WordPress Web Design as A Viable Business Model
Starting a WordPress web design business can be easy and very profitable. Here are 6 things anyone interested in becoming a WordPress web design reseller will need to consider to help make their business a success.
After a name is chosen, a corporation is formed, and the details of accounting are decided upon, the real work of running a web design business with WordPress begins. It is not as simple as designing websites and throwing them up on the internet. There is much more to running a successful web design business.
Priority #1 – Hosting
Hosting is a very important consideration, not only from a financial standpoint but from a reliability standpoint as well.
Providing hosting to clients can produce additional income, but for those just getting started, buying and managing servers can be very expensive. CourseVector’s price for hosting is so low that a web design firm could resell at twice the amount, and still be less expensive than a lot of other hosting services, including discount providers. With their recommended Managed WordPress Hosting option, our resellers and your clients get peace of mind with backups and updates, to minimize vulnerabilities. View CourseVector’s status and uptime histories straight from the support website.
A good managed WordPress hosting plan should provide plugins and security, including but not limited to:
- Hardened Logon (htaccess)
- Optimized robots.txt
- Redirect Plugin
- Email Anti-Phishing Plugin
- Table Plugin (if needed)
- Security Plugins
- Server Caching
- History Log Plugin
- Caching Plugin
- Revisions Plugin
- Periodic security reviews by professionals
Priority #2 – Backup
Some hosting companies offer backup services. However, these backups are not guaranteed. It is the business owner’s responsibility to perform backups, and if you lose a client’s data, blaming it on your (or their) website’s host is only going to make you look untrustworthy. There are several good backup plugins for WordPress, each with its own benefits. WPBeginner discusses the pros and cons of each of the top seven recommended backup plugins, and use Git and BitBucket to back up the entire code staging environment.
Priority #3 – Security
After thinking about backups, one should consider security. Some common security issues CourseVector has seen include:
Payment Gateways – There are several ways to handle payment gateways that lift the liability off of the website owner. PayPal is a safe way to accept payment. It is also very easy to use.
Sending PII via email – Very few email servers are secure. It is never a good idea to send personal identification information using email. This includes sending PII through contact forms on the “Contact Us” page of a website. An alternative is using program that encrypts the data, like this secure messaging system.
https versus http – Google might give a slight edge to https domains where SEO is concerned. However, for many businesses, http works just fine.
Logins and Passwords – While the server on which your website is hosted should have multiple levels of security, the user should also think about their username(s) and password(s). Many people still use “password” as their password, which makes it very easy for a hacker gain access to a website. Likewise, the “admin” username that is very popular is no longer a great choice. Use something meaningful to you that is longer than 6 characters and contains uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers.
Outdated WordPress core, plugins and themes – A large majority of hacks enter a WordPress site due to lack of maintenance. Websites must have periodic security reviews to remain secure.
Priority #4 – WordPress Themes & Plugins
Choosing the right theme framework can speed up your development time considerably. Deciding which theme framework is best depends largely on your experience and coding knowledge. WPBeginner recommends Headway for beginners, because it is very easy to use with drag and drop functionality. However, designers who know and use at least some coding, are more apt to use the Genesis framework StudioPress, which comes with a one-time fee of about $60.00, and unlimited support and future updates.
Although themes and theme frameworks are different, just a word to the wise: don’t get trapped into using the same theme or skin for everyone’s website just because you are familiar with its functions. Using a similar type of theme for everyones website because it looks good is not always wise; functionality is far more important depending on their site’s purpose. You won’t want a portfolio filled with out of the box websites with themes that all look the same.
Additionally, start building a library of plugins that you will use regularly. There are thousands of plugins and many provide the same functionality, so having a library of plugins that you know the functionality of quite well will prevent overuse of plugins that provide the same service.
Whichever WordPress theme framework you decide to use, CourseVector will provide it free of charge with your two year hosting contract with us.
Priority #5 – People
Don’t try to do everything yourself. At first, it may be necessary to do most of the work required by yourself, but eventually, (particularly if you’re good at what you do), you’ll have too much to do and too little time to do it. Surround yourself with good people that can take your instruction and do what is required, with little or no supervision. That doesn’t mean you will have to hire a large staff. Finding good freelance help can be just as valuable, and in most cases, a lot less expensive than paying several people by the hour, only to have them standing around when there is little to do.
Freelance artists, writers, programmers, and graphic design personnel are available through several different mediums online, such as Guru, Elance, and oDesk. However, make sure to hire someone you trust with the most important parts of your website. CourseVector has artists, writers, and programmers on staff available to help our resellers with all aspects of their website.
Priority #6 – Contacts, Email, & Repeat Customers
Once someone finds their way to your website, you have just a few seconds to either convince them to hire you, or get their email address, because chances are they will not find their way back to your website before they hire someone else. Be sure to include some way to give them the opportunity to register on your site so you can follow up with emails and special offers that might just convince them to become a customer. Using MailChimp or Aweber are two alternatives to consider. You can also try a free trial and read WPBeginner’s article “Why You Should Start Building Your Email List Right Away.”
Repeat customers only become repeat customers if you give them exactly what you promised, and provide outstanding service and support. Some web designers believe that once they’ve designed the website for someone, their job is complete, but it’s only the beginning. Whether you provide hosting for them or not, maintaining contact with people you have provided a service for will give them the opportunity to become a repeat customer, or refer you to a friend. Many online businesses now utilize more than one website, and if they were treated well by a web designer, why wouldn’t they use that same designer again?
A solid partner can help you build your WordPress web design business
CourseVector has been providing website design and hosting to the internet community and resellers since the late 1990’s, gathering tools and a library of tutorials for our resellers’ use. Let us be your complete source for reselling. With our staff in your corner, you can rest assured that your clients will be taken care of with pride and professionalism, while still making a good margin. CourseVector offers our resellers:
- Customer support when you are unavailable.
- Access to high level technicians, programmers and designers to supplement their services.
- As much or as little support as is required, from a reseller who just wants to sell services and not be bothered with anything else, to a reseller that wants hosting and a solid team to help if something goes wrong.
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