Gusto VS ADP: Which Payroll Software Is Better?

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QuickBooks Desktop 2021: Everything You Need To Know About Intuit’s Latest Release

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How To Start An Amazon Store

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22+ Web Design Agency Recurring Revenue Ideas

This post originally appeared at 22+ Web Design Agency Recurring Revenue Ideas via ShivarWeb

Web Design Agency Recurring Revenue Ideas

Every web design agency’s core problem is that large, profitable projects end while costs continue month after month.

Steady, monthly, and ideally passive, recurring revenue solves this core problem. Recurring revenue means that –

  • You can be patient and wait for the right clients
  • You don’t have to chase bad leads
  • You can hire & keep quality, long-term staff
  • You can multiply your business valuation when it comes to sell
  • You can smooth your cash flow & expenses rather than rely on credit
  • You have time to improve project processes & profitability

In other words, recurring revenue rocks.

Recurring revenue is why so many web design agencies try to add marketing services. It seems natural to complement project-based website design with retainer-based website marketing.

But website marketing creates a whole range of costs and risks. The number one risk is that marketing is out of your skill set…and so you actually lose clients from poor performance.

Instead, I think there’s a better way.

The key is to present your web design clients with an ongoing package of web design-related services.

The package should be invoiced monthly and should automatically recur until the package is canceled.

The package should be high-value for clients. They should be purchasing peace of mind, convenience, and high ROI.

And lastly, the package should be high profit margin with low labor, lots of automation, and obvious performance metrics for you. It’s a win-win-win for everyone.

But what kind of web design-related services can be packaged together? Here are some ideas.

Web Hosting

Web hosting is the most natural fit for any web design agency. Your client’s website needs to live somewhere. And if you have a client who doesn’t already have hosting or specific hosting needs, you can provide website hosting as part of a monthly recurring package.

There are tons of options to provide the service.

  • You can purchase and mark up a regular website hosting plan.
  • You can purchase a Reseller Hosting account and host your client’s site there.
  • You can also create a hybrid option if your client has specific needs like Cloud hosting or email infrastructure.

Either way, you can have total control over pricing since you know your client better than the hosting company.

Upsides: You can generate high profit margins with low labor. Hosting companies will provide most backend support along with front-end support tools. You can also set up the account to provide additional services with lower risk (like security & backups).

Downsides: If something breaks, you own the problem. Your reputation is also totally dependent on another company. It will also require careful setup with impeccable quality control. Your client may have specific requirements to maintain website ownership.

Software / Tools: You’ll need good Reseller Hosting from a support-oriented hosting company (I use InMotion Hosting). If you are marking up a plan for each client, use a company with account management tools. For example, InMotion Hosting uses WebPro, and WP Engine has proprietary tools built just for agencies.

Example of a Management Tool

Uptime Monitoring

Websites can go down for a whole host of reasons. And when they go down, speed is critical. Uptime monitoring gives a client peace of mind. They’ll know that if their website goes down, somebody knows about it and can work to diagnose and fix the issue.

Upsides: Uptime monitoring can be completely automated. If you are using a reputable hosting company, they’ll handle most troubleshooting and response.

Downsides: You will be on the hook for getting the setup right. And if there’s a major cause, you’ll have to spend time, energy, and expertise making things right. Also, you can’t charge a lot of money for monitoring as a stand-alone service.

Software / Tools: I use JetPack for all my WordPress website uptime notifications. For non-WordPress websites, there’s Pingdom and StatusCake.

Security Monitoring

Cybersecurity is on every website owners’ mind – no matter how small they are. Even run of the mill spam can dramatically affect an infected website. Security monitoring provides clients with peace of mind and prevention of much bigger, more expensive issues.

Upsides: You can automate most monitoring and charge quite a bit, even as a stand-alone service.

Downsides: You will take on the risk of missing issues and fixing anything that comes up. If there’s a major issue, you’ll have to spend time, money, and expertise to make things right. You’ll also need a lawyer to make sure your firm does not have any legal exposure to potential lawsuits.

