Calculating Freelance Web Developer Rates

You need a freelance web developer or are thinking about freelancing yourself, but you have no idea where to start when it comes to rates. Should you pay or charge by the hour? How much does this stuff cost? You ask around, and you can’t get a straight answer.

That’s because freelance web developer rates vary based on experienced, location, and expertise. Some developers charge $20,000 per website, while others scrape by at $30 per hour. It all depends on the developer.

The trick to figuring out a web developer hourly rate is figuring out the services you need, and venturing out into the field to determine how much it will cost you. Whether you’re a freelance yourself or you want to hire one, you’ve got to ask yourself what you need done, and what you can realistically afford.

What Type of Development?

Do you need ongoing maintenance? Do you need someone to build a website from scratch? Ecommerce websites that sell online might have more needs than brick-and-mortar shops, and rates will adjust accordingly.

  • Website from scratch — Building a website from scratch is likely to be more expensive in the short term than adding on to a website that already exists. Note that it could cost more to add a content management system, have someone code in HTML5, or to be responsive on mobile devices.
  • Ongoing maintenance — All websites need ongoing maintenance, and you should be prepared to have a freelance web developer on hand to help with the creation of new pages, any issues with hosting, URL changes, and integration with marketing tools.
  • Design needs — Sometimes freelance web developers also offer design services, such as image creation for blog posts and other website pages.

Typical Freelance Web Developer Rates

There’s a wide array of rates. A new website can cost anywhere from $2000 to $20,000. An experienced freelance web developer might charge upwards $150 per hour, while a newbie might charge $30 per hour. But what do you need?

The trick is to determine your needs and set your budget first. Determine what work you need done, and decide on how much you’d be willing to pay for it. For example, you might decide that you need a 5 page WordPress website, and that you’d be willing to pay $800 for it. This will give you a basis to work with, and even if it the designers and developers you want appear out of your reach, you’ll be able to have some sort of starting point, and can adjust accordingly.

It’s also a good idea to ask any friends and colleagues for insight. How much did they pay for their website? Try to collect as much information as possible from real experiences.

You Get What You Pay For

People want to get a good deal, but everyone knows the best goods come with a substantial price tag. If you want high quality, or can provide high quality to your clients, your rates should reflect that.

When a company hires a freelance web developer, it’s typically a lot cheaper than hiring an employee. Freelancers and those who hire them should keep this in mind when it comes to rates, and not shy away when rates seem high.

For example, a freelancer might charge $10,000 to build a website from scratch, delivering it within three or four months. If an employer hires someone to do this in-house at a salary of $80,000 per year, plus benefits, this employee might take three months to build the same website, which winds up costing you $20,000, which is twice as expensive. That doesn’t include the benefits you have to provide that employee, either.

Finding Developers

Finding high quality, trustworthy developers is half the battle. If you’re searching for a freelance developer, here are some sources to turn to:

  • Your connections — Hands down, your connections are the best places to look for a freelance web developer. Who built their websites? Who do they use for ongoing maintenance? Who do they recommend?
  • Stack Exchange — Stack Exchange is a community for developers of all kinds, and tons of freelance developers hang out and exchange tips in this community. It’s a great place to tap if you have a new project and want to get the word out.
  • Guru — Guru is a freelance website that specializes in freelance developers. It allows you to post your project and your budget. It’s a good option for those on a tight budget as many freelance developers on Guru are inexpensive.
  • Toptal — Toptal is a newer freelance platform that connects the best developers with clients in need. Unlike Guru or other freelancing sites, Toptal focuses on the best of the best, only accepting 3% of all developers who apply.

Testing the Waters

Many want to understand freelance web developer rates before they hire a developer, but you may need to test the waters to understand how your rates work out in the field.

  • If you’re looking for a freelance web developer, find a few developers and get some quotes. Find a few different developers, explain your project, and ask them for a quote. How much would they charge to get it done? What would their process be? This is the best way to figure out the going rate.
  • If you are a freelance developer, test out some rates and see how clients respond. Setting rates is tough, and sometimes the best way to learn is through experience. It’s also a good idea to ask other freelance developers what they charge, and join up with some freelance communities to learn more.

