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Sean Wheller
Home arrow Blog arrow The dilemma with marketing Joomla website development
Dec 29 2007
The dilemma with marketing Joomla website development
Saturday, 29 December 2007

I've been building websites using Joomla! for a few years now and have noticed a few things that bother me. Not about Joomla! itself, I mean Joomla! rocks, rather about people and customers who come to me asking to build them a website.

The first, most disconcerting thing about clients wanting a Joomla1 website is that they seem to want you to build them a great website for nothing. I wonder if this is because of the open source roots of the product. Perhaps they see Joomla!, see that it is open source and think, "Oh! I can get a website with all the features I want for next to nothing."

I admit it is difficult to quote for building a Joomla! website. Old models like charging per page just don't work when you have a content management system as the basis for displaying content. Instead you have to quote based on the features and functions a client wants. Now it's not difficult to give people features and functions in Joomla, there's generally a component, module or bot (plug-in) that already provides the features and functions a client wants. The problem is that there are so many that the trick is knowing which ones to download and install that are going to do the trick. The other problem is then doing their setup in such a way that it does what the client wants.

Now planning all this, downloading, installing, configuring and testing everything takes time. Then the client sees how easy it has been for you to do things and wants to make changes. Naturally such changes were never quoted and client just expect that you will do the changes as easily as you installed stuff.

Now let's say that you build the website and everything looks good. The client should be able to create and publish content without your help. You would expect that this kind of freedom and flexibility is exactly what they want. They no longer have to as the web developer to do these kind of trivial things. Well, it turns out that they don't want to do it themselves.

Generally we hand over a website and show clients how they can do things. They're amazed and excited but then never do anything. When you ask them, they say they forgot how to do it or just did not have the time. So these tasks end up back on the web developers' desk. Now, you not going to do this for free. I mean it's your time and they have the ability to do it themselves, but when you tell the client you will charge for it, they're shocked.

I don't get it. Perhaps it's just me. Perhaps I am selling it wrong. Seems like what ever I do to explain the case clearly, they only hear what they want to hear and when time comes, they don't want to pay. Which seriously makes me think whether it is worthwhile building websites for clients using  Joomla.

It's not that I want to stop using Joomla! However, I am inclined to think that when you target the lower end of the market, these are the types of clients you get. Perhaps the solution is to aim for upper end market. Yet, with  this comes a problem. Targeting the lower end of the market brings volume, although a lower cost per sale.  Targeting the upper end reduces the volume but increases the cost per sale. It takes longer to win a contract in the upper end of the market than it does in the lower end.

Changing business model in this way could be risky.

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Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved.

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