Your customers, our technical expertise, no poaching.
Every designer is concerned with maintaining their best customers over time. Subcontracting for prepress & printing was easy enough, because every project starts and ends with design, and most printers do not offer high quality design, in-house. Most prepress people don’t have great design skills, so they aren’t competition.
When websites came along, the process required designers to learn some new things, but, in the end, it was still a process of design and implementation. The implementation was done once, behind the scenes, by technically-minded (not design-minded) people. And it was still a page-by-page design process; You spec the design, the technical people implement to those specs. The only ongoing intrusion by the technical side were in the limitations of HTML, and the web hosting of domains and sites… and sometimes email configuration came into play. But the hot side stayed hot and the cool side stayed cool.
But now, there’s content managed sites, e-commerce sites, blogs…
And what of search engines? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) seems like a black art, and all these people claim to be experts, but can they be relied upon to deliver? What about video, credit card processing, and all the other peripheral issues that pop up when your customer wants control over content, without content design or even writing skills?
At this time, there are a multitude of choices and approaches and no easy answers. All anyone can do, technical people included, is interview the customer to determine their needs, go through a process to specify the features that will fulfill those needs, and adapt the most current technologies to meet those needs, then do our best to help the customer to adapt to the technology, after the site is live. But that’s expensive and time consuming. And it puts technical people in front of YOUR customers. That requires trust.
But here’s the good news: It means your client may actually have MORE work for you. Because the key to content-managed sites and blogs is that new stuff is being added all the time.
So, I’m developing a set of packages and choices you can present to a customer to get started in the needs assessment. I’ll set up an experimental site for you to play with, to learn the daily experience your clients will have. And, I’ll work with you and your clients while always deferring to you for billing, sales, and pricing.
What I get in return: I don’t have to find the customers and get the initial design together. You can provide PSD or PDF mock-ups, and I’ll take it from there. And when it comes time for the client to learn, we teach them how to use the site. When it comes to ongoing support and maintenance, we can help them, but you bill them a retainer or per-incident amount… take a markup, you’re worth it.
What happens behind the scenes: I work with you, and my team does the technical implementation. We work concurrently on all aspects: Domain and hosting changes, template modification and custom features (integrating your design), installation and configuration, content migration, and ‘going live’.