KillerSites Blog

web design business

Estimating the time it takes to build a website

May 5, 2008

One question that is put to me from time to time is:

“… how can you budget the amount of time it will take to build a website?”

This can be a tricky thing because there are so many factors involved:

  • How fast do you work?
  • Is your client going to be really picky and ask for many revisions?
  • Are you likely to come across time consuming bugs?

Ultimately, you will have to learn how fast it takes YOU … to build a website.

read more

College to Learn Web Design?

January 14, 2008

A common question I get from people, is whether it makes sense to go to college to learn web design?

I’ve talked about the web design profession in other articles. Yet, as you will see in the following email I recently got, I haven’t dealt with all the issues regarding web design and education:

Hi Stefan,

Anyway, I am interested in web design. I am in the middle of trying to figure out whether I should go to my local community colleges for courses in HTML, photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc … or an actual art school for graphic art/ web design. Of course cost is a factor.

I am a mother of two, and my work schedule needs to be flexible. I am very creative and have a great eye for design.

My question is, which course of action you recommend? How much education is necessary? Is a degree necessary, if so, what type? associate, bachelors, certificate?

What are the salary potentials in web design working for yourself and for outside companies (I have research outside company positions advertising 40k – 50k, is that realistic?)

I’m not young, (a youthful 44) and I really need to do something in the form of a career for myself, other than taking care of everyone else.

Thank you so much for your time-


read more

The Web Design Business Process

January 9, 2008

The web design business process is what happens between the web designer and the client they are serving.

The following article targets two groups of people:

  • Web designers who want to get into the business of web design.
  • People who are looking to higher a web designer and want to get a better idea of the process – at a high level.

When first approached by someone looking to get a web site built, the first thing you need to do is figure some details about the website. Things like:

  • Features/functionality; do they need e-commerce, a blog, password protected pages etc.
  • Scale: how big will the website be? How many pages?
  • Purpose of the site: will it be a branding site? Will they need to be found by the search engines or will the site be more about serving an established client base?

These basic questions can have a big impact on how you build the site, the budget and the skills you will need as a web designer/consultant to complete the job.

read more

Website Templates: can you use them in professional web design?

January 5, 2008

A few days ago, I got this email that is all about starting a web design business, so I thought I would answer it here because I think a lot of people might find it interesting.

I need your opinion. I was looking to quote a friend a price for a small, simple, informational website. No more then 10 pages at the most. Possibly holding scedules for his football team too (which would need to be updated).

I know he wants a deal from me. Also, design is my weak point. How would i properly word the idea of using a website template? If i go and get a template from somewhere, it would be ethically correct to tell him since he could come across the same design someday. How would i go about doing that without him thinking- well i can go get a template and i don’t need you! Then I’ve lost a job!

Let me know your ideas.


read more

How the Web’s Past can Point to Web Design’s Future

November 13, 2007

Someone recently wrote to me where they were concerned about the future of web design as a profession. I’ve summarized the question as follows:

Given the rampant spread of website templates and point-and-click site builder tools (that more and more web hosts are offering) can web designers realistically expect to continue to make a good living building web sites for small business using traditional (from scratch) web design methods?

The answer to this question (and to find out clues on how to move forward) all we need to do is to look to web design’s past.

But before we go on, there is also something else to consider:

Web designers also have to deal with the reality that there are lots of kids out there willing to use pirated copies of Dreamweaver and Photoshop, to build a website for a fraction of what professionals have to charge.

Since (I’m guessing) most web design professionals don’t live with their parents anymore, it’s hard for them to compete with teenage nerds who just need XBox money.

How about the quality of the web design work – doesn’t that have an affect on who people will choose to build their website?

… Unfortunately, sometimes quality (for short sighted business owners) doesn’t fit into the equation. That said, there is good news for professional web designers. Read on …

read more

The Future of the Web Design Profession

November 10, 2007

Every once and a while I use a question put to me, as the basis for an article. This time, we have Richard asking whether web design (as a profession,) will have bright future.

The email:

Thank you for having courses that make it easier for the average laymen to comprehend the basics which will allow the complex material to sink in. I have a question though.

I am in my fifties, have done many different things in my life, and I am looking for something as a career change to take me into my second half of life and into retirement. What do you think the opportunities are going to be in the future in this type of industry taking into consideration the advancements in technology?

In other words, where do you see a web page developer or designer 5, 10, 15 years from now. Thank you for your time and consideration in my attempts to make an educated decision about my future.


Richard Sherban

Hi Richard,

I think the future is good for web design and development. That said, I would like point out a few things:

read more

Use the ‘80/20’ rule to make your web design better.

November 3, 2007

Back in about 1906, Vilfredo Pareto created a mathematical formula to describe the not so equal distribution of wealth in his country; he figured out that twenty percent of the people owned eighty percent of the wealth.

I’m sure Pareto thought that sucked pretty bad, needless to say, he had no idea how good they had it back then!

read more

Setting the Price for Private Web Design Training

November 2, 2007

Many of my best articles come from email questions put to me by readers.

In this case, we have someone asking what to charge for private web design training.

The email:

i’ve been a member of your newsletter for years .. BIG FAN!

i recently met a guy that owns/founded an SEO company here in New York that works from home and is VERY successful/wealthy… he asked that i teach him photoshop and flash cs3.

i have NO IDEA what to quote him.

He wants to learn basic image manipulation in photoshop and then learn buttons, headers, and small PowerPoint like presentations in flash.

So minimal actionscript, tweening, and movie clip galore!

I assume i would charge him hourly….

i have an associates degree from WEA in interactive media about 5 years web design experience, and have been a flash developer for a fortune 500 company for just over 2 years now…

Can you help me come up with a good price to quote…keep in mind he may outsource work to me in the future so i need a strong price now so i can make real money later on, but not scare him away..



read more

Your First Web Design Contract

October 31, 2007

Recently someone asked me a bunch of questions related to getting their first web design job as an independent contractor – and so I figured an article was a good idea.

Tim asked:


With me being a newbie in the web design business, I have some questions. Long story short, I was talking with my friends wife one day and mentioned to her that I had thought about doing some web design on the side to make some extra money.

I live in a small town, with a lot of small businesses and I figure these businesses would have a use for a simple web site to help promote their business.

… So I’m thinking this would be something I could start within the next year or so, … two days ago I receive a call from my friends wife and she asks if I’m interested in doing a web site for her brother, who is a dentist in our town.

So, I say sure and she tells me that he will probably contact me soon to set up a meeting to discuss.

Now, this is great but I haven’t got a clue where to start. Hers’s my thought:

1. Meet with the client to discuss the site. How many pages, the content, etc. Maybe show some of my work.
2. Take the info from the meeting and come up with a quote.
3. Present my idea’s and the quote.
4. If he agree’s and accepts the quote, draw up a contract for him to sign.

read more