I based the WP SideGig system on two important principles…
- We build Minimum Viable Websites.
- We insist on receiving the Content First.
What is a Minimum Viable Website?
A minimum viable website is the way we set the scope of the project. For instance, if we say we build websites for $250.00. the buyer doesn’t know what they’ll get. And we don’t know what the buyer wants.
But if we say…
We’ll build you a five-page website with these pages.
And we’ll include a contact form with input fields for the users email address, phone number, and message.
But please note, before we begin the design process. You the customer must provide us with the content needed for each webpage.
We’d also like to explain about any extra costs. For instance, domain name registration, web hosting and SEO are not included in the price. If you ask us to source images for your site, we charge for that too. And don’t forget that web design does not include logo creation.
We now have a much clearer and more fixed scope. The customer knows what they get for their money, and we know what work we must do.
Why Content First?
If you insist that the customer provides enough content to build a minimum viable website before you begin the web design process, you’ll save a lot of time and frustration for both you and your customer.
Without the content you can’t build the site, but getting the content is the biggest bottleneck most web designers face. So we need to do two things.
- First, we must refuse to start the design process until we have enough content to build a minimum viable website.
- Then we make it as easy as possible for the customer to write that content.
How do we do this?
For your first few clients, if you’re on a tight budget, you can provide the customer with MS Word or Google Documents where they can fill in the blanks with their content and return the documents to you.
An easier way to get content from your client
To make it easy for your customer to provide their content, I recommend you use a paid service called Content Snare. We must remember we’re trying to make money, not spend it. But without content from your customer, you can’t build their website. So, for the time and effort is saves you and your customer, Content Snare is worth considering, especially once you make money from building websites.
How does Content Snare work?
Content Snare sends a request email to your customer. They click a link in the email which takes them to a form on the Content Snare website.
Your customer sees a list of questions with boxes where they can type their answers.
Content Snare provides a readymade questionnaire. This guides your customer through the process of writing their content. But because that questionnaire is very thorough, it might be overwhelming for a small business owner. I’d recommend you build your own questionnaire in Content Snare. That way you can ask for just enough information to build their website.
A Productized Service
The plan is to make money from your WordPress side gig. So, you need to deliver as much value as you can, for the lowest price you can. A great way to do that is to present your service as if it was a product.
By offering a website with a clearly defined scope at a fixed price you eliminate haggling over price.
You could even charge up front, which eliminates the risk of you being stiffed for your payment.
With a productized service you’re selling your services but you’re presenting your offer as if it was a product. You clearly state, this is what you get, and this is what it costs.
Preparing the customer to fill in the form
The real bottleneck in building small business websites is getting the customer to sit down in front of their laptop to type in their information.
As I mentioned earlier, using a Content Snare web form is the best way to do this. But we can make the form they fill in less intimidating if we prepare them before they see the form.
So, we make a two-step process.
- The customer reads a guide on your website explaining what information they need to provide.
- Then they fill in the form on the Content Snare website and provide that information.
A content writing guide for your customers
To give customers some idea of the content they must provide, I’ve made a simple guide to the content needed for each page.