a busy day and simply forgot to checkout. You can never know. Trying to persuade the user to finish the payment process can’t do much damage, but it can increase your conversion rates a lot.

Ask for credit card information last

Another small trick you can use during the checkout process is asking for the credit card information last – after the name and the address. This might not make too much sense, but Cialdini’s principles of persuasion show that users feel they need to finish something they started. Some users might be reluctant to put their credit card information first, but if you ask for their name and address and they give them to you, you might get closer to a sell.

Plasso landing page

Plasso asks for the name and e-mail first and only afterwards for the credit card info.

Testimonials

Conversion rates are not only about design though. Sometimes other small details can increase them by a large margin. One of these details are the testimonials, which are very useful and powerful for when users are not sure if they want to buy a specific product. Testimonials always have the power of convincing a user that a product is worth paying for. You need to employ this carefully, though. Just as positive testimonials can increase the conversion rates, negative testimonials can also decrease them.

Great search functionality

If you want to make it easy for your users, as I mentioned before, you can at least implement a decent search function. This is often a pain point for users. They often search for products and are not able to find what they are looking for because the search function is poorly implemented.

A good idea for the ones who still don’t get it is to show users what they search for. Many search engines show related products instead of the ones that users search for and this is annoying and a waste of time.

Windup

E-commerce is about much more than having a good set of products to sell. Users are so complex that it is impossible to sell to all of them, but there are a few tips and tricks you can follow to improve your conversion rate – sometimes by a lot. Today we took a look at the most valuable tips and tricks for e-commerce checkout processes. If you follow these best practices you should be on your way to improving your conversion rates by some percents. It might not sound a lot in the beginning, but remember that even a single percent can mean a lot in income if you have a large webshop.

About the Author
Christian Vasile likes to call himself a web architect because he believes that web design is not just about the aesthetics, but also about the whole user experience. Guided by this, he creates simple, usable, easy-to-use and aesthetically pleasant interfaces for mobile and desktop, as well as doing branding work for clients all over the world.

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What’s The Difference Between UI And UX Design?

#EspressoMonday Episode Nr.20

What’s The Difference Between UI And UX Design?

This is another special episode of EspressoMonday because we have Christian Vasile talk about the difference between UI and UX design. And instead of espresso, Christian has ketchup with him. However, it should not stop you from grabbing your own cup of java as we delve into UX and UI design.

Two of the most often used words in the web design industry are UX and UI, which stands for user experience and user interface. Although they sound simple, there have been a lot of misconceptions and complications regarding their differences causing quite a stir in the design community.

The Difference in a Nutshell

Defining UI and UX is quite easy. UI or user interface is the visual side of design. It is what you do in Photoshop or Illustrator. UX or user experience, on the other hand, is what you do outside. How do you make your users feel about the product? How do you make them feel when they use the product? Are they happy? Angry? Satisfied?

Another way of putting it is UX design is the process which enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty. This can be done by improving the usability, pleasure, and ease of use which happens when the customer interact with the product.

Therefore, the job of a UX designer also involves being a marketer as he develops the development and improvement of the quality which satisfies the customer as well as the business owner.

UI design, on the other hand, is similar to graphic design, but sometimes extend to brand design and even front end development. It is responsible for translating the the strength and visual assets of the brand to a product’s interface to make the user experience much better.

The Ketchup Metaphor

The best way to illustrate the difference between UX and UI is by using the ketchup metaphor.

A few years back, there was a ketchup company that designed a beautiful bottle for its ketchup. It had a wide bottom with a thick and narrow neck. It is designed to be always placed upright inside the refrigerator. However, when there’s little ketchup left in the bottle, you have to shake the bottle hard in order to get the ketchup out of the bottle making the process a bit annoying to the user.

The ketchup company learned about this and they redesigned the bottle. The new bottle has a wider top which enables you to place it upside down without getting toppled. So when there’s little ketchup left in the bottle, all you have to do is place it upside down and when you need it, it is easier to squeeze the ketchup out of the bottle. The users were happy about it.

The new design not only solved the problem, but it improved the experience of the user as made them loyal to the product. In terms of the aesthetics or the UI, the new design looked more beautiful and more useful.

Conclusion

Both UX and UI are interrelated and interwoven tightly. One cannot exist without the other. Moreover, they should never run on their own but should coordinate in order to achieve success in your design.

Have a wonderful #ESpressoMonday!

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The Best Work Life Balance Tips to Achieve Significance as a Web Designer

Learn Work Life Balance Tips from Aaron Walker

What are the best work life balance tips to achieve significance as a web designer?