Software / Tools: I use JetPack for WordPress website security monitoring and Sucuri for my non-WordPress security monitoring.

Software Updates

Everyone (so…everyone) who has a smartphone knows about software updates. They are annoying, frustrating, time-consuming…but also critical. Unless you are building in pure HTML / CSS, websites are just big bundles of software. Software updates are critical, but can also cause problems. Clients will pay for someone to safely and consistently apply software updates.

Upsides: You can automate most software updates and charge a consistently high fee. Your client is unlikely to ever cancel the service. Your client will also benefit by saving money on future fixes.

Downsides: If a software update goes awry, you’ll be on the hook to fix the issue. You’ll also need to stay up to date on exactly what different software updates do to prevent conflicts.

Software / Tools: I use JetPack to manage my multiple WordPress website updates. I know that a lot of people also like ManageWP (now GoDaddy Pro). For non-WordPress websites, you’ll have to seek out a platform-specific solution.

Website Backups

A website backup is Website Ownership 101. Website backups have to be created and stored securely. Like software updates, clients know that backups need to happen, and know that they are time-consuming. They are buying peace of mind and convenience.

Upsides: You can automate the backup process and charge for both the service & storage. Your client is unlikely to cancel the service.

Downsides: You are responsible for creating a foolproof & consistent process. You’ll also have to adjust fees depending on how often a clients’ site gets backed up.

Software / Tools: I use JetPack’s VaultPress module to keep an automated backup for my WordPress website. Many hosting companies will also bundle a backup manager with your subscription. InMotion Hosting has its Backup Manager available on Reseller plans.

Software Warranty

Software breaks, especially software that has prerequisites or integrations. A software warranty is a guarantee that you’ll fix any software issue that comes up for free in exchange for a regular fee. Clients are purchasing peace of mind and convenience.

Upsides: Like appliance warranties, you can provide high value for high fees and little labor. Since you designed & built the website, you should have an intimate knowledge of software risks.

Downsides: You are getting paid to take on risk. If something happens, you are on the hook for fixing the problem. You’ll need to carefully understand your clients’ needs and software risks. You’ll need to budget for hiring any needed expertise if something happens.

Software / Tools: No tools needed. However, you’ll need to maintain a familiarity with all your client’s software needs. Keep tabs on every software update so that you can fix any potential issues.

Analytics Reporting

Every client wants to know how many visitors their website has. But few want to learn how to dig around in Google Analytics. Most would be happy with a PDF of some key takeaways. You can provide this ongoing service by setting up Google Analytics with metrics that matter to them and sending monthly PDF reports.

Google Analytics Report

Upsides: Analytics Reporting is a low labor and high value service. You can automate the reports and let Google do the heavy lifting. Additionally, it can allow you to dip your toe into retainer marketing services.

Downsides: You’ll need to learn a bit about Google Analytics and set up the account correctly.

Software / Tools: I use Google Analytics to set up regular monthly reports. There is a lot of scope for customization though. Spend time getting the right Dashboards, segments, and KPIs (key performance indicators) set up, then automate.

Marketing Reporting

Most clients also love to know how their Google rankings are doing, who is linking to them, and how their local listings are doing. There are many marketing intelligence tools that will provide white-label marketing reports in PDF format for you to pass along to your clients.

SEMrush-Reports

Upsides: You can subscribe to a marketing intelligence tool and have your clients basically pay for your subscription. Find one that has PDF reports (like SEMrush) and set it to automate your reporting. It’s low labor and high value.

Downsides: Few downsides, except that you may have to field questions about what the metrics mean and propose solutions.

Software / Tools: I use SEMrush to set up regular marketing reports. These reports can complement Google Analytics. They are also *very* high value for many clients. SEMrush has a clean setup with white label reports available, so you can provide proprietary data at very high markups with your brand everywhere.

SEO Audits

There are three areas of SEO –

  • Off-page – promoting your website to other websites.
  • On-page – creating content that is relevant to search queries.
  • Technical, aka “in-page” – make sure your site is crawlable & indexable.

