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It was 2004. I was 17 years old. I had enrolled in a “Graphic Arts” class in Central California. As a part of the class, I had learned to use Photoshop and expanded on my knowledge of Dreamweaver. Near the end of the semester, shortly before my 18th birthday, I got my first web development client. The El Dorado County Democratic Party needed a website and one of their members asked if a friend and I would be interested in building the site. We jumped at the opportunity and that began my entrance into the world of web development.

That first site was $300, if I recall correctly. It was a lot of work to build, stretching my then limited knowledge of web development, and challenging me in more ways than I had imagined. It was fun, though, and I was ready for more.

My second web development client came shortly after. Our local newspaper, the El Dorado County Mountain Democrat, had published a column I wrote, teaching folks how to avoid viruses delivered by email. A gentleman contacted me after reading the column and asked if I built websites. He worked at UC Davis, a California University, and needed a website to represent a school project. We worked out the details and I began my second development project.

Since then, I have worked with over a hundred different clients (I haven’t done an exact count yet), with projects of many different shapes and sizes. I have learned a lot over the years, through a lot of pain and a lot of success.

For the first client, I was the right person in the right place at the right time. The second client was a lot more work. From those two clients and the many that have followed after, I’ve learned a lot about getting new business.

Your First Web Development Client

So you’re wanting to get started in web development, but you’re not sure where to begin. The good news is that there are three universal principles I’ve learned that, diligently applied, will lead to your first client.

The Three Principles

  1. Making Yourself Available
    People need to know that you build websites. If they don’t know, how can they ask? First, you tell the people you know. “I’ve started making websites! If you know of anyone who needs a website, let me know!” Keep it simple and get the word out. Next, when you meet someone new, let them know! If you’ve already got a job doing something else, say, “I work at so and so.. and I do web development on the side!” Get business cards with your name and contact information and share them with friends, family, and folks you meet.
  2. Give Value Like Crazy
    This has been the key to my success. I wrote my first WordPress tutorial back in 2006 and I gave it everything I had at the time, with no strings attached. I wrote articles, gave advice, and made it a habit to share what I knew with others. As people read my tutorials, some of them would contact me and ask me to do work for them. I built my first business around the value that I had given away. As you give, conclude with a call to action and invite them to contact you if you can be of service. The more you give the more opportunity you have to reach someone who will ask for your services.
  3. Answer The Question
    As you make yourself available and give value like crazy, potential clients will start asking for your help. When they ask, say yes! Make sure that you focus on a “win” for your client and yourself. This means that you start by asking for a budget or by telling them upfront what you charge. If they don’t have a budget, feel them out, “$500? $1000? $2000? $3000?” They’ll let you know how much they’re comfortable with. From there, determine if their budget and your services are a match. Once you’ve worked out a win, pour yourself into giving that first client the best experience possible.

Getting Started

Now, let’s go get that first client! You’ve got 30 days. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Make The Decision – Decide that you are a web developer and you are committed to learning and mastering the trade and providing the best service and experience that you can possibly give. Write it down where you can see it every day.
  • Build Your Website – Create a website on WordPress (learn why I recommend WordPress) using a pre-built premium theme. Offer it as an example of the types of work you can provide.
  • Spread The Word – Contact at least 10 people closest to you in the next 5 days. Keep it simple. Just let them know that you are now doing web development and that if they know of anyone (including themselves) in need of a website that you would be thrilled to be of service.
  • Give Value – In the first 10 days, figure out a way to contribute something of value. Here are a few specific ideas. If none of them are a match for you, spend some time thinking and come up with something:
    • Contact your local newspaper with an article outline and work with them to get it published.
    • Offer to build a website for a local ministry at no cost with no strings attached. When the work is done and the client is thrilled, ask for an endorsement and referrals.
    • Write a tutorial explaining how you built the site for that ministry so that others can do the same for theirs (it might seem counterintuitive, but it works).
    • Teach a free workshop at local library, community center, or church on the basics of starting a new blog on WordPress.
    • Give your time, no strings attached, sharing ideas and suggestions with business owners on how a website could help their business.
  • Report Back – Use the comments below and tell me how you’re doing. If you’ve got questions, let me know! If you get stuck, keep moving forward!
  • Stick To It – Review your decision each day. If you’re a believer, pray earnestly about this new endeavor. Do something to move towards that goal of your first client each day.

New! How I Can Help

I’ve decided to offer a free course called “Four Weeks To Your First Client“. I’m developing the course to take you in greater detail through each of the steps I’ve outlined abovewith particular attention given to the “Build Your Website” section and “Give Value”. There are no strings attached. The course is completely free and my goal is simple. If I can help you get your first client, then you will more than likely want to buy my premium course and let me help you go beyond that first client. Ready to get started? Scroll up and fill out the form just above this post or visit the course page and I’ll send the first lesson your way!