One of the most common struggles every working person, whether a freelancer or not, faces is how to achieve balance between work and life as well as significance while making money. It’s almost impossible for these two to meet halfway and even if they do, they seem to be strange bedfellows.

That is why it is not surprising to find out how often people scour the Web for how-tos and selin order to help them achieve what seems to be an impossible feat for the present-day professional.

A Word from the Wise

Looking at the quote above, you might scratch your head and wonder how in the world can it be the tip to achieve work life balance we’re talking about. Take a closer and you will realize that these are wise words meant to let you re-think and re-assess your life.

Where are you at right now? Are you in the fast lane just making money and forgetting that there’s more to life than amassing wealth?

Aaron Walker  explained how tragedy made him re-think his priorities and was quick to point out that there’s nothing wrong in aiming for wealth, but you have to be aware of keeping the balance lest you forget to find the significance in what you’re doing.

What Real Help Looks Like

Balance isn’t just about how you’re able to efficiently juggle your time between work and other aspects of your life. It is when you give yourself to help others beyond the minimal requirements can you not only achieve balance, but significance as well.

Generosity – helping people using your time, money, or effort – has a way of breaking down the distinction of what’s work and what’s not. There is also a certain joy in being able to help people achieve their fullest and help them to an extent you want to be helped yourself. It is the kind of help done in obedience rather than as a requirement.

As Aaron Walker wisely quoted, “I don’t want to help others because it required of me, but I want to do things significantly because I am being obedient to the things I need to do just as a human being.”

Conclusion

Real balance can be achieved when you are able to find significance as well as help others find their significance in life. Even if you have helped just one person as long as his life has been transformed, the time you have invested is never a waste.

For balance, after all, is when you are able to make a significant difference in the people and the world around you.

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9 Things Every Good Project (Portfolio) Page Needs

You’re probably losing out on clients just because your portfolio doesn’t give them all of the information they need. Based on what we’ve learned from running AwesomeWeb, this is what clients look for most.

portfolio_needs

In the same way that a logo represents a brand, your portfolio represents your personal brand. If you get it right, you can have clients forever.

As a freelancer, your biggest struggle is finding good, consistent clients. But very few freelancers take the time to craft their portfolio or even consider, “what do clients want to know about me?”

When working on your portfolio site design, think about the elements your future client should be able to find. Many designers make the mistake of designing a creative portfolio page, but forget to answer important questions their client will have, when he considers hiring the designer.

Today we’re going to look at the lessons we have learned from analyzing member profiles on the AwesomeWeb job search site. We know these improvements will get more eyeballs to your project page, because we see which designers get most client inquiries and why. Let’s start and take a look at some graphic web design portfolio tips.

Oh, and stay tuned for a special announcement at the end.

Live Chat - A Design for Help Desk & Support by AwesomeWeb member Masum Rana

Live Chat – A Design for Help Desk & Support page by AwesomeWeb member Masum Rana

1. Make Visuals Not Only Beautiful, But Detailed

A picture says more than a thousand words. In the design world, visuals are especially important. Clients will see the visuals first and if he likes what he sees, he will continue digging for more details. Make sure you build that interest in clients with a beautiful presentation of your project.

Different designers and developers have different specialties – your task is to find a way to represent your skills the best way possible. If you are a logo designer – ensure you add a high quality picture of logo and add black and white variations. Put that logo on business cards or packaging designs to show you are a professional.

If you are a developer, find a way to showcase your expertise. If what you have built cannot be presented well in picture, make sure you explain in the page the importance for the client to check live website and keep explaining your expertise on the rest of the page.

Tip: If you are building websites, don’t just include a beautiful header with a nice image in the background. Create a high quality snapshot of the whole website, so client can immediately see the details. Only header snapshot doesn’t give enough information about your design skills to the client.

These are the details you should have under each project. Example by AwesomeWeb member Hussain Lemonwala

These are the details you should have under each project. Example by AwesomeWeb member Hussain Lemonwala

2. How Much Time It Took To Finish a Project?

Clients want to know how quickly you will be able to finish the work for them, they want to know exactly what to expect. Most designers and developers don’t even give approximate completion time, because they say it always depends on the project.

But you need to look from the client’s perspective – your client wants to know approximate details as fast as possible. Maybe he needs to sell his project idea to his partners or his boss. Your client needs to know how much time it will take and how much it will cost. You must compromise and give estimates very early, because your client wants everything done yesterday.

Club BevMo Mobile App project page by AwesomeWeb member Larry Sawyer is a great example how to present your work and include useful details.