Unless you are running a large site, most technical SEO and on-page can now be done with automated tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush.

Even if you don’t provide SEO services, providing automated audits can be worthwhile for clients.

Upsides: You can automate this service and bundle it with other reports for higher fees. You can also use it to show the quality of your web design work or recommend new content or new initiatives. It can also allow to test marketing retainers.

Downsides: You’ll need to understand the terminology and reporting to field any questions from your clients. You’ll also need to be able to fix or at least diagnose any major issues that come up.

Software / Tools: I use SEMrush to provide SEO Audit reports in addition to Google Search Console. These reports will pull usability and small technical tasks. These reports allow you to maintain a conversation about ongoing improvements. You can bill to fix any issues or refer the client to an SEO firm.

Expertise Retainer

Expertise retainers are when clients pay every month for the right to speak to you about their project. At a project-based agency, new projects demand all your attention, because that’s what pays the bills. But many completed projects will inevitably need some support.

Expertise or Support retainers allow your previous clients to stay at the front of the line when contacting you about a problem. Expertise retainers are common at the higher levels of professional services (e.g., corporate law). By definition, they require no deliverables. They only require that you remain available.

Upsides: You’ll have potentially 100% profit margin fees. Taking care of past clients will no longer come at the expense of current clients, since everyone will be a current client. You’ll be able to maintain longer relationships and make recommendations without your own financial considerations.

Downsides: You’ll need to be in business for a long time with lots of happy clients to pull off an expertise or support retainer. Many clients are not used to paying monthly fees for no deliverables. You’ll have to position this service well for clients to see the value. You’ll also have to carefully define scope so that an expertise retainer doesn’t scope creep into a website maintenance retainer.

Software / Tools: I use FreshBooks to set up recurring billing for any retainers if you don’t already have an invoicing software setup.

Graphic Design

If you provided custom design for a clients’ website, then they will likely need a similar design for all their social media channels and website updates.

A graphic design retainer allows the client to request a certain number of graphic designs per month that fit with their brand / website.

Upsides: You’ll solve an immediate & tangible need with a low churn rate and potentially high fees compared to the amount of labor. There are lots of tools that can speed up the process.

Downsides: This service is hard to automate, but it can be low labor and high value with the right software tools / designers. There’s a risk of scope creep and revisions increasing labor costs.

Software / Tools: I use a mix of Fiverr, Canva, and Stencil to quickly work up basic graphic design. There are also services like DesignPickle that provide unlimited graphic design.

Content Editing

Even if your client’s website has a content management system, I’ve found that most clients simply don’t want to edit their own website. It’s too unfamiliar. They’d rather email a “website person.” You can charge monthly fees to be their Webmaster.

I’ve had clients pay me more to edit their website over the course of 2 years than they paid for the entire design.

Upsides: You’ll solve an immediate and tangible need for potentially high fees, depending on the client.

Downsides: It has the risk of lots of tedious, high labor tasks in addition to scope creep.

Software / Tools: Most content has to be edited manually. But tools like WordPress’s new Gutenberg blocks and apps like Grammarly make it fast.

Content Refresh

This service pairs well with an SEO Audit service. Think of a content refresh like pressure washing a website. Website content gets stale over time. Businesses need seasonal content. You can go ahead and schedule out the updates on a monthly retainer.

Upsides: You’ll have an easy, straightforward sell with tasks that can be planned well ahead of time.

Downsides: You’ll have to define scope and budget for writers. There’s little to automate, though you can plan for labor costs ahead of time.

Software / Tools: Most content refresh will need manual updates based on existing knowledge. But I have hired freelancers on Fiverr to help with large edits along with WordPress plugins like Better Search & Replace.

Content Creation

Clients always need new content. Traditionally, agencies will sell content creation as a stand-alone project or sell it as part of a marketing campaign. But you can also sell it as a part of a monthly retainer.