Understanding Freelance Web Developer Rates

Asking about typical freelance web developer hourly rate is much like asking how much it costs to pay rent. Rent depends a lot on budget, location, and size and quality of the home. Web developer rates depend a lot on project, expertise, and quality of the freelance web developer.

Creating A Strong Product Differentiation Strategy

Imagine a customer is leaving a restaurant and choosing between calling an Uber or a Lyft. He knows he wants to get home as quickly as possible, but he’s still faced with a decision. Should he call an Uber or opt for a Lyft instead?

The executives at Uber and Lyft work hard to differentiate their products so that the customer’s choice is easy. They want customers to make a choice without thinking at all.

As you grow your business, you want to make sure you’re differentiating from the pack so that users choose you over competitors again and again. In fact, you want to create a product that’s so good that your customers don’t see your competitors as viable options.

In this post, we’ll explore how you can craft a strong product differentiation strategy that sets you apart from the competition.

What is Product Differentiation?

Product differentiation, by definition, is what separates you from your competitors. What is it about your product that makes it unique? What stands out? Why would a prospective customer choose you over a competitor?

But product differentiation refers to more than just being different. It’s about offering something that has an attractive advantage. Coming up with a differentiation strategy is essential to the products and services you sell, but it’s also important for your branding and marketing efforts. How is your marketing different from what’s out there?

The Challenges

If it were easy, you wouldn’t be reading this post. Here are some common challenges that entrepreneurs face as they strive to create a successful strategy:

Copying others. When you see your competition offering brand new features, it’s tempting to copy exactly what they’re doing. You worry that customers will see those new features and ditch you for your competitor. But if all you do is copy, you don’t have a distinct product differentiation strategy. You need to be committed to creating a better overall experience, instead of racing to copy the competition.

Sustaining the competitive advantage. When you first start out, you may have a few distinct advantages, but it won’t be long for the competition to catch up, and for your audience to get bored. As you grow, you need to continually stay on top of trends, constantly iterating to find new ways to differentiate.

Race to the bottom tactics. It can be tempting to compete on price, but this strategy could put you out of business. If you only differentiate on price, offering the lowest possible offers, then youre setting yourself up for a constant race to the bottom.

Relying purely on product quality. Your product may be made of the finest materials, and your software may have been developed by top engineers, but customers are interested in more than quality alone. Plus, many businessses claim to offer quality services but have low standards.

Start with You, Not Your Competitors

Robert Herjavek, serial entrepreneur, thinks the world is filled with too many “me too” businesses, which makes it difficult for them to get capital. “I think if you really have an innovative idea and you’re first to market, there’s no shortage in money,” Herjavek told Entrepreneur.

Saying “me too” goes beyond product. Sometimes, businesses mimic their competition’s marketing, rather than differentiating with a unique strategy. You might see that your competition has published a new blog series, or is offering a series of coupon codes in creative channels. Sometimes, their tactics might inspire you, but it’s important to develop your own strategy.

Prioritize the User

When you’re trying to differentiate, it’s important that you think about how you can improve the experience for the user. Many founders get hung up on what the competition is doing, or work so hard to do something different, that they forget about the people they’re serving.

When crafting a differentiation strategy, think first about your user. Is there something you could offer that would make their lives better? Ask yourself:

  • How is our offering an advantage for the customer?
  • What problems does our product solve?
  • What do users need that we could provide?

Race to the Top

As we outlined earlier, it can be tempting to offer the lowest possible prices. You reason that low prices are a good way to differentiate your product from your competitor’s.

In some cases, price can be a good differentiator. For example, if you’ve found a revolutionary way to manufacture products, and are able to reduce your margins substantially, it may make sense to come in at a much lower price point. In this scenario, you’re not losing money by offering low prices. Instead, you’re creating value for the consumer.

Most of the time, however, you want to race to the top. That means creating premium products and offerings. Think about how good it feels to buy a well made pair of jeans or the perfect project management software, in both these cases, customers are willing to pay a high price to get what they want. If you’re able to differentiate, price points won’t be a problem.