Club BevMo Mobile App project page by AwesomeWeb member Larry Sawyer is a great example how to present your work and include useful details.

3. How Much Project You Created Cost?

I would say that your client’s main criteria will be these three points. Do they like what they see, how much time it will take and how much will it cost? It’s up to you how you price your services, there are different clients for different designers, but be clear about your pricing.

Clients want to know the answers to these three questions as fast as they can and you will do a great service to them if you do that clearly. This way you will attract the perfect client and will not waste time compromising or answering the same questions over and over again.

Marcus Handa shares some details about the project when doing the redesign.

Marcus Handa shares some details about the project when doing the redesign.

4. What Are Some Challenges You Solved? What Did You Improve?

Okay, so the first three points were cake, everything else is the icing on the cake. And we all know how much we enjoy the icing, but it’s still not the cake. Before you move on, make sure you answer these three questions very well on your portfolio page.

Now, when the client has got the answers to his most immediate questions, he will want to dig deeper and get more details.

Explain what were the biggest challenges you solved in the project? What was the process you went through to come up with the finished result? When you share your ideas, you show your expertise (or lack of it) and build trust.

BeHappy Co. links to the finished website as everybody should on his portfolio page.

BeHappy Co. links to the finished website as everybody should on his portfolio page.

5. Give A Link To A Finished, Live Website

Why, oh, why so many creatives don’t share a link to a live website – a place where your work is used? If you cannot show the live example, the client will think in his head – “Is this a real project?”.

Just do it – if you are a logo designer, include a link to website where logo is used, if you are icon designer – include a link where your icons are used.

Matt Woodart shares how his client approached him and what steps he followed to finish the project. Writeup doesnt need to be fancy!

Matt Woodart shares how his client approached him and what steps he followed to finish the project. Writeup doesnt need to be fancy!

6. Do A Creative Writeup About Each Project

Share the history how this project came to life. Maybe you have an interesting story to share how many revisions you did, how the client found you, how you worked for several nights and days for a project just to get it out on time. Give more details, share short, fun stories and show your personality. Clients are humans with emotions, they will relate to you better if you open up first.

Taher Noorani clearly explains his role in the project - lead designer.

Taher Noorani clearly explains his role in the project – lead designer.

7. What Exactly Was Your Role In The Project?

If you didn’t complete the whole project on your own, explain what it is exactly you did. When you add the role, you allow your client to understand if it’s possible for him to find one person, who will complete the whole project or he needs to hire somebody else as well.

Clients will have more trust in a designer, who knows his strengths and weaknesses. Less is more.

If you were partnering up with another developer to complete a project, share that as well. You might both get hired.

Make it easy for clients to find you by sharing the skills you have.

Make it easy for clients to find you by sharing the skills you have. Check AwesomeWeb skills directory.

8. What Skills Did You Use When Working On The Project? What Industry Was It?

This is where you can share more technical terms for tech savvy clients, who know that they need to find a Ruby on Rails developer or a UI expert. Explain what programming languages or software you used on the project.

As a side note, include what industry the project you completed was involved in. Your client is more likely to hire you if you have already done a similar kind of work for another client in the same industry. They will know then, that you understand more about the industry than any other designer the client would hire.

Share your skills to make it easier for clients to find you wherever you are.

AwesomeWeb drives traffic to your profile allowing you to focus on what you do best.

9. Lastly..Do You Drive Traffic To Your Portfolio Page?

I congratulate you if you have taken into consideration all of these things in your portfolio page! You are definitely standing out from the crowd right now (if your work is good)! But why so many brilliant designers and developers still aren’t getting enough clients?

There is no way clients can hire you, if they cannot find you!

There is no point of having a great portfolio page if nobody is going to visit it. You must drive traffic to it and that’s where AwesomeWeb comes in place. On AwesomeWeb we work hard to make sure we help designers and developers to improve their member profile pages so they show up on search results, for clients who are most likely to hire them.

We are responsible for driving traffic to your member profile as you are responsible for answering possible questions the client might have when he finds you. Driving traffic to your portfolio site is a time consuming task and that’s why we suggest you to join AwesomeWeb. You are a great designer or developer, we are great in marketing. We connect great clients with great designers.

Portfolio Search is Here!

At the beginning of the article, I told you we have a special announcement from AwesomeWeb. Today we are releasing portfolio search, which will help clients find you even better. If you have great visuals – if you are a graphical, web designer you will love portfolio search.

This is how it looks:

But hey, go ahead and check it for yourself! Get some inspiration or do some competitive analysis!

