(Now you can make professional looking proposals that land you the contracts and get you the business.)
These tools will help you create a successful web site on time, and on budget. Your client will be happy. And when you have happy client, it means more referrals and more sales.
Take it from someone who has been there, seen it, done it, and won the t-shirt. I spent over two years in the trenches of web site design and nearly lost the shirt off my back. I was continually having to educate the clients and provide proposal after proposal, just to land a few sales.
We've all had that "client or design job from hell". The "artwork" that arrived in a 20 lb bag of scraps and clippings. The client who wouldn't pay on time... if at all. The client who would go thru invoices "after the fact" and decide what he would and would not pay for. The "changer" who likes to change things - against your better judgment - and then changes them back.
Well, those days are over! Sorry for the rant. Take it to heart my friends, this will never happen to you again. You will be prepared. All the hard work that used to go into the "business" of running a design business, just got a whole lot easier.
The product is "Proposal Kit Professional" from Cyber Sea Inc., which won the editors pick award from the Ziff Davis publishers at ZDNet! Most everything in each kit being offered in several formats, Word as well as HTML Documents. There is also a Mac version of the Kits available.
Something very important, that few web site designers do, is the questionnaire. This is a critical step to ensure the client will get what they want. You have the client specify, in detail, what their goals are, why they want a web site, what do they need to consider the site a success. If you address the specific concerns of the client at the outset, then there is no room for disappointment later on.
This is the most complete questionnaire I have ever seen. It includes demographics, target audience, purpose of the site, how to merge their online presence with their dirt world business, style or voice of the site, USP, company descriptions, design elements, back end programming and more. It will prepare both you and your client for the web site, and the tasks that lie ahead. (Just a little side note here, if your client is not willing to fill out a survey, believe me, you will not want to have them as a client.) This is an essential step that cannot be missed.
The Proposal Kit Professional includes many samples of web site story boards. These are block diagrams or flow charts that describe to the client in detail, exactly how the site will look and what it will contain. They cover everything from content pages to navigation systems. Not only do they paint a crystal clear picture to your client, they will also keep your project on time and within budget. They will also get you thinking about the layout and contents of the site you are about to build, rather than it just being a nebulous task in the back of your mind.
The anatomy of a performance web site shows big picture on how to set up a top income generating web site. Looking at the first page of this diagram, I could tell that Cyber Sea, Inc. really knows what they are doing when it comes to building a money making web site. The site in the diagram looks exactly like the model I use. It shows in explicit detail how the various affiliate programs, search engine positioning and e-mail to opt-in lists combine together, to generate revenue while functioning on auto pilot. This diagram alone will help close the deal on many sales, as it shows you have a clear understanding of the "big picture" and the various revenue streams on the Internet.
The software development agreement is a good idea, unless you like walking a tight rope without a net. You need to have a legal document, a contract that spells out who owns the copyright in what. Who owns the domains names. Who is responsible for what task. This contract means business and shows professionalism. It will prevent misunderstandings down the road.
In addition to the questionnaire and development contract, there is a cover letter for your proposal, a non disclosure agreement, a specifications sheet, payment terms agreement (to prevent you from getting stiffed), and very extensive web site development checklist.
You could pay your lawyer thousands of dollars to draw just some of these contracts up for you. Or if you can use the ones in the Proposal Kit, save your money and put the profits back in to your business.
This Excel format estimating spread sheet will save you a ton of time. I spent weeks creating something similar to it a few years ago for my design business, and after comparing Cyber Sea data with my own, their times for each task are very similar to the ones I calculated.
Using this spreadsheet you'll know at a glance, the cost, the time and the profit of each project. It allows you to enter each step of the production process, each style of web page, the back end programming, domain costs, pretty much everything that goes into setting up a web site. You can customize the values to your particular production requirements. And best of all, you'll have an estimate to your client in a matter of minutes, not hours or days like it used to take.
I do have one complaint about this product though. I just wish that it had been available five years ago, back when I was a struggling web site designer. I'd like to get back all those thousands of dollars in legal fees, getting lawyers to draw up contracts. I'd like to get back the money I was never paid by less than desirable clients. I wish I had the story boards and the estimating spread sheet, I would have landed a lot more clients. I never would have gone into debt setting up my design business, if I would have had these tools back then.
If you are a web site designer, and you want to steer clear of the pitfalls out there, come armed with professional looking proposals and "close the deal", then this product is for you. Just download the product and start using these tools in your web design business, and you'll be playing in the big leagues, without the learning curve that's normally associated with setting up a design business.
All my best,
Michael is a search engine specialist and author of Nothing But 'Net, the Search Engine Positioning Reports, and the Internet Marketing Secrets newsletter. He has also produced the search engine submission software Search Engine Commando.