This article is all about productized web design services.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept, or don’t know much about it, you came to the right place.
You see –
A lot of businesses out there provide web design services.
With providing web design services though, there are regular obstacles and challenges. For example, oftentimes:
- Clients ask for additional work that goes beyond the original scope of what was quoted
- Designers and clients get into disputes about pricing for services and hourly fees as the project goes on
- Designers have a tough time training new hires and team members to be able to easily work on new client projects
- Billing varies wildly between clients and it can be hard to manage
But, there is a solution to these problems, and it’s called productizing.
Nate’s Editor Note
In this article, we are going to break down how to provide productized web design services in detail.
What is Productized Web Design?
First, let’s talk about productizing in general.
“Productizing” is the concept of taking a service, and turning it into a product with a fixed scope, deliverables, and end product.
Normally with web design, people often pay designers an hourly rate for their work, and the scope of the work and what the client wants can change over time as the project progresses.
Over time, what may have started out as a simple, small project, can end up being a big time-consuming affair.
Productizing solves this problem, and makes things better and clearer for both the designer and the client.
Productized web design means that you are providing specific deliverables and elements in your website.
This can mean things like:
The client is entitled to exactly the productized package they pay for at a fixed price, and nothing more.
Why Should You Provide a Productized Web Design Service?
Now, you might be thinking, “This sounds simple, but why is this better than charging for my time?”
“Why would a client prefer this?”
There are a few key reasons you should consider providing a productized web design service for your clients.
Everything is 100% Clear
Providing a product means that both you and the client know exactly what the client is entitled to for a fixed price.
The client shouldn’t have to expect any “surprise fees” from you, and at the end of it they get the website they paid for.
Easier to Deliver and Manage
One big thing that should not be overlooked is how much easier it is for web designers to deliver on productized web design.
When you have fixed-scope projects, there are not going to be surprises.
Also, having clear bounds for your projects means you can more easily and readily manage them.
With a fixed scope, your projects can have a production schedule that your team can stick to.
With a fixed scope, over time you will be able to recognize, “It should take us X days to build this site given the package that the client has purchased.”
If clients are not going to have very unique, custom projects across-the-board, you can better allocate your resources to projects as needed, and ensure that they stay on schedule.
No “Scope Creep”
One big complaint I have heard from many creative professionals is the abundance of “scope creep.”
Somehow, the client just needs “one more thing” and then the project will be done.
Designers can feel pressured to provide that additional item at no cost to the client, thinking that the project is almost complete and the client is going to pay them.
Well, that’s not fair to the designer, as the customer is getting something additional for free that was not agreed upon.
But, having fixed deliverables means that there is project documentation that your team can reference when working on the project.
If a client asks for another revision round or some image editing that they did not pay for, the designer can tell them that is out-of-scope and would incur an additional charge of $X, as per the agreement.
Psychologically, also, I have found that clients respect designers more when they push back on this.
Clients that demand more things for free, in my experience, are more troublesome to deal with. By them wanting concessions from the designer, it demonstrates how they do not value that designer’s time and skill. So, having a fixed scope with boundaries prevents that from becoming an issue.
Easier to Scale Your Business
With a productized web design business, you can better predict and plan for your business’s growth.
Part of having a productized web design business means having documentation, checklists, and systems in place to ensure you hit all your deliverables and deadlines.
With these systems, it can be easier to onboard new team members to help deliver your services.
For example, with good documentation, you can ensure that all deliverables are provided and nothing “falls through the cracks”.
Nothing gets missed when you have good documentation and checklists.
And, it can be much easier for new team members to follow as they work on your client projects when they have such specific guidelines.
How to Create a Productized Web Design Service
Let’s get to the steps of building a productized web design service.
First, I would recommend taking some time to think about your existing clients, as well as the ideal clients you want to be working with.
Are there typical things that they want in their websites?
I want you to be able to create a product, or multiple products, that can appeal to your target customers.
Is your target customer in a certain industry?
If so, this can be easier for you to create a productized service.