8 Entrepreneur Podcasts to Get Hooked On

You’re on a long flight with your smartphone in hand, and some ear buds wedged into your ears. What should you do? Listen to a podcast, of course.

Podcasts offer a great way to consume information, especially for people who love to multitask and take advantage of every minute in an already busy day. You can listen while you’re driving, sitting on the subway, or lying in bed.

The challenge is finding the best podcasts to listen to. Which ones will provide you the most value? Which ones ask the best questions, and bring in the most knowledgeable and entertaining personalities?

We scoured the podcast world to find the best entrepreneur podcasts, and found eight business podcasts that will keep you in the loop and feeling inspired.

Traction: How Startups Start

Traction, produced by Next View Ventures, a Boston-based venture capital firm, features entrepreneurs telling stories of how their products took off. The show details the creative, clever, and unusual ways entrepreneurs scrape their way to early results with a roster that includes the founders of DraftKing, LinkedIn, and many more. If you’re looking for ideas on how to get the word out about your startup, you’ll be inspired by the stories told on Traction.

Listen to Traction if:

  • You’re looking for creative ways to get the word out about your products and services.

StartUp

From the producers of Planet Money comes StartUp, a podcast about what it means to build your own business. StartUp’s production value can’t be beat, and the stories are rich, engaging, and authentic. It doesn’t cover the nuts and bolts of business, but dives deep into the emotional ramifications of building your own thing. StartUp is a podcast for anyone interesting in business, whether you’ve built one yourself or prefer to watch from the sidelines.

Listen to StartUp if:

  • You feel lonely on the emotional roller coaster of entrepreneurship.

The Pitch

Pitching your startup to investors? Then check out The Pitch, a podcast that showcases founders pitching their early stage startups. On the show, founders give their pitch to hosts Josh Muccio and Sheel Mohnot, who then help the founders raise money from an audience of angel investors. Startups have included Dollar Beard Club, Chameleon, and Havenly.

Listen to The Pitch if:

  • You love Shark Tank, The Profit, and other TV shows on CNBC.

Re/code Decode

Kara Swisher is one of tech’s most revered journalists, and she brings her straightforward style to Re/code Decode, her own podcast. Swisher interviews various business leaders and personalities and isn’t afraid to examine how business, media, politics and culture collide. Swisher tackles such topics as the NFL media, whether hoverboards are worth buying, and how Airbnb envisions the future of hospitality.

Listen to Re/code Decode if:

  • You’re interested in the latest trends and how technology connects to pop culture.

How to Start a Startup

Y Combinator and Stanford University now have their own podcast — How to Start a Startup. In this podcast, Sam Altman and the folks from Y Combinator, one of Silicon Valley’s most elite accelerators, offer up an incredible lecture in each podcast. Some recent lectures have included How to Run a User Interview and Legal and Accounting Basics for Startups. You can choose which lectures will help you out, and listen to world-renowned speakers such as Peter Thiel and Marissa Meyer dole out advice.

Listen to How to Start a Startup if:

  • You want actionable, real-word advice about how to run your company.

a16z

Andreesen Horowitz is one of the most famous venture capital firms, and now they’re producing an amazing podcast. A16z focuses on technical topics, addressing how startups, technology, and data fit into the world’s culture. The podcast addresses how to improve processes, closed vs. open approaches, and how to scale ideas across the globe. Knowledgeable guest speakers from around the world come on the show to hone in on specific topics.

Listen to a16z if:

  • You want insights and advice from the world’s most knowledge and experienced venture capitalists.

The Critical Path

The Critical Path focuses on mobile technology, specifically focusing on Apple, and is a must-listen for anyone who’s remotely interested in mobile. Hosts Anders Brownsworth and Horace Dedieu are mesmerizing, and are able to situate technical developments within historical context. This podcast will expand your view of how technology fits into the world as a whole.

Listen to The Critical Path if:

  • You’re working on a truly innovative product and want to be at the forefront of mobile development.

Mixery Startup Stories

Every startup has a story that’s unique and special, and each story is full of lessons entrepreneurs can learn from. Mixergy Startup Stories tells these stories in interviews with business leaders and founders, resulting in an enjoyable podcast that profiles companies of all sizes and industries.

