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Free web design for local businesses

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  #1  
Old
Junior Guru Wannabe
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 31

Free web design for local businesses


I want to improve my web designing skills so was thinking about offering to make a simple website for local business for free.

Is it best to host the site myself or get them sorted with a free (or paid?) hosting company?

And what about getting them a domain name? Should I get them a domain name and ask for them to pay or just use a free subdomain or something?

I'm guessing that some of these companies won't know much about the internet so wouldn't know how to sort these things out themselves. I don't really want to say it's free then suddenly ask for money for these extra costs!



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  #2  
Old
Retired Moderator
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Pflugerville, TX
Posts: 11,222
Quote:
I want to improve my web designing skills so was thinking about offering to make a simple website for local business for free.
Nothing wrong with a little Pro Bono work

Quote:
Is it best to host the site myself or get them sorted with a free (or paid?) hosting company?
If you hosted the site yourself, where would you host it? If you answer is "on one of my own computers," the answer is absolutely no! Don't take on that liability, unless you're a server security expert of the highest caliber and your ISP allows site hosting through your connection.

Avoid free hosting as well, assuming you're looking at hosting that has some sort of reciprocity involved (banner, site credit, etc.). You're going to leave a foul taste in someone's mouth if you cheap out on hosting and their Web presence is affected as a result by host-added garbage, downtime or bad support. A simple, local site shouldn't need to spend more than $2-5/mo. for hosting, or less. It's worth it.

Quote:
And what about getting them a domain name? Should I get them a domain name and ask for them to pay or just use a free subdomain or something?
Help them to purchase their own domain name. You can educate them about the process and guide them through it, but you don't want to take responsibility for keeping it registered, and you don't want them coming back to you later mad because someone's pointed out you own their domain instead of them.

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  #3  
Old
& Goliath
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Chattanooga
Posts: 8,899
Omelette,

Rather than going after free hosting -- try inking a deal with a local web hosting provider to handle the accounts on your behalf. That way you'll most likely get free hosting for yourself and a few clients in the process all the while building your name in the local web/IT industry

Just my two cents!

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David
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  #4  
Old
Junior Guru Wannabe
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Omelette,

Rather than going after free hosting -- try inking a deal with a local web hosting provider to handle the accounts on your behalf. That way you'll most likely get free hosting for yourself and a few clients in the process all the while building your name in the local web/IT industry
I do like that idea but don't really know how to go about it!

I'm still pretty new to web design (been working on my own site for a while) so might try to do a few websites before making any deals.

It seems like the best thing to do is just design the website and perhaps recommend a host and help out with registering a domain name.

  #5  
Old
Junior Guru Wannabe
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Lakeland, Florida
Posts: 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by omelette
I want to improve my web designing skills so was thinking about offering to make a simple website for local business for free
I taught design for about 5 years. Helping each student start out was never an easy thing because in order to get work they needed a portfolio and of course in order to get the portfolio they needed the work. In my experience what worked best was when the students approached small businesses looking for a break on design work. They'd tell the business they were just starting out and needed to build a portfolio. Therefore the only charges would be to cover expenses plus a small design fee.

Doing completely free work was hit or miss - especially when it was for profit companies. They really pounded on the students and demanded quite a lot for nothing. The low-cost stuff fared a bit better. It gave the students some portfolio work and most importantly, experience. I've often found that small business customers tend to be a demanding lot. So for many involved it was a wake up call of what working in the real world is like.

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