Upsides: You’ll have a tangible service with a low churn rate. You can also budget for a long-term freelancer or employee. You can test out marketing retainers without a large commitment.

Downsides: It’ll require labor costs and will be hard to automate.

Software / Tools: I write a lot of content myself. But I’ve also used Fiverr, WordAgents, and ProBlogger. I’ve also worked with copywriting pros like Katelyn Dramis, Evan Porter, Nebo Agency, Knucklepuck Media, and Copywriting Course to scale up campaigns.

Social Media & Email Scheduling

Social media / email marketing presence is essential for every business, even if the business doesn’t really need a social media strategy or social engagement. You can sell your clients on convenience and take on their tedious social media tasks.

Upsides: You can charge a high fee for low labor, tangible tasks. You can also use software to automate most of the process and outsource a lot of creation.

Downsides: You’ll have to be careful and considerate of your clients’ reputation and maintain communication around posting details and project scope. You don’t want to accidentally take over social media response and customer support.

Software / Tools: I use TailWind for Pinterest & Instagram and Buffer for Facebook / Twitter. I use MailChimp my email marketing. My clients mostly use either Aweber or ConstantContact.

Software Revenue Share

Many website & software platforms offer a revenue share for agencies who use their platform. You’ll get recurring fees from the platform as long as your client’s site lives on that platform.

Upsides: You’ll get truly passive, guaranteed revenue in addition to other platform perks. The platform will also handle a lot of the support & security. Your clients will also benefit from a solid platform and can reduce their “vendor risk” away from your agency.

Downsides: Your client will be less attached to your agency (though that can also be a sales point for you). You’ll also have to sell your client on the platform for their website.

Software / Tools: I use Affluent to keep track of all partnership / affiliate revenue, though some software requires manual checking. Shopify offers a 20% revenue share for ecommerce websites (more for Enterprise sites). Aweber also offers revenue share for email. WP Engine offers revenue share for WordPress hosting.

Software Licensing

If your client’s site is using software that you’ve developed, you charge licensing fees.

Upsides: You’ll have recurring revenue with 100% profit margin for as long as your client uses your website.

Downsides: Software licensing can introduce some obstacles to closing on web design contracts. Many clients expect a single upfront fee, so you’ll have to position the software licensing carefully.

Software / Tools: No need for tools, just an understanding of copyright and software licensing – especially if using WordPress.

Marketing Revenue Share

If you don’t provide marketing services, you can still refer clients to partner firms in exchange for a referral fee or revenue share.

Upsides: You can generate marketing retainer revenue without starting up a marketing division. Your clients can also benefit from working with a reputable marketing firm with a close relationship with their design firm.

Downsides: You’ll have to balance the referral process with your client. You’ll also have to find the right marketing firm, since you’ll both depend on each other to provide good work and good referrals.

Software / Tools: Tools will depend on your partner company. The best solution is via similar CRM software like HubSpot or SalesForce.

Website Upgrade Installment

You’ll sign a client to basically pre-pay for a future website redesign.

Upsides: You can secure a client for future projects while smoothing your cash flow.

Downsides: This arrangement will only be interesting for a certain type of client.

Software / Tools: No tools are needed, though you will need to scope the project well.

Website Optimization

You’ll make regular data-driven optimizations to your client’s website.

Upsides: You can provide a tangible, recurring service for a high-fee.

Downsides: You’ll have to tackle many misconceptions and really sell the service without harming the reputation of your web design work (i.e., “why isn’t my website optimized from the start?”). You’ll also have to scope the work well.

Software / Tools: I use Google PageSpeed Insights, Google Mobile Friendly Test, and SEMrush’s Site Health tool to find website elements that should be improved.

A/B Testing & Reporting

You can provide regular A/B Tests and updates for clients based on a regular, consistent schedule.

Upsides: You can provide a tangible, very high value service for a high fee. You can also automate portions of the process.

Downsides: You may need to coordinate and/or compete with your client’s marketing firm. Not every client is a good fit for A/B Testing, since you really need a significant amount of traffic for relevant results.

