Web designers and developers are the heart and soul of the Internet. If you have skills in web design or web development you can make a growing income on the Internet. The secret to making money with your web design and development skills is to include web hosting in your web design or web development quotes or standard packages.
You can make up to $50 per month per site, hosting your client sites. And this is much easier than you think. You don't need to get a dedicated server and you don't need to worry about trying to compete with web hosting companies. Most people think about just getting a web site up, and the first people they think of is web designers. Terms with "web designer"get more searches per day than terms with "hosting". People are looking for web designers to get their sites on the Internet.
Web designers and developers can incorporate the sale of hosting into their web development and design projects. As a web designer you can bill your customers for the hosting fees within the design and then host the account for a year or on a month to month basis. You will be surprised at how much extra income you can generate from your web design customers.
Providing hosting for your web design clients will give you greater assurance that your customers will come back to you to make changes or update their site. This allows you to keep generating income from your work and customer base. Let's look at some numbers, and how billing for hosting on top of your web design work can make you some serious money. Let's assume you get paid $500 - $1000+ for a site design. If you charge your client for hosting as well you could generate up to $50 extra per site, per month in hosting fees. You could make up to $1100 to $1600 per site, per year instead of just $500 or $1000 per site. With 100 clients this could equate to $110,000 or $160,000 per year instead of $50,000 - $100,000 per year. On top of this, remember your client is more likely to come back to you to update and maintain your site which means more money for you, for easy work.
With a little effort and focus you could generate a very healthy income in your web design business. With tools like Joomla, WordPress and other highly customizable content management systems you can make the hard work incredibly efficient so you can focus solely on the design. Right now there are a myriad of powerful web applications, content management systems and shopping carts you can quickly install in your reseller web hosting account and produce a design for very quickly. There are also a myriad of ready to run, specialist applications written in ASP, ASP.Net and PHP that you can bolt on to your customers site, customize the design for and really impress your them. With these easily installable web applications you can very quickly impress your customers and raise the value of your web design fees - and the fact that they are specialist customized web applications you have put together, your web design customer will be happy to pay your hosting fees.
For your design business you don't need anything fancy, you don't need dedicated servers or specialists billing or server management systems. You can utilize the cost efficiencies of shared hosting to maximize your profit. One way to do it and a lot of designers do this, is get a new shared hosting account for each site they design and charge the customer more than they pay.
The better way to do it and really maximize your profit is to get a reseller hosting account where you can host all your customer sites in the one hosting account. This works out much cheaper than getting a separate account for each customer site. A good reseller account will give you far more room to move and even greater cost effectiveness which means even more profit and less effort.
Getting up and running with a good reseller hosting account is easy and incredibly affordable. For just a few hundred dollars per year you can host 50 or more sites. A quick search on reseller hosting will give you plenty to choose from. In our experience Windows hosting reseller packages are a good idea as a Windows reseller hosting account will give you the freedom and choice to run ASP, ASP.Net as well as PHP sites with MySQL or SQL Server databases. Linux hosting is incredibly efficient and gives you some of the cheap hosting options available but does not support ASP or ASP.Net applications. For an extra few dollars a month you can get Windows hosting and dramatically increase your options for your web design customers from a wider array of available web applications and freely available code in ASP and ASP.Net.
With Windows hosting you can use all your favorite web design tools and you'll have the vast resources of Microsoft development products like Visual Studio at your disposal. As a reseller looking at Windows hosting accounts make sure the host offers Multiple IIS sites and not just unlimited domains. To properly host multiple sites on Windows each site needs to have it's own entry in IIS (Internet Information Server - the Windows web server). Many hosts say unlimited domains and what they really mean is running unlimited domains on one site. All you get with unlimited domains on one site, is your multiple domains show the same site or requires you to write code to detect the domain and redirect to a directory. This is not a great way to run your customer sites.
With each site having it's own entry IIS means you can have separate application settings, assign it to different application pools and maintain separate log files. This means you can have more control, more flexibility and produce a much better solution for your client. Being able to put your customer sites in separate application pools means that if one of your customer sites get's busy or some crazy bug causes a problem it will isolate it to just that site and you wont end up with all your customers screaming at you that their sites are down.
After 12 years working on the internet. Through booms, through busts, good times and bad times web designers and developers quietly rule the web. Businesses of all sizes look for web designers first and in our experience they really don't want to know too much about hosting. As a designer you can save your clients from the complexity and confusion of hosting and make money from it. To make money from hosting your client work you really don't need to leap out and set yourself up as a web hosting provider with billing systems, hosting plans and support systems and processes. Start off by hosting all your sites in one reseller hosting package and you'll be surprised at just how much extra money you can make for very little effort. The best thing of all you can keep your focus on why you became a web designer - designing web sites!
By Michael Guilfoyle
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