But hey, go ahead and check it for yourself! Get some inspiration or do some competitive analysis!

As a freelancer, portfolio search will also be a great source of inspiration.

See what other great freelancers are charging and how much time it took to complete. Find these 9 questions answered on all project pages. This is great for freelancers who struggle to get clients and price their services.

Go ahead – try portfolio search right now! Learn more about other freelancers and tell me what you think!

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How Much Does A WordPress Website Cost? How Much To Charge For It?

#EspressoMonday Episode Nr.19

How much does a WordPress website cost or how much do I charge for it?

Every Monday is a great day because of #EspressoMonday, but today’s episode is much more special because we have Brent Weaver of Ugurus to address our question of the day. So before you get lost in the discussion, let’s get some espresso down our throat to complete this awesome Monday ritual and start the week right.

As already indicated in our title and headline, we will delve into another common question or dilemma faced by web designers. The question might often be asked by those who are still starting in the freelance world of web design. On the other hand, it can also be the dilemma of those who’ve been in the business for quite some time but still struggling about pricing, especially when faced with clients who want a much cheaper website.

The Price is Right

One of the dreams every web designer wish for is that they will be able to quote a price that won’t be contested by their clients. When we’re talking of price here, we are not talking about going cheap but getting the right price concurrent to the value you are bringing into the table.

So how do you charge your clients? How do you convert the effort and the time you’ve put in the project into money?

Unfortunately, you don’t just come up with the price in your head just because you want it. For example, not because $1K sounds nice, you’d charge your client $1K. On the other hand, pricing is not that complicated as you might want to think. In fact, it should not give you a sleepless night or cause you stress for that matter.

To be honest, however, this question is relative. It is like asking someone how long the string is without the specifics. That is because pricing depends on a lot of variables – the type of customer you have, the market they are in, the requirements, what you’re going to do for the client.

Let’s say someone calls you and tells you that they need a website set up on WordPress, you can imagine yourself calculating the numbers in your head. Is it worth a hundred dollars, a thousand dollars, or more?

If you are vying in the commodity space and your client comes to you with a certain specification, like how many pages, what type of content, or functionality, you might find yourself stuck with a few hundred dollars.

This amount might sound fair but let’s face it, it is not the amount that will help you achieve financial security. It might not even pay the running bills you have. So comes the question, how do you make a website that is worth thousands of dollars?

Building the 10K Website

In Ugurus, we have a program we call the 10K Boot Camp where we teach and challenge web professionals how to sell their thousand dollar website. What does it take for a website to be worth tens of thousands of dollars?

What goes into the formula is not really mystical or something new. Rather it is a combination of consultation, strategy, and vision to help your clients achieve the website beyond the specs they want. It also includes five important elements called design, development, content, strategy, and tactics.

When you always put these five factors in consideration every time you build a website, it doesn’t really matter what type of template you purchase on ThemeForest to build that website.

Design

We always say it here in the 1WD community that websites are not just about the aesthetics. In fact. it’s just like a mantra we always tell community members that a good website isn’t just about how beautiful it looks to the visitor. Instead, when you design a website, you should grasp the vision of your client – what is he trying to achieve with that website you are building? Therefore, you design the website with your client’s goal in mind as well as the thinking whether the website will convert well or not.

Development

When you think of development, you have to make sure that the website you are building is well-developed and well-tested. With all the different platforms and devices, these days, your client would want a responsive website. Does it work on different browsers? Does it function well on different devices?

Content

Content  is one of the most overlooked elements by web designers. They often think that as designers, they are just responsible for the technicalities as well as the aesthetics. So what happens is, they spend a lot of time making the design look great and when deadline is almost around the corner, they just fill in the blanks. So what the clients get is a great looking website with substandard content.

You will be surprised that you can earn more and command a higher price as a web professional if you know how to write. Why not? Call it beauty and brains – and we all know that it is a very lethal combination. Not to mention, very profitable as well.

Strategy

When you finished building your client a website, it does not stop there. You add more value on the table as well as your pricing when you help them develop a strategy for their online business. Who wouldn’t want great advice, especially if it means generating more income for your business? It will also send your clients a message that you are a professional who knows what he or she is doing.

Tactics

This includes different tactics that leads to more traffic and higher conversion rates. What kind of marketing tactics will work for this website and the industry your client is in?

Conclusion

Calculating the cost of the website isn’t just about how good it looks, but it involves different vital elements. The five factors mentioned above are very basic, but they are your foundation towards creating a thousand-dollar website. They are also your foundation towards a secure and fulfilling career as a web design professional.

Happy #EspressoMonday!

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