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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Member #

    Advice for freelance - Developer but not designer, SEO expert or copywriter

    I am a hobbyist web developer and I am looking to do freelance work.

    My target is small businesses but the problem with them is that they don't have any idea about what they want. All they say is "I need a website".

    I love to do write code but I don't know how to approach the other parts: design, content (text, images) and SEO.

    Basically, a customer wants me to do the website and they expect next day to be on first page on Google. HUH!

    I will describe below the way I do it now and I would appreciate any advice from you.

    1. Domain and hosting. Do I do it right?

    I buy domain and hosting on my name and charge the customer twice the price. Same when they need renewal, usually every year. At this point I ask customer for first payment (25% of project's price).

    2. Design. Always templates.

    I send a proposal of 3 templates, they choose one and then I buy it. Soon as the template is installed, time for another payment (25%).

    3. Content (text and images). First pain!

    IMAGES: Usually, they are included in templates. If not or need more, I buy them from iStock and then charge the customer.

    TEXT: These kind of customers cannot supply me with any text for their website. They expect me to do it but I am not a copywriter and I hate doing text. Worse, if they supply me with text, pretty much is a copy-paste from their competitors that will affect SEO. How do you handle this part and how should I do it? Remember, the budget is limited so hiring a copywriter is not a handy option.


    As I said, all customers expect to be on first page just next day after website is completed. Well, we know this is just a dream.

    Obviously, the customer expects me to do SEO too but I hate it and I am not too skilled.

    How should I handle this?

    I cannot tell the customer "you know, I do the website for you but for SEO find someone else" because it will find someone else that will do website+SEO so he won't need me anymore.

    Also, SEO is expensive so if I would hire a SEO expert to do it for me will boost the price and will scare the customer.

    Is any way that I can do this business without getting involved in SEO and copywriting? I am frustrated as I get customers, I get the price I ask but SEO and text content kill me off.

    Thank you for reading and any advice is appreciated!


  3. #2
    Senior Member breno's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Member #
    29 times
    I'm not a freelancer but I'm aiming to be able to some day sooner than later, so take my advice as you will. First thing that comes to mind is, when it comes to text and SEO, go and read books about the subject. Local library, articles and blogs on the internet, tutorials, do a course? That's how i've learnt what I know about web design/development so far. Your a one man band, and these things are important so I'd say take some time out or in your spare time, read up and skill up in these areas, at least have some idea how these things work.

  4. #3
    Member byronc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Member #
    wrt to SEO, ou should find someone one you trust, and then let the client know that it will cost him x (with your markup in) and then feed it off to your seo guy/subcontracting team.

  5. #4
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Not from USA
    Member #
    2783 times
    I'll answer your questions as a developer.

    1) Not domain. Hosting, maybe. Not domain. The domain is the client's intellectual property. Let him/her have that. It shows you're willing to work to retain his/her trust, since it gives him/her the ability to switch to another developer at any time. That doesn't sound like a good thing, but it actually is.

    2) Who creates the templates?

    3) That depends on the customer. I help some customers, I don't help others. It depends on whether or not I can help and they could use it.

    4) You do SEO when you build the website. If you're doing SEO the way it's supposed to be done (not the prevailing wind build a million backlinks and get magic bullet to #1 nonsense), then you'll be using alt attributes, you'll be improving page speed, you'll be setting up descriptive head tags (title, meta description, etc.), you'll make sure the navigation to at least key content is as shallow as possible, things like that. All elements of design and/or site quality. There's an overlap between the two.

    Your customers could hire a "dedicated SEO", but if they're going to do that, they may as well just take the money they would pay an SEO of an ATM and make it rain in a Burger King for all the good it will do.
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