The Cost of Business blog post hero image

The Cost of Business

Cutting to the chase, it's gone up! Like most things however it is rarely that simple so let's dive in and look at pricing in the escort web design market.

So what prompted this post? Well we, for the first time in many years have raised our hosting and maintenance charges and are reviewing our design and coding fees. It's never an easy decision but we decided that to continue to offer the high level of service we aim for while being able to move forward we needed to do this, and let me say thank you now to our clients who sent supportive responses, it is much appreciated.

When we first started to look at this I decided to look at our "competition" something I rarely do, as a general rule we do what we do and leave others to do what they do, there is room for everyone and for different work practices, however some interesting themes emerged so here we go.

1. Make basic, simple cheap sites, do not offer content management systems, and claim they are too complicated to use for most. While appealing on initial cost, designers working like this are going to have to cut corners, probably do not have up to date coding skills and are likely working on this part time as a "side hustle". Additionally maintaining sites, dealing with hosting, making changes are time consuming and my guess is ongoing costs are going to be quite high every time you need something changed.

2. Make sites (or use templates) sell them cheaply and try to recoup costs by "selling" expensive ongoing SEO services. Perfectly viable for the designers, and possibly for clients. On the plus side the initial costs can be low to get the site on line, however the "SEO" packages are usually touted as needing three months to see results. And at prices often in excess of £200 per month (double or more for agencies) that's an additional minimum cost of £600 with no guarantees at the end of it. Escort SEO services are often notorious for making false promises and providing no reports or evidence of work done and I will cover our view of "SEO" later in this post.

3. Treat each area of the business as a product in its own right and charge accordingly, this is the ideal, and if done properly is fair and equitable to everyone. It allows the designers to build a business on solid foundations. The down side, it's going to be more expensive, but that's the price of professionalism, again more on that below.

4. How we have worked. Build sites, sell them probably too cheaply and build an ongoing long term relationship with clients where repeat business and annual hosting and maintenance fees creates a solid client base, and it's always easier to work with an existing client, where there is already a rapport. The down side, the design side is just not profitable, or barely so.

OK as promised let's deal with "Escort SEO" as some may know from previous blog posts I have little faith in Google etc who demand your site fits their current "best practice" which leads to a huge number of sites all basically the same format all chasing the same keywords, all made, in the escort market anyway, by the same few designers who are doing the same "SEO" for your site and probably half a dozen others. It's a recipe for disappointment, frustration and false promises and it stifles creativity and individuality, something an escort site badly needs in a crowded market place

Let's be clear, professional SEO costs a lot of money, pro SEO firms, who will not touch the escort market generally by the way, spend massively on tools and subscriptions for on-line services to do their job and charge accordingly. They provide reports, liaise with their clients and do achieve results. Playing around adding a few links and stuffing keywords all over the site is not modern SEO. Does that mean there is nothing the independent escort or escort agency can do? (note the keywords there). Of course not, visibility can be achieved but the old adage about sounding to good to be true is very true here.

I also mentioned above the cost of professionalism, a good site costs money and the escort industry needs to understand that. Even Wordpress templates need time spent on both tweaking it to fit the client as well as upkeep. Modern site rely on frameworks and libraries consisting of hundreds of files, new techniques and technologies emerge almost daily, and these all need to be at least considered. What used to be a case of making sites 934 pixels wide(to fit the 1024 screen size the majority used) creating a few background images in photoshop then adding the text is long gone. Sites need to work on multiple devices and screen sizes, have a content management system of some sort, and stand out from the crowd in some way, perhaps by using animation. The overheads both in time and skill sets to do this well are huge compared to when we started in 1999.

To illustrate this a recent survey on Twitter asked developers/designers how and what they charged, many developers working on contract charge by the hour or day, ranging between £50 and £150+ per hour. Where working on an agreed package like a web site the costs, based on complexity of course went from £1,000 to £10,000 yet the escort industry still advertises full sites for £250 for an independent and from £450 for an agency/parlour.

So in our opinion it's time to get real. Up to a point you get what you pay for, professional work by professionals cost money, you in your work aim to be professional and charge accordingