Find Web Developers
Find Web Developers

How to Find Customers For Your Web Development Company

There are a lot of companies around the world who have the expertise to create very impressive pieces of online software. Whether you write your code in ASP, PHP, Perl or some other language then you will have something that website owners will value. The challenge is how to find customers when your average site owner doesn’t know PHP from a BLT.

In 1999 I set up a web development firm and it has gone from strength to strength. In this article I will share the most valuable piece of advice that I can offer and explain how we attract customers and have continued to grow over the past 8 years.
A premise of my advice is that advertising to get customers is expensive and time consuming and often dealing with those looking to create their first website is time consuming and frustrating if their ideas are wildly different from what you know will be successful. The story below avoids any of these problems.

I started off by writing a small series of PHP scripts and advertised these within the ‘geek’ community. These included a relatively simple whois script that allows users to type in a Domain Name and check its availability. This shortly expanded to include a shopping cart and ordering system. I advertised this on Hot Scripts, the PHP Resource Index and a few other basic websites where technical people and design firms look.

Over the first year I offered this whois script for free. Several hundred companies downloaded the program and I made sure I responded to any support enquiries very quickly and politely. As the program improved I started charging around £50 ($100) per download and the script went from strength to strength. To date I have sold several thousand copies – a good return from an initial investment of perhaps a weeks work and free listings on Hot Scripts and a few other sites.

What this model achieves is that companies who are looking for a whois script but don’t have the technical skill to write one themselves find your offering, they then contact you with support requests and are impressed with your level of support. A large proportion of the companies that contacted me were design firms. In the future if this design company received an enquiry from a potential customer who required something that needed bespoke programming then they immediately thought of my company. They then sent the customer’s brief to me for a quotation, I replied with a friendly email and a reasonable price and the job was secured and quickly delivered.

Every day I sold a copy of the who is script and every week I was creating new relationships with design firms around the world. These design companies spend their time dealing with customers, advertising for new work and dealing with the stress of finding new leads and I sat back and replied to emails with quotations and did programming work.

This business model may not work for everybody but I would certainly recommend giving it a try – develop something that design firms may download and then provide them with a good service, the better you can do this the more chance they have of remembering you and rewarding you with more profitable work in the future.

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