When I started, and I’m sure it is the same for all designers, it was so easy to push the ‘business aspect’ to the side in a quest for creative happiness.
I learnt the hard way that this doesn’t swim in reality and when the right processes are put in place we can reach that elusive PROFIT.
I started inventing systems and web business tools (before you could Google them) and threw myself into the deep end of workflows, scaling, marketing, strategy and just plain old business smarts. From there my web design business, Web123 was born. Since then, Web123 has progressed into a super successful 7-figure business that can handle 30-40 projects per month. (Our record is 42). I’m not talking cookie-cutter, sausage factory type websites either. Profits have doubled year on year and I’m now spearheading Foxley because of it.
I’m not here to brag about how fantastic and lucky I’ve been.
Instead I want to spread the love and help you suffer less.
Web design is a game of snakes and ladders and here are 21 of my best ladders (well, web business tools and templates) to help you navigate the game board.
Here Are My Top 21 Web Business Tools For Success
- Web Enquiry/ Quote email response template
When we get a request we try to call within a minute and our conversion rate from lead to sale is through the roof because of it.
When you get a request, jump on it straight away. They say if you call an enquiry within an hour, there is a three times greater chance of closing the deal. Even better, if you can send a proposal within the hour, you can close the deal before your competitors have even responded!
- Discovery Phone Call Cheat Sheet
When I started I used to drop everything and have meetings to chase prospects. It was exhausting to give my all only to find they would go for someone cheaper yet still implement my suggestions.
Now I don’t attend these meetings – UNLESS – the client has signed off on my proposal and paid a deposit. However, when I was called, I still needed to gather enough information so I could do a detailed proposal. I came up with the Discovery Phone Call Cheat Sheet. It is a quick and easy way to save time and make the client work to YOUR rules.
- Thanks for Choosing Us Email template
What better way to say thanks than with flowers? Well an email will do! When you get the green light, use this template to get your relationship off to a flying start.
- Client Acceptance Contract
You’ll find a copy of our website Terms of Service and Client Acceptance Contract which we include at the end of our proposals. Feel free to take whatever you feel will be useful for your contracts.
- Thanks for Payment Email template
Make every touchpoint count! Everything written more than twice should have a template and this one will (hopefully) be used frequently! Use this one when you see the cashola hit the bank and you’re ready to kick off the project. You do get a deposit before you start work, don’t you? Oh, phew. Just checking.
- Client Commitment Document
Some clients just can’t help themselves! Help them to help you to help them (paradox of help?) from the first strategy meeting. Gain a commitment and use it to keep them honest.
Does this work? Hell yeah! Not 100%, but it makes communication smoother and jobs got finished sooner overall.
- Budget, Timeline and Process Template
A perfect website takes time. We use this document to give the client visibility of the various stages of design and build. Managing client expectations is one of the biggest tricks to success in the game!
As a bonus it helps to keep them in check and accountable too – not just you.
- Project Plan Templates
The key to managing sites effectively is organisation and communication. Use these templates and share it with your clients so that you’re all on the same page. Reiterate your needs and the timings, and refer to the project plan if you need to crack the whip!
Bonus points: Follow up ALL phone calls with an email (possibly from a template) to cover your you know what.
Here are three templates; for a basic info site, an eCommerce site and a complicated info site which may have add-ons included such as logo design, copywriting and content upload.
- Request for Content Before Build Email Template
We use this template to help our clients get around what they need to supply in order to get this baby live. Not everyone has built a website before so any guidance will be a lifesaver for your clients. Of course it also helps to show the client that we can’t pluck their website content out of thin air with some magic web fairy dust!
- Website planner
What are the goals of the website? What makes their company truly unique? Who is their ‘perfect’ customer?
Building a stock standard info website is a breeze. But the devil is in the detail when it comes to making a site that is EFFECTIVE. Our planner asks all the right questions to make building sites easier.
- Copywriting Planner
If you have a client who wants you to write content, make sure you have all the details before you start. Put your logo on this handy planner and send it to your clients so your writer can produce beautiful sonnets (or sales copy – whatever floats ya boat) for their website.
- Content planner
While whitespace is great for website interface, it doesn’t do magic for conversions does it? Send this template to your clients to allow you to get all content and images for their site in an organised manner.
- Logo planner
A logo isn’t simply doodling in Microsoft Paint for five minutes, as you know. (If only some of our clients understood that too right?) This Logo Planner will help you understand what the clients are looking for from their new identity.
- Website Feedback Planner
So you’ve built something rock solid for your client and you want to know if they like it.
Some clients will go into great detail and others will just glaze over and give a disapproving nod… Use this template to ensure that you get the detailed feedback on your designs to help you improve.
- Ultimate Website Conversion Checklist
It took us 10 years of testing and tweaking to understand what makes a customer tick. We have distilled it to a checklist of 72 points to help you turn your web visitors to customers. Does it get any easier than this!?
- Facebook Planner
Facebook is a luxurious holiday home for your client. Sure it doesn’t come with a swimming pool (or a hot tub for that matter), but your client’s customers will use the Facebook page as another way to interact with them. So it’s worth getting the feng shui right. Right?
Our Facebook Planner will make sure you get every detail right as you build their new online hotspot.
- YouTube Planner
Through YouTube we have access to the latest news, serious political debates, great educational materials and videos of cats getting flung out of catapults all on demand. Some clients have a need to an awesome YouTube presence and for them this planner is a must.
- Congratulations, Your Website is Live Email Template
You have pushed go, there is a hum and silence then all the lights switch on!
Well something like that. For you and the client it is a pretty big deal! Take this opportunity to thank them and let them know you’re always around to lend a hand with anything else. Be unforgettable and don’t forget your clients. You could be sitting on a goldmine!
- Pay Per Click (PPC) Planner
Congratulations! PPC is a great way for your client to drive immediate results and is proven to be one of the fastest ways for a new business to get early sales. Use this to help your clients plan their PPC campaign rolling.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Planner
Now the site is ready, the real work begins! Find a reputable SEO partner and use this handy planner to build a killer campaign to help your clients get some targeted traffic.
- Local SEO Planner
Many small businesses struggle because they have the perfect product or service for their local community, but they have no way to show it. A Local SEO campaign is a one stop service that can be used to help push small business clients up the local search result ranking and get them in front of their customers.
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end. If this has helped you navigate the rocky road to success with a few less bruises and battle scars, then I am living my life mission!
You may also be interested in How I would build a $500k Web Design Business from Scratch.
Tell me, what’s your #1 favourite web business resource? What can’t you live without? Comment below!
Remember, you were born for this.