Software / Tools: I don’t do a lot of A/B testing, but tools like OptinMonster are great for testing email opt-ins while Google Optimize and Optimizely will help you test entire pages.

Surveys & User Testing

You can run user feedback surveys and regular user testing for clients.

Upsides: You’ll have a tangible, recurring service for a medium to high fee. You can also automate portions of the process.

Downsides: Unless you have the right client, it can be hard to prove the service’s ongoing value. You may have to compete / coordinate with your client’s marketing firm.

Software / Tools: I use Google Surveys and Forms, but there are plenty of other tools available, depending on exactly what you are testing or surveying for.

Next Steps

One-off projects will always bring in most of the revenue for a web design agency. But that doesn’t mean that recurring revenue isn’t important.

Investors diversify between exciting stocks and dependable bonds. Car dealerships push car sales, but rely on service centers. It’s the balance & diversification that’s important.

Start by making a master list of recurring services that you can offer. Put them in different packages. Make sure they are upfront and known for your leads. They can help position you as the agency that will take care of your clients before and after the website launch.

You’ll build a stable, consistent business that will benefit you and your clients.

If you found this post useful at all, be sure to link to it from your blog or share it across your social accounts. Peace!

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How To Build A Wix Website In 6 Easy Steps

The post How To Build A Wix Website In 6 Easy Steps appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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How To Choose The Best Ecommerce Website Builder for Small Business

This post originally appeared at How To Choose The Best Ecommerce Website Builder for Small Business via ShivarWeb

How To Choose The Best E-Commerce Website Builder for Small Business

Choosing the best e-commerce website builder for a small business can be challenging, especially when you consider the variety of options available. By doing a little reading and research before committing to a website builder, you can make the best possible choice for your small business.

Summary – Best Website Builder if you want…

Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most people. They all have free trials available.

  • Simple Ecommerce
  • Quick Setup
  • Focus on Simplicity
  • Small Site Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Robust Ecommerce
  • Full Platform
  • Focus on Features
  • Ecommerce Appeal

Shopify

View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Drag & Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Wix

Wix
View Plans

Focused on something specific?

WooCommerce is a plugin / plan for WordPress that has some learning curve, but also infinite versatility for content-heavy for business websites. (see review). View plans.

We’ll discuss all of the factors you need to consider when choosing an e-commerce website, including what features to look for from a website builder. And after you’ve perused our tips and tricks, you’ll be able to confidently select the best e-commerce website builder for you and your business.

Primary Considerations

To help you come away with the best possible chance at finding the e-commerce site builder that works for you, we’ve provided an in-depth look at everything you may need to think about before laying claim to a domain.

Inventory

Not all website builders allow users to host an unlimited amount of products. Some have inventory maximums that can potentially limit a business’s commerce.

Understanding how many (and what kinds) products you can advertise on your website can help you choose an ecommerce builder that works best for your business.

If you work with a small amount of inventory, or products that are constantly changing, you may not necessarily benefit from using a website builder that offers infinite inventory options. However, if you intend to list hundreds of items (or more), springing for the unrestricted inventory space can be a massively beneficial move.

Because website builders often offer multiple pricing plans, you may be able to select the precise features that work best for you and your business without spending extra on unwanted functions or apps. 

Always be sure to check for inventory limits on your favorite building plans, and while you’re there, also check commission fees.

Commission

Some ecommerce website builders may charge commission fees on products sold online, typically at a percentage of the total cost of the item. Though this is a small price to pay, it does accumulate over time, especially for businesses that find sudden or rapid success. 

Business owners hoping to diminish profit losses of any size or amount may want to choose a website builder that charges zero or minimal commission on sold goods and items. Of course, it’s worth mentioning that the cost of commission is negligible when compared to other types of common costs, including shipping and handling.

Still, it is crucial to be aware of potential commission losses when deciding on a website builder. It’s also essential to become familiar with different pricing plans.

