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  1. #1
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    Looking for a wee boost
    Just looking to vent.. not particularly affiliate-related..

    Part of my biz is designing/hosting sites for others.. I've moved away from it since my affiliate sites have picked up (traffic & revenue), but maintain a client base.

    A client just called to advise he's moved his site, he's a real DIY'er, so I can appreciate that. But when I go to HIS site, he apparently has launched his own website design & hosting service! This was based on some success he had building a local community site, I guess.

    He's doing all this with Joomla.

    Now I think Joomla is a GREAT app for DIY'ers, but as a pro, I can't really recommend it to clients, as it effectively locks them into that platform forever. Plus there are bugs, version control, upgrades, hacks, etc. which I'm just not going to take on for clients (how to do I charge for time spent when it's my recommended platform??). Also, for Joomla, how do you charge for a free app? Clients complain if it's time-based, nor do they realize how long these things take.

    For my biz, I have implemented a php-based CMS that doesn't have fancy bells & whistles, but generates front-end html-compatible code which can be ported elsewhere. Which means a client can move platforms easily, doesn't need a database, or in the case of an emergency php upgrade (which has happened), can be deployed as html.

    So here I am... totally second guessing my own success at site-design, when a DIY-er breezily takes on the same business as mine.

    On a positive note, a site that I did for a friend, who is a collector of 20th century objects.. will be listed in Arch. Digest next month (which was amazing news). One of his objects was selected by editors as a "web find", but he gives me full credit as there are thousands of sites that carry similar items. The site I deployed has a very simple gallery feel that fits...

    In my own way, I'm a professional DIY'er, but now feel 2nd best when a client does this... to add insult to injury, while we were chatting, I stupidly told him how I monetize my own sites (he asked if it was advertising, I said no). One more thing he can now offer...

    I'm kicking myself for (seemingly) giving free advice. I know threads like this exist, but how on earth do you learn to keep your mouth shut, when you should be getting paid to talk?? The only person making money from my blood, sweat & tears should be me...

  2. #2
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    OPMs end up giving away too much information for free often, and it was the thing I hated most about being one. When you're trying to sell a service as esoteric as web design or program management, how do you effectivley sell it without getting into some level of detail?

    Sure, a large design firm or a world famous OPM can sell on reputation alone, but when you're a player on a different level, that doesn't cut it.

    So trust me. I feel your pain.
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  3. #3
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    Take a deep breath and think about the difference between a novice and yourself. They might get a few clients, but when they realize what product they bought they very well might end up coming your way. ;-)

    -sfcom


  4. #4
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    Yeah, you're right, thanks!

    They haven't yet heard clients squawking about changes that aren't possible (cos they don't know they were sold Joomla, which is FREE software, it's called their own "content management solution"), or gone through hours upon hours of work for minor changes, etc etc...

    As a friend recently pointed out, just because you can use a sewing machine, it doesn't mean you can make a designer suit (my fav analogy!).

    DIY software is making a lot of people think they are professional web designers & developers.

    Also, I checked out the new web design/hosting company, it has one home page with 3 typos. I shouldn't be worried they will go after my business

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    teezone, I've gone a similar direction, from website developing/hosting to in my case merchant and additionally affiliate work. I started developing websites in '95 and continue to host a small base of clients. I no longer desire to develop sites for customers but just started work on one for my largest clients. I develop in MS Visual Interdev.
    Your designer suit analogy is dead on. I have seen many horrible sites developed by "website designers" lacking in any semblance to talent or skill. Those developers ALWAYS fall by the wayside as they can't sustain income with their inferior product. Don't let it get to you. The guy will probably play at developing for a while and poof!



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  6. #6
    Member niche's Avatar
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    This happens all the time. I think you are doing great by taking it all in your stride

    Thanks for the heads up on Joomla. Didn't realize that you would be locked in permanently. Also hadn't heard about the bugs. I don't know much about Joomla but because of the very effective publicity i was considering taking a look.
    [URL="http://www.affiliatemarketingintro.com"]Affiliate Marketing Basics[/URL]

  7. #7
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    The guy will probably play at developing for a while and poof!
    I certainly hope so! Thanks for that, I do feel better...

    And niche, hopefully it didn't sound like I was criticizing Joomla, the "locked-in" comment was just related to future development on the domain. If a client wants to change their site, or move to another designer... the existing site is in Joomla. Full stop. There is no easy way to convert that to a more standard site, or move the site elsewhere outside of Joomla (ie. difficult to unbundle content from the software itself). Clients will not be happy if they're stuck. Or if they find out you installed open-source code & charged for it, without being upfront about how you were spending your time. You can certainly charge for open source, and how you allocate your time is your own business, but I work with small companies who wouldn't be too impressed - they could hire their nephew to install it & buy a template for $100.

    It really is terrific for DIY'ers, but as a business model, you would have to present the pros & cons to the client. My "guy" has created a webdesign/hosting business entirely on Joomla, but hasn't stated that anywhere. I'm sure he will find out the hard way..

    As for bugs & hacks, it's open source, which simply makes it a target. You just need to stay on top of releases & fixes - this is something i would have to charge for (my time), should clients pay if it's my recommended software? I'm not sure they would.. but I would be blamed if it got hacked or disrupted! I have my professional CYA hat on here...