If you find the right niche for your web design business, there are going to be more common things those customers’ websites would need.
Whereas, if you serve a variety of customers in different industries – restaurants, startups, salons, real estate companies, etc. – they will all want different things, and it’s going to be more of a process to build a productized service offering that works for most of them.
Beyond the product though, there can also be “add-ons” – but those should also be fixed price and fixed scope as well.
So, what would an example web design “product” look like?
Here’s an example, and let’s say that my target niche is “restaurants” and I want to build a website product for them. The website deliverables would be:
- About Us
- Menu Page with up to 50 menu items and 20 pictures
- Online Ordering integration with DoorDash
- Reservation integration with OpenTable
- 1 training session to show customer how to edit their menu page once the site is live
With this, it’s 100% clear on deliverables.
The customer knows what they are getting and what they are paying for.
The designer knows what work they have to do.
There are no surprises.
What to Include in Your Productized Web Design Offering
So, what elements should you consider with your productized web design business?
Here are some of the different elements web designers might want to include in their web design packages:
- Homepage design
- About us page
- Location page
- Employee / Team member page(s)
- Custom content writing – how many pages with custom content written and how much writing per page
- Revision rounds for homepage design / interior page design
- Google Analytics setup
- Form integration with different CRMs
- Social badges integration on-site
- Total # pages imported from previous web design platform
But, as you probably know – people that hire web designers often look to them for assistance beyond the scope of just their website.
Well, you can include some of these things in your packages as well.
- Creating social media profiles
- Creating a Google Business listing
- Creating a logo, business cards, or letterhead
Like I mentioned before, you can have different packages to offer your customers.
A “good, better, best” assortment can help your clients choose the package that’s right for them.
If they have a ton of content that needs to be migrated from an old website, they are going to have more needs than a new small business that is starting fresh.
Having different package tiers can also help you sell more upscale packages to clients with bigger budgets, earning you more revenue.
For example, you might have an inexpensive tier that comes with no frills, and then a more expensive tier and package with more features that’s geared towards a client with a bigger budget, and then a premium package with all the bells and whistles that is for clients with the biggest budgets.
Now, this isn’t going to be one-size-fits-all.
You are going to likely have some customers who need more than what’s in your basic tier.
To solve this problem, I recommend having a price list for additional services that are out-of-scope for their package.
This could include things like:
- Additional webpages designed
- Migrating pages from the old site to the new website
- Custom content writing
- Additional stock images sourced
- Additional revision rounds
- Additional plugin set up and integrated
It is important to have pricing for these out-of-scope services so that the client knows that these come at an additional cost and that they are only entitled to what comes in the plan they paid for.
When you quote the client, I would recommend giving them your price list that shows the additional service fees so there are no surprises and they see what more services would cost.
Running a Productized Web Design Business
So, how do you actually provide productized web design services?
The key to all of this is documentation and checklists.
With a productized web design service, you are going to have the same overall process for every web design project.
Because it’s meant to be repeatable, you can create systems and processes with checklists to ensure that every project, whether you have one or one hundred in your queue, are provided exactly to specifications.
Here is what your process can look like:
- Client questionnaire / interview to discuss site preferences
- Get needed assets (images, content) from client
- Create site homepage and interior pages
- Get approval from client before moving to next step
- Create the rest of the pages
- The technical under-the-hood stuff – SEO, migrating old pages, Google Analytics integration, form submission notifications, etc.
- Get client’s approval to go live
Each of these steps should have their own checklists with to-dos so that you can easily manage the process on all of your projects and know what’s the next step.
Once you have amassed a queue of a dozen or more websites, you’ll be thankful you have standardized processes so nothing gets lost.
By productizing your web design services, you can better serve your customers, provide quality work, and grow your design business.
As for next steps – I would recommend planning out your productized packages geared towards your ideal clients. Once you have clients interested in these products, I would build out your internal documentation so you can provide these products on a repeated basis.
Any questions about productizing your web design business? Let us know.