Price

The cost to own and run an e-commerce site varies based on the exact services provided. Many website builders offer a wide range of potential plans, each with a monthly or annual price. The free or low-cost plans tend to be the most basic and feature the fewest options, templates, or capabilities. 

However, that doesn’t mean that a basic e-commerce site isn’t a valid option. The perfect e-commerce website builder for you is one that meets your needs, doesn’t go over budget, and allows for future expansion. When it comes to pricing, it’s often better to start with the less costly, simpler plans.

You can always choose to upgrade to a more comprehensive plan in the future, and you won’t be paying extra for features you don’t want or need. Besides, starting with a low-price plan allows you a little time to try a website builder. 

You could have a feature-packed, unlimited inventory, affordable builder but not understand how to use it. Having a little time to practice with a site builder can help you discover how right it might be for you and your business. This can prevent ease-of-use issues that might develop later on down the line.

Ease of Use

An ecommerce website builder that is confusing or difficult to master can feel endlessly frustrating. If you’re not comfortable with a builder’s design or user interface, you may end up needing to hire a web designer to help you finish your site. This is an additional cost that can help you arrive at a better final product, but it’s not completely necessary.

The best e-commerce website builders for small businesses are easy enough for anyone to learn and use. They don’t require excessive HTML knowledge or design experience. If your preferred website builder is giving you a headache every time you attempt to work with it, it’s probably time to consider a different service.

Trial Usage

Some website builders allow users to experience a free trial period, while others are a little less accommodating. If you’re new to e-commerce website building, it may be helpful to try several ecommerce builders and see which one works best for you

Trial periods typically last anywhere between seven days and a full month. Most allow users to explore basic features or plans, with the option to upgrade to a more comprehensive range or plan in the future. Choosing to engage in trials can ensure that you invest in the best e-commerce website builder for your small business.

Secondary Considerations

In addition to the factors laid out above, there are also a few features to keep in mind while browsing through e-commerce website builders. Inventory options and commission percentages are vital, but it’s also wise to keep an eye out for specific, potentially helpful features. 

For example, website owners can benefit from having access to tons of templates or design options. Individuals interested in an e-commerce site can also benefit from using a website builder that allows clients and customers to utilize multiple popular payment options.

Let’s explore some of the most crucial features to look for in an e-commerce website builder. Doing so will help you decide which features to focus on, and which you can live without.

Templates

When website builders offer dozens or hundreds of design templates and options, users can customize their site and make it unique to their brand. Rather than wishing that your cookie-cutter site had a little more flair, you could quickly and easily make it yours with the help of pre-set templates and design features.

If you enjoy the creative aspect of website design and creation, you’ll definitely want to choose an e-commerce website builder that allows you to express that creativity. Some builders may also allow users to upload music (and sell it on the site), videos, and photography. 

With the right blend of media and inventory, you can attract the right clients and customers to your business. Of course, it also helps to have multiple payment options available for patrons to use. 

Payment Options

When a customer is ready to purchase a product online, they must choose among a wide range of payment options. While credit and debit cards are fantastically common and familiar, there are several other payment options that are quickly becoming just as popular. 

For example, while debit cards and major credit cards are generally accepted everywhere, alternative forms of payment like PayPal can provide greater accessibility to a wider audience. Many e-commerce sites opt for payment plans, too, so consider whether those options would be beneficial to your consumers.

Staying ahead of the curve means embracing “the new,” and website builders must stay competitive with their payment options if they’d like to attract the most customers and clients. Restricting payment options to standard debit/credit can be harmful to a small business. 

Opening up your payment options can help you reach a greater variety of customers and clients, resulting in more sales and a boost in your audience’s reach. If you’re not familiar with some of the newer payment options, you may want to reach out for a little support and guidance.

Support

When you’re building a website, you might occasionally run into a few trouble areas or issues. It’s normal to have questions or require a little technical support from time to time. 

However, not all website builders offer 24/7 assistance and chat support. Some customer and client support systems are massively lacking, resulting in slow results for both users and customers.