Back in 2009, while I was on my way home from a trip to visit family, I was struggling with a marketing problem – trying to figure out how to build an effective landing page. I prayed about it and I was blessed with a marketing revelation that, while simple and to the point, has been a key in changing the way I look at building businesses (and their websites). This simple revelation, within only a few short months of implementation, brought a client of ours a contract worth over $2M and it has led to thousands of successful sales.

The 3 Cs of a Successful Website

  1. Context
  2. Credibility
  3. Call To Action

Let’s dive right in.

Context

When a visitor lands on your website, you only have a few seconds to get their attention before they’re gone. You need to give them an immediate context that says, “I have exactly what you’re looking for.”

Here are a few ways you can do that:

  • Business/Project Name – Oftentimes, your business or project name will convey a basic sense of what it is you do. If this is the case, make sure you’ve made the most of it and you introduce your website with the right name.
  • 3-Second Speech – You need to be able to convey what it is you do in three seconds or less. Work on it until you’ve got it down. Once you have it down, use the text in a prominent place on your website to give context.

Credibility

After you’ve established context, you need to give your visitors a clear and obvious reason to believe that you’re a credible authority and that you can help them.

Here are a few tips for establishing credibility:

  • Endorsements – Share what others have said about you and their experience working with you.
  • Photos – Share a personal photo, a photo of your office location, photos of your products, etc. Go for the highest quality possible and avoid using stock photography.
  • Videos – Show the product in use, give a quick tour of your office, share a brief message from the president, etc. Keep it simple and well done.

You’ll recognize a consistent theme here: let others establish your credibility.

Call To Action

This is where many websites fail. As you’ve established context and credibility, you must follow through with a clear call to action. To make it clear, your “call” needs to answer three basic questions:

  1. What do you want me to do? – Tell your visitors, very clearly, what it is you want from them.
  2. How do you want me to do it? – Don’t assume they know what the next step is, guide them clearly and let them know exactly what they need to do next.
  3. What’s in it for me? – Why should they care? What do they get for doing what you’ve asked them to? This is the “benefit”. Don’t talk about the features of your great product or service, outline clearly the benefit they will receive.

Now, go look at your own website or business idea. Ask yourself the questions:

  • “Who am I sharing my message to?” (Context)
  • “How can I connect with them in less than 3 seconds?” (Context)
  • “Why should they believe what I’m telling them?” (Credibility)
  • “What am I asking my audience to do?” (Call to Action)

Let me know what you think about what I’ve shared! Did it inspire you? Can you apply this to what you’re working on now? Write a comment and let me know what you’re doing with what you learned.

After several months of work and delays, I’m happy to present a brand new tutorial for WordPress 2.x. This particular tutorial is an update from my original, written nearly 2 years ago, for WordPress 1.5. Take a look and be sure to let me know what you think! : )

Link: How To Build A WordPress Theme

-Jonathan Wold

While browsing through my visitor referrals this morning, I noticed that a large number of unique visitors are making their way over to my little site from Google Images. A quick look at bandwidth usage shows that the majority of visitors are just looking for images to leech for MySpace profiles, etc, which I don’t mind so long as it doesn’t get out of hand.

So, I thought about it for awhile. I have several thousand visitors a month showing up on my “artwork” page and they’re nearly all coming from the same place.

What if I could have a message that would be shown only when a visitor arrived from Google Images? That might be something worth playing around with ;).

Well, having seen similiar things before, I knew it was possible. After a bit of digging and a tip in the right direction, compliments of performancing.com, I found a solution.

First, let’s see it in action. Visit my artwork page and you’ll see it as the average visitor to jonathanwold.com will see it.

Next, head on over to Google and do an image search for “blue flames“, one of my more popular search terms. Depending on your country, the name “Jonathan” should be somewhere in the top 10 in blue flames. Click on it and you’ll see the message for Google Images visitors. (Don’t see it? Let me know ;)

Alrighty, now for the code! Copy and then paste the code below into notepad (or similiar plain text editor) to clear any formatting tags, then use on a PHP page and enjoy!






Your Message Here - You can use HTML ;)




And there you have it. Paste the code into the PHP page you wish to use it on and modify the HTML section as appropriate. In my particular situation, I included a CSS styled DIV tag to display my visitor notice. You can change the “referer” from images.google.com to whatever you’d like. Use your imagination :). Alrighty, and that’s that for this morning! Enjoy and if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, add them in the comments below or send me an email.

Have a wonderful rest of the day! : )

-Jonathan