If you’re aspiring to start a web design business, there’s no way around it, you’re going to have to decide how you will interact with domains and hosting. Question like the following will pester you until you decide on a clear answer.
- Will I sell hosting and domain names?
- Can I generate revenue from hosting and domains?
- Can I own a domain on behalf of my client?
I’ve had to answer these questions for myself so let me walk you through some important aspects of answering these questions.
Domain Ownership Issues
“Where’s my domain name?”
I build sites for clients and I can’t tell you how many prospects come to me and “have” a domain name but what they don’t have is any clue where the domain is and how to manage it. Usually, some random web designer purchased their domain for them and it’s sitting in that web designer’s domain registrar account.
Web designers are hard enough to get a response from when you owe them money. So contacting them for a favor isn’t generally going to generate a very speedy response, or any response at all. So recovering a domain from a web designer is a tough task. I’ve seen this first hand and watched people say “bye bye” to domains they thought they owned for 10+ years.
This is why I always encourage prospects to purchase domains on their own. And it’s why I’d encourage you to do the same when you start your web design business,
I do offer to purchase domains as part of my web design service as a convenience for some clients who have no clue how to even purchase a book online, much less register a domain name. But this is less than 5% of my clients, and I do this because I don’t want the acquisition of a domain name to keep them from becoming my client.
“Who Owns the Website?”
Many of my clients and prospects ask me this question before getting started with my service.
Will I own the website?
It’s an interesting question. And I usually explain that the domain is really the main asset of any website. As long as they have the domain ownership, they can move their website wherever they want and retain all the popularity they have accumulated to their domain.
I wouldn’t want a web designer to purchase a domain name on my behalf, so I can honestly recommend the same approach to my clients. And it saves me money because I don’t have to renew my clients’ domains on a yearly basis.
However you decide to handle domains, be up-front and honest about your policy and your prospects will appreciate it.
The Domain Gold Mine
Domains are a cash cow. According the RegistrarStats.com, the day before I’m writing this, 135,000 domain names were purchased which probably means well over $1.5 million was spent on domain names in a single day.
There’s money to be made in domain names. It’s a gold mine – Point taken.
Totally ignoring domains as a revenue source is short-sighted. But how can you take advantage without opening your own domain registrar company? There are a few ways.
Option #1: Affiliate
The approach I take is an affiliate approach. I am an affiliate with Godaddy, the largest seller of domains and so I can send people to my Godaddy affiliate link to purchase their domain and I’ll make a few dollars.
I also created this video to help people purchasing a domain name since it can feel like blazing a trail in a jungle for first timers. Helpful content like this will help your clients and earn extra income at the same time.
Options #2: Reseller
Another option is becoming a domain reseller. Large domain sellers like Godaddy and enom offer reseller programs where you can sell domain names under your own company name and it is entirely managed for you while you collect commissions.
Most web designers won’t make thousands selling domain names, but since it will only take a few minutes to become an affiliate or reseller, the extra cash every year is well worth your time.
Hosting – The OTHER Cash Cow
Most web designers also overlook hosting as a revenue source. I talk about the potential for hosting revenues in my other post on web designer income, but there are other aspects to consider when you think through your hosting strategy.
- Revenue potential – Even if you don’t sell hosting, you can setup affiliate partnerships just like you can with domain sellers to earn some revenue by recommending respectable hosting options to your clients and prospects.
- Educate to Inform – Whether you like it or not, your prospects will look to you for answers when purchasing hosting. So regardless of whether you choose to sell hosting, you need to educate yourself so you can properly inform your clients. Find the reputable hosting companies that offer solid support and service so you can recommend them with confidence and keep your prospects from making costly mistakes.
- Make Your Life Easier – I’ve had experience with different hosting companies and they are all a bit different. If your client chooses a hosting company that has one server in Russia but only costs them $0.50 per month, it’s great for their bottom line, but bad for their website. Chances are a slow server is going to cost you a lot of time in development as you inevitably wait 10-20 seconds for pages to load. Getting your clients on solid, reputable hosting may cost them a few extra dollars per month, but it will make your life easier and improve the overall experience their website offers to visitors.
Domain, Hosting, and Web Design – All Wrapped in a Bow
If you’re planning on using a website builder like IM Creator, your domain and hosting decisions will be simplified BIG TIME for you AND your clients!
Most website builders allow their customers to easily purchase domain names within the website builder account. And since website hosting is included with all online website builder platforms, you don’t need to worry about dealing with different setups like cpanel, windows, linux, WordPress, etc. Hosting will essentially be a non-existent decision. It’s part of the package.
If your clients already own their domain name, they can just leave it where it is and point it to the website builder hosting with just a few steps.
Gift Box by weddingmusings via Flickr Creative Commons