Choosing the best e-commerce website builder for a small business often means choosing one that offers consistent and reliable technical support. Always check to see if your preferred builder offers anytime-anyplace support, or if they require more rigid reporting to help solve issues.

Though technical support might not seem like a huge deal before you invest in a website builder, getting stuck with poor support can be a huge detriment to the site-building process. It can also lead to feelings of frustration that inhibit you from finding success online.

General Tips

Starting a website doesn’t have to be a time-consuming challenge, especially when you have the right information at your disposal. By taking the time to educate and prepare yourself before committing to a specific service or builder, you can increase your chances of success. 

The following tips and tricks may help you expedite the website building process, find the best possible e-commerce builder, and save a little money.

Compare Your Options

Before you decide on a website builder for your small business, it’s wise to take a moment and compare all potential options, their prices, and their features. Though this particular process might take a little time and forethought, it can be significantly beneficial. 

Getting to see all of your choices compared against one another may help you choose the option that is best for your budget and preferences. You can even use Excel spreadsheets to help you gather and organize your information.

Choose Zero Commission

Whenever possible, always choose the lowest commission. While this might seem like an obvious tip, it’s entirely possible to forget about commission percentages when you’re busy comparing pricing plans and additional features. 

Always double-check your preferred plan’s commission fees before making a final decision or payment. You may be thankful that you saved yourself from paying 5% of every sale toward the website builder or hostsite. Additionally, it may be wise to try as many free trials as possible before committing to a specific website builder or plan.

Try a Free Trial

If you can take advantage of a free trial, you should. Not only will you be investing zero capital to try out a potentially advantageous website builder, but you’ll also get to change your mind with absolutely no risk. Starting with a free trial can help you avoid buyer’s remorse as a result of a poor builder choice.

To make matters even sweeter, most website builders that offer free trials also allow users to upgrade those trials to full-fledged paid accounts at any time. So, if you find something that you like and you’re interested in getting a little more from it, you can turn that free trial into a long-lasting smile.

The Next Steps

Now that you’re aware of which factors to consider and what features to look for, you can select an e-commerce website builder that’s ideal for your small business. Taking the time to consider potential inventory limits, commission payments, and the long term costs associated with an e-commerce website builder can allow you to choose an outstanding-quality service.

  • Simple Ecommerce
  • Quick Setup
  • Focus on Simplicity
  • Small Site Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Robust Ecommerce
  • Full Platform
  • Focus on Features
  • Ecommerce Appeal

Shopify

View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Drag & Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Wix

Wix
View Plans

Focused on something specific?

WooCommerce is a plugin / plan for WordPress that has some learning curve, but also infinite versatility for content-heavy for business websites. (see review). View plans.

Choosing website builders that offer plenty of attractive templates, payment options, and customer support features can help your new site reach audiences and keep them coming back for more. 

But overall, comparing your options and trying several potential builders is one of the most effective ways to find the best service for your business.

“”

How To Build A Squarespace Website For Your Business The Easy Way

The post How To Build A Squarespace Website For Your Business The Easy Way appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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How To Calculate Shipping Costs For Your Business

The post How To Calculate Shipping Costs For Your Business appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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How To Choose The Best Website Builder for Videographers

This post originally appeared at How To Choose The Best Website Builder for Videographers via ShivarWeb

How To Choose The Best Website Builder for Videographers

Building your website can be a tough but fulfilling part of growing your videography business. Website builders make building & maintaining a website much more accessible and convenient. But they all have tradeoffs, and videographers usually have very specific requirements.

For videographers, a website builder has to explicitly allow spaces to showcase previous work while also fitting your preferred aesthetic and giving your clients access to pricing, and other details about your work.

That means not every website builder will suit your needs.

Summary – Best Website Builder for Videographers

Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most people. They all have unlimited storage with native players in addition to embed tools. They all have a free trial or free plan available to try.