Listen to Mixergy Startup Stories if:

  • You love a good story and like listening to founders talk about their journeys.

What podcasts are you keeping up with? Feel free to share you best finds below!

10 Ways To Improve Your Writing Skills Today

One skill that most people need in business is writing. Entrepreneurs working on their own will find themselves writing emails, proposals, blog posts, social media posts, on a regular basis. This is why developing your writing skills as an entrepreneur is essential. In this post, I’ll share my top 10 ways to improve your writing skills.

Write Every Day

When it comes down to how to improve your writing skills it can be hard to know where to get started. The best way to refine any skill is to practice it. With writing, you should be practicing daily. Chances are, you already are as you are replying to emails and sharing social media updates. If not, then you need to start.

Your daily practice can include writing that is shared with others like blog posts, social media posts, and comments on articles. Or it can include writing that is for yourself only, like Morning Pages, a three-page handwritten stream of consciousness done every morning to reduce stress and anxiety.

If you can’t muster up the enthusiasm for writing about your business, that’s ok. Write about other things that you are passionate about (although hopefully, you are passionate about your business too). Write articles on a personal blog about your favorite hobby. Write social media posts in groups about a particular interest. Write comments on entertainment and technology blogs that you visit for fun.

As you write more, you will find one of two things. You will find that the more you write, the easier it gets or you will find that the more you write, the more you need to polish your writing skills. If the latter is the case, definitely try the following.

Write Something People Want or Need to Read

If your writing falls into the realms of something people want to read or something people need to read, then you will have a successful piece of writing. Better yet, you will be more motivated to write in the first place because you will know that someone out there will consume your writing.

Here’s a handy guide to determining if your writing is what people want or need to read.

For example, let’s say you’re working on a blog post. How do you figure out if it is something people will want or need to read? You can use tools like Impactana to help. Start by signing up for an account and searching for the topic of your blog post. Then click on the Impact rating next to blog posts similar to the ones you were thinking about writing.

The number of views will show you if people actually cared enough to view the content. This tool will also show you things like number of backlinks (for SEO value) and number of social shares so you can further determine the popularity of your topic.

Alternatively, you can just do a Google search for your topic, click on the top articles, and see what kind of engagement they get in the way of social shares (usually shown next to social buttons on a blog post) and comments they receive. You can also use Q&A networks like Quora and Yahoo Answers to see what people ask about often related to your topic.

Note that some topics might fall into the “need to read” category, but not necessarily be popular, or terribly interesting for that matter. Take insurance. No one gets excited about reading or sharing articles about insurance with their friends.

But if you’re thinking about buying your first house, you’ll want to do some research into different types of home insurance. If you have a friend who is buying their first house, you might share articles you find with them.

Keep it Simple

KISS stands for Keep It Simple Silly. When it comes to writing, the simpler you make it, the better. Make your point and move on. You shouldn’t be focused on word count as much as you are focused on whether your reader will be able to get what you are saying and take value from it.

Write First, Edit Later

There is nothing that can stall a good writing session like obsessing about spelling, grammar, order, outcome, and anything else besides the process of writing itself. Focus on getting your thoughts out on paper or in your document first. Edit once you are finished.

If you have trouble doing this, then try dictation software. Dragon software will allow you to say whatever is on your mind and write it out for you. You will have to do some editing work after, especially until you get used to verbally adding in punctuation and new paragraphs. But ultimately, it can help you write faster.

Once you are finished writing…

Use a Professional Online Editor

Most text editors and word processors like Microsoft Word or your browser have a built-in proofing tool that helps to correct basic spelling and grammar. But the problem with these built-in tools is that they miss a lot of mistakes and teach you little about the mistakes you are making.

Grammarly and Hemingway are the best alternatives to hiring a professional editor for your writing. They are online editors that can help you improve your writing by identifying specific writing errors, letting you know why they are errors, and helping you correct them.

Grammarly’s premium version allows you choose from a variety of settings based on the type of document you are writing.

Additional benefits of using Grammarly include the following.