  8. #8
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    .. and btw, I'm totally pro-CMS... I deploy one myself.

    It just has to allow a client site to be moved easily, without software dependency.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    What it sounds like you are having is the 'build it' vs. 'buy it/download it' discussion. Here is my two cents:

    I've been a developer for about 3 decades now. And the older I get the more I realize that I really don't want to code that much any more. I am sure I could write any software that I see in the in the store or that I can download as open source. It is just not how I want to spend my time.

    Re: Joomla or [fill in your favorite software here] : I use it myself and recommend it. Is it something that they are going to get locked into ? I really don't see it as locked in . However if I build a custom CMS for somebody from the ground up they are locked into using my company. There are a lot more people out there that have used Joomla than will be able to maintain my code. For something like a CMS I am probably doing a disservice to my clients by NOT giving Joomla/Another CMS. I am forcing them to pay me for several hours of coding that could be better spent on design and content management.

    Any software - including mine - has bugs and vulnerabilities. However if I started coding a CMS right now I know that a piece of software that has been around and is worked on by more people is way ahead of the bug curve than me.

    I do build custom software when the need warrants. But sometimes my time is better spent elsewhere.

    FYI.... Joomla generates HTML like anything else. If all of a sudden we had to do an emergency migration I could grab an entire Joomla based site as strictly HTML and get it back up and running pretty fast. All CMSs - Joomla, Homegrown, etc. have to generate HTML eventually.
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  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador John Kruger's Avatar
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    Competition pops up everywhere...

    There are many people out their using Joomla/Drupal as their platform of choice. Some are much better at the implementation than others....

    I have DIY clients come to me with Joomla/Drupal or other "Site Building" issues, because they thought they could do it themselves, but learn it is not as easy as it looks.

    Joomla is just php and css.

    I also build client sites with Joomla - why recreate the wheel or CMS in this case?

    As I looked at AM and web development, I wanted to stay away from "daily maintenance" as much as possible. Using Joomla for some development allows me to focus on using my skills more effectively.

    I have definitely seen a switch from companies wanting to hand off all web maintenance, to a stronger desire to keep daily changes internal.

    Focus on your skill set, market and manage them appropriately, and everything will be fine.
    Respectfully,

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  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone
    .. and btw, I'm totally pro-CMS... I deploy one myself.

    It just has to allow a client site to be moved easily, without software dependency.
    What is CMS? I looked in the glossary thread but it wasn't listed...



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  12. #12
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    CMS = Content Management System (Joomla, Drupal, Mambo, to name a few)
    you are having is the 'build it' vs. 'buy it/download it' discussion
    Not quite, but I appreciate your view. 30 years in THIS biz is a lifetime

    My initial post was related to a client who installed his own Joomla site, and decided he didn't need my services. I have absolutely NO problem with that, he's a very good user & DIY'er, it's a perfect fit for him.

    What I spotted at the bottom of his site was a link to HIS new webdesign/hosting company. Go to that website & it states they offer content management solutions, nothing about Joomla. The breezy way in which he is offering his own services (possibly competing with me) really threw me for a loop.

    I don't need to build my own CMS, I use a very handy one that has been around for years, that have custom fixes that suit my biz. I've done Joomla sites (they tend to be the freebies for friends & family). For business clients, so long as the they are aware this is the platform, I say go for it.

    This all stemmed from a client who has deemed himself knowledgable enough to compete on my level with a few Joomla sites. That's all!

    My ego was bruised, and I needed comfort

    It seems rather silly now, as he can't really offer full-service web-design/hosting unless he would specify "we specialize in Joomla". It's misleading, and he will get in over his head in no time. Which isn't really my problem after all....

    (oh, I was also kicking myself for sharing info about how I monetize my own sites.. this was before I saw that he had launched his own web design/hosting company.. gave free advice when I should've kept my mouth shut!)

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    That bites teezone. Sorry to hear about all of that.
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  14. #14
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    It bites, yup.. however it seems to have lit a fire, as these things tend to do!

    I'm now dusting off a new affiliate site that never got launched. Food programs look out, I'm set to apply everywhere!

    Thanks all

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    Three cheers for Teezone.

    Let's hear it... hip hip....
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  16. #16
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    awww......

    HOORAY!!!

    Thanks, couldn't resist...

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Immerse yourself! I've always found that there's no better cheerer upper than a new project...



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  18. #18
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    Well, well, well.. it happened sooner than expected!!

    Client's new "partner" just sent me an email asking if I had coded the online scheduler that was part of the old site. Guess they forgot about THAT little app...

    Good thing I sent formal notice: "as requested, site is no longer required, and you have taken the necessary steps to copy all files". Client replied with go ahead, delete everything.

    Gee, so sorry I can't help...

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone
    Well, well, well.. it happened sooner than expected!!

    Client's new "partner" just sent me an email asking if I had coded the online scheduler that was part of the old site. Guess they forgot about THAT little app...

    Good thing I sent formal notice: "as requested, site is no longer required, and you have taken the necessary steps to copy all files". Client replied with go ahead, delete everything.

    Gee, so sorry I can't help...
    SWEET!



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