  • Name-brand
  • Integrated Tools
  • Focus on Templates
  • Creative Appeal

Squarespace

View Plans
  • Built-in Features
  • Drag + Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Future-proofing
  • Focus on Versatility
  • Content Appeal

WordPress

WordPress.com
View Plans

Need Maximum Control & Versatility?

Self-hosted WordPress has a learning curve, but also provides the most versatility, control & affordability. Learn to build a videographer website here.

Every website builder will tout itself as “the best” – and they all have options for videographers. But before doing a side by side feature comparison, I’ve found that it’s more useful to understand what you are looking for.

Every videographer runs a slightly different business. Portfolios are almost always important. But what about retail & download ability? Streaming? Embedding? Copyright considerations? Additional content & media?

Think about what you need and how you want to build your business. Here are a few primary & secondary considerations for choosing the best videography website builder for you.

Primary Considerations for a Videography Website Builder

Your website is the primary piece of brand identity potential clients will see before they decide to contact you or not. Your choices for a website builder can have a massive effect on a potential client’s first impressions. 

Type of Features

There are a lot of different types of features that can go into a videography website. But the exact features that you’ll need all depend on your business.

  • Will you be developing a website to bring in new clients?
  • Will you simply be hosting a portfolio?
  • Will you need to sell your videos to the public or stream them?
  • Will you need archive storage? Or copyright protections?
  • Will you need to gather appointment bookings?

And does it matter if you have all these features upfront or build them over time? Do you already use a 3rd party like Vimeo pro for these features or do you need more?

Type of Design

Think about how you want to design and maintain your website. There are different approaches with upsides and downsides.

Some builders start with a template but overlay a drag and drop editor. This provides convenience, but also means that your design might not be just right.

Some builders provide customizable themes that provide a uniform look, but also lock you into to a degree. And some other builders go further with defined templates. There’s usually a tradeoff between convenience and control.

If you know HTML/ CSS and feel comfortable editing your own site, then you might want to go the self-hosted route with WordPress and a WordPress website builder.

Type of Company

There are plenty of niche companies that focus on a single industry (like videography) and others that are large with resources to build out features that appeal to lots of different industries.

Neither approach is better or worse, but it’s worth considering. Do you prefer features built specifically for videographers or globally useful features that you can apply in your own way?

Secondary Considerations for a Videography Website Builder

No matter how you build your website at first, it will be an ongoing investment. It’s worth thinking through how you hope to grow your business & website over time.

Integrations

There are a lot of tools for videographers. Some are indispensable, some are convenient, and some are straight-up cheaper than any other option.

It’s worth considering whether you want an all-in-one website builder or if you want a website builder that simply integrates well with other 3rd party tools via apps, extensions, or plugins.

Are you planning on uploading, storing, and playing the video on the website builder – or will you just be embedding from a 3rd party.

Are there other 3rd party tools that you want to integrate with?

Marketing Tools

Consider what type of marketing that you are planning to do. What role does your website play? Will you need to track data or integrate 3rd party tools? Will you be doing content marketing or social media campaigns?

Budget

Your budget should be an obvious consideration, but I don’t think it should be a primary consideration. Ideally, your website should be a business investment that more than pays for itself.

But you also should not be paying more than you can or should. Outline your business expenses and where your website builder fits. It might be simpler to go with a videography tool suite like Vimeo Pro or a cheap website builder until you can build your own client base.

Next Steps

Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most people. They all have unlimited storage with native players in addition to embed tools. They all have a free trial or free plan available to try.

  • Name-brand
  • Integrated Tools
  • Focus on Templates
  • Creative Appeal

Squarespace

View Plans
  • Built-in Features
  • Drag + Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Future-proofing
  • Focus on Versatility
  • Content Appeal

WordPress

WordPress.com
View Plans

Need Maximum Control & Versatility?

Self-hosted WordPress has a learning curve, but also provides the most versatility, control & affordability. Learn to build a videographer website here.

That said, there are plenty of options out there. The most important task is to understand how you run your business and what features, design & budget you’re looking at.

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How To Set Up An Etsy Shop & Start Selling

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