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How to start Web Design and Maintenance business to make money for individuals want to quit their jobs and start their careers as an entrepreneur are as follows:
Description of Job
• Create a business or personal web site to meet the needs of your client.
• Add commerce features such as a shopping cart, catalog, and forms.
• Add communication features such as chat rooms, e-mail, and blogs.
• Create photo albums, online samples and demonstrations, and FTP transfer
facilities.
• Arrange for registration and hosting of a domain.
• Maintain the site as contracted.
The Need
For most modern businesses, a web site has become at least as important as a
storefront, a listing in the Yellow Pages, or a full-page ad in the Sunday newspaper.
Customers expect the stores they deal with to have information about
hours, sales, and products readily available online.
Today, many companies make a large portion of their sales directly over the
Internet; some enterprises exist only as virtual businesses, with no brick-andmortar
stores for people to visit.
The job of the web site designer is to work with a company’s marketing
department to extend the firm’s offerings onto the Internet.
Major companies are likely to work with large advertising agencies or major
web site design companies; don’t expect to design the next Amazon.com or
eBay.com as your first customer. Much more likely are assignments to create the
first web presence for a local store or professional service (lawyer, accountant,
consultant, and the like).
You may also be asked to assist individuals in creating a web site to share
their thoughts, pictures, and presence with the world.
Challenges
If you don’t recognize the details of the job description, you’ve got a whole lot of
preparation ahead of you before you can consider performing this sort of work.
Creating and maintaining a web site is not rocket science, but it does demand a
great deal of attention to detail . . . and there are hundreds of details.
Web sites can begin as very simple home pages that list hours of operation,
telephone numbers, driving directions, and basic products or services offered. At
the other end are web sites based on huge databases of products and information,
including animation, video, music, shopping carts, shipping information, and
direct chats with technical support or customer service agents.
Even a simple web site may be beyond the skills and interest of a small company
or an individual, and a complex site is an extremely labor-intensive undertaking.
When you meet with clients, make sure you understand exactly their needs
and desires. Don’t spend hours of billable time on something they don’t like and
won’t want to pay for.
Take great care to avoid copyright infringement and plagiarism. If the clients
provide photos or other types of art, determine whether they own those items or
have purchased the right to reproduce them on the Internet. Don’t “borrow”
images from other sites or sources; don’t think for a moment that the lawyers for
Mickey Mouse won’t be legal tigers if you use his picture without permission.
Know the Territory
Study the Internet and watch for new trends and tricks. Read computer and marketing
magazines and consult the web sites of software makers for information
about their products. Some software companies offer demo versions of their tools
that allow you to learn how to use them and to create (but not save and use) some
sample pages.
Your clients should supply the text to support the pages, and they may supply
images as well, or you might be called on to work with an outside artist or service
bureau to create images to the specifications of the client.
You may also be able to purchase collections of royalty-free images and
music that have been cleared for use on web sites.
Use the filmmaker’s tools of storyboarding to plan a web site and show it to
your client before major work is under way.
Spend the time to learn the offerings of various web-hosting companies. The
market is extremely competitive; look for a reasonable price for your client, but
keep in mind that the most important thing these companies have to offer may be
their reliability (uptime) and the availability of technical assistance.
Selling products online requires a shopping cart that manages inventory and
the ordering process and interfaces with a merchant account sponsored by one
or more credit card companies or with an electronic check-acceptance service.
Some web-host companies offer packages that include hosting, e-mail, and shopping
cart services.
How to Get Started
Start by becoming an expert on web site creation and maintenance. There are
many books on the subject, and you can take courses online or through colleges
and training companies.
Create a portfolio that you can demonstrate online or on a laptop computer
you bring with you to presentations.
Promote your availability through flyers and business cards placed in office
supply stores, computer stores, community centers, and schools. Ask satisfied
clients to spread the word about your services, and offer a discount or bonus to
them for new business they refer to you.
Up-front Expenses
You’ll need a capable computer with a high-speed Internet connection, plus software
for web site creation, illustration, and photo editing. Expect to pay about
$1,500 to $2,000 for the computer, plus $300 to $1,500 for software.
Additional expenses include the cost of advertising and promotion.
How Much to Charge
You can charge by the hour (with an estimate of total cost) or offer a flat rate
based on the size of the job. Add to the bill charges for any images or music you
must purchase and any specialized service bureaus you must use. Be sure to
advise clients before you make any significant commissions on their behalf.
Web hosting is usually billed on a monthly or annual basis. In most cases,
you will want to set up an account for your clients, but have them provide credit
card or bank information so that they pay the hosting company directly.

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