Extra income for Web Developers – Part 1


Published on: June 24, 2014, by | Category: Running Web Design Business

There are many ways for web professionals to generate extra income, and the best part is many of these opportunities can create passive income with little preparation. Web development services can be easily incorporated with other services which do not require any new skills.  In this series of posts I will introduce some ideas for earning extra income and walk you through the steps on how to execute them. In the post below I discuss hosting and site maintenance services.


hosting


Offering Hosting

Your clients need hosting and if they come to you without hosting already set-up, this opens up an opportunity for you. There are also situations when your client is coming to you with a simple $1/month plan from a horrible company (such as GoDaddy; sorry Bob ;)) in which case you should suggest they switch to another hosting provider. There are 2 ways of making money in this situation:

1. Host your clients’ sites on your own server. You do not need to have a physical server (In fact, I do not recommend it), you can simply purchase powerful VPS for about $100/month and keep your client’s sites there.  I recommend the powerful, and easy to use for resellers, servers from mediatemple.net (a company recently acquired by GoDaddy; you are welcome Bob ;)) and wiredtree.com with its great machines and outstanding customer service!

PROS:

  • you do not get a single referral fee, but instead get monthly income. If the site grows you can charge clients more for using more resources

CONS:

  • you need to pay upfront for a good server
  • you need to learn how to correctly set up accounts so, for example, you can give a client access to cPanel etc.
  • if the server is down, clients will call you and you will need to call the hosting company. Make sure to use a site such as https://uptimerobot.com which will notify you (hopefully before the clients notice) that the site is down, so you can take action.
  • if one website on the server is infected with a virus, it will very likely spread to other sites
  • you need to monitor how many resources the sites are using. You can keep a few WordPress sites on a simple VPS, but adding a heavy Magento site will use up most of the resources.

2. A simpler solution is to sign up for an affiliate program such as http://mediatemple.net/company/affiliates/ or http://www.wiredtree.com/affiliate/ and earn commissions.

PROS:

  • no headache – you ask clients to use your referral link so they can get a discount and you earn money
  • if the server is down, clients call the hosting company, not you

 CONS:

  • You get a one time referral fee.

What do I do?  I do both. For very small clients with very small traffic and not much demand I host them on my VPS server. For bigger clients with large traffic it is much better to make them have their own hosting account.
maintenance


Website maintenance

You should always offer maintenance to your clients because they love knowing you will be there to support them after the site is completed. However, try to turn this into recurring income. Make sure they know that if they send you a request to update the site or make some charges in the middle of a busy week, you will not be able to jump into this small project and help them immediately. Always let them know you will need at least 24-48 hours for smaller changes and a week for bigger ones. If they are in a rush, you should charge them some extra (+$10/hour ?).

However, it is often beneficial to offer them a monthly maintenance service with a small monthly fee, which includes some amount of hours for updates and a guaranteed faster response time. Clients will understand that for you to respond to unexpected requests, you need some financial stability and cash flow.

This is what I do:

1. For smaller clients, who need me at most 2 hours per month for some small but urgent updates, I ask them for a $120/month flat fee which includes 2 hour of web maintenance services, server monitoring, and a guarantee that I will respond to their requests within 24 hours.

2. For slightly bigger clients, who send a lot of requests and need constant consulting, I offer a few packages with the smallest one at $300/month for 6 hours maintenance services (you can offer more hours if your rate is lower). Sometimes you can make exceptions, but in general you should make it clear that unused hours do not transfer to the next month.

This is how I ask my clients to switch to monthly maintenance services:

 

Hi XXX,

I noticed that at least a few times per month you send me some smaller or larger updates and maintenance requests for the website (for the last few months it was around 2 hours monthly). I know the success of your business depends on fast and accurate implementation of those updates and I do my best to meet your expectations.

I keep my busy workflow very organized and on schedule, and there are days where even if I would love to, I cannot respond to your requests fast enough because of other scheduled commitments. However, if we agree on a fixed monthly maintenance fee, that would help me to plan my workflow and respond to your requests faster. On top of that, with the fixed monthly commitment I could offer you better prices.

Below are two possible maintenance options we could go with.
– 2 hours monthly maintenance services for $120
– 6 hours monthly maintenance services for $300

Let me know what you think,

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Written by
Founder of area301.com. Entrepreneur, Software Engineer, Philosopher, Web Designer, Curious Guy. A modern poet, writing lines of code interconnected with profound logic. @DanSodkiewicz

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