Sunday, 22 July 2012

Building Websites in the Swan Valley

There's a whole bunch of stuff you can't say on your business website, so maybe here's the place to say it.

I moved to The Swan Valley at the end of October this year. I was kind of dreading the distance, but weirdly, it's had a very positive effect on my freelance web site development business. For one thing, it's quiet here. As long as you're tucked away from major traffic routes, most places in Perth are quiet, but this place is deathly quiet. There are absolutely no excuses not to get down to work. Most of my friends have left  freelancing and are now working for the man in various capacities, so I'm unlikely to go skiving off for a coffee at the local cafe.

I've got about 10 websites on the go presently and about two websites need to be finished in the coming week. I was going great guns until last week, when about 20 of my sites (I have about 100 clients) were needlessly hacked. I rolled the questionable server back to the day before the breach and upped the security on both the server and the individual sites. Sites were back up and running within about 48hrs, but it took a whole full time week to get them up again. So I'm behind a week.

Anybody who hosts with me (I buy server space in the US very cheaply out of Indonesia) also gets free lifetime support for their website. It was a bit nuts of me to announce this, but I get so few phone calls from clients, it was an easy no-brainer. I know larger companies can't offer that service and since I announced free support at the beginning of this year, only a few people have taken me up on it.

Free Website Support?

What does it mean? It means I am available to answer the phone during office hours any time of the day. It's actually a misnomer to be honest. Sure, people can call me, but that often means that they want something done. If I was a bit more ruthless, I'd say that FREE support is really an opportunity to on-sell amazing new products or services. But I'm not. I probably ought to be that person (being in business and all) but I'm simply ... not. Weirdly, the people who have called up and wanted help usually have wanted me to do some paid work on their website. Be it PayPal integration for an Opera Singer website or, as in one case, a date calendar to remind Mums and Dads to enrol their child in early education classes.

But I find it really interesting that a service that I decided to offer, with my best intentions at heart, was designed to be free, has generated so much work. With 10 websites on the go, I've got enough work on at the moment, so don't need to "make money" as such. 

Shameless Plug

This part is something I'm experimenting with. I've decided to include a sponsor at the end of my message in the form of a shameless plug. My clients keep me alive, so i only see it as a worthwhile task to link back to the site I built for them and recommend their services. So ...

If you're looking for good solar panel installation in Adelaide South Australia, give my mate, Wayne a call on 0412761701. He's a freelance electrician who's keen to cut out the middle man and give you a good deal on solar power.

Until next time...