  • You can save your documents in Grammarly as to refer to the fully edited versions later down the road.
  • You can install the browser extension and get Grammarly editing advice in different applications (like Gmail and Facebook).

While you can save documents in Grammarly, I’d suggest writing in a different word processor (like Microsoft Word or Google Docs) and copying / pasting your text to Grammarly and back to your word processor. That way, you always have your document, whether or not you choose to maintain your Grammarly account.

Hemingway, on the other hand, is a free tool that offers similar advice, but in a more simplistic manner.

You can’t save your documents in this editor or use it in other browser applications. But you can toggle between write and edit mode so you can focus on writing, then focus on editing.

Read What You Write Out Loud

Even after you have done a full online editing of your writing, you should give it a final test by actually reading your writing out loud. There are some things that might be grammatically correct, but unnatural otherwise. If any portion of your writing is difficult to say out loud, then it might need to be rewritten for better clarity.

Alternatively, you can have someone else read your writing out loud to you. Being the recipient of your own writing could help you further improve it.

Follow Those Who Write for Your Target Audience

To get the best writing examples to study, look for writing done by those who write for your target audience. Subscribe to your competitor’s blog posts and email newsletter. Read the sales letters and landing pages on their website. Follow their social media posts. See if they published their investment pitch deck on Slideshare.

When reviewing your competitor’s writing style, ask yourself a few questions.

  • Is the writing formal or casual?
  • Is the writing serious or funny?
  • Is the writing verbose or succinct?
  • Is the writing first, second, or third person oriented?
  • Is the writing text heavy or light?

Be sure to analyze the writing of multiple competitors or others with the same target audience. That way you don’t model yourself after the one misfit in your niche or industry.

Create Templates

Templates are the answer to writing efficiency in business. Whenever you find yourself writing a similar document repeatedly, creating a template for that document will save you time (and frustration if you are not particularly fond of writing).

Email templates are going to be a huge timesaver for most entrepreneurs. Each time you find yourself looking back through your email archives to copy an email you sent to one person and paste it to send to another, that email content should become a template.

When using templates, pay attention to personalization fields throughout the template so you don’t address someone by another name or reference something from a different intended recipient. While templates can be great productivity boosters, they can also lead to some embarrassing blunders as well. Use them carefully!

Do Some Testing

If you liked science in school, then you will love A/B testing. When it comes to writing, there are lots of different things you can test. Start by defining your goal for a particular piece of writing. Here are some common goals for common types of writing in business.

  • The goal of your proposal will likely be to get funding for your startup.
  • The goal of your outreach email will likely be to get a blogger to write about your startup.
  • The goal of your blog post will likely be to get lots of social shares.
  • The goal of your sales page will likely be to get more sales.

Once you have defined your goals, you can start doing some testing with your writing to see what versions of your writing produce the most conversions, or goal completions. Start by changing the areas that are going to make a first impression in your writing: headlines, subject lines, bolded headers, and calls to action.

Change one element at a time so you can compare the results. For example, you can send 50 emails with one subject line and 50 emails with another subject line to determine which email received the best response. Once you know which one works, you can move on to testing different portions of the email content itself. Eventually, you will have an email that is scientifically proven to get the most conversions.

For A/B testing in direct email correspondence, you will need CRM tools like Salesforce. For your website, Optimizely, VWO, and Nelio are a few tools that will measure the results of your A/B testing so that you can quickly identify the best writing on your landing pages to accomplish your goals.

For email newsletters, several email marketing services offer A/B testing options for headlines and other aspects of your email content. These include GetResponse, MailChimp, and ActiveCampaign.

Don’t let the cost of investing in tools stop you from testing your writing. You can always go with good old paper and pen analysis to get good results.

Study the Art of Writing

If you are truly interested in improving your writing skills, take some time to study the art of writing itself. You can focus on business writing or expand your mind into the creative side of things. You will find lots of great books on writing on Amazon. If you prefer to learn while you commute, you will also find some great books on writing on Audible. You can even take a free course on High-Impact Business Writing from the University of California via Coursera.

In Conclusion

When it comes to writing, there is always room for improvement. Even if all you do after reading this post is invest in the professional online editor, you will have made a great investment in the future of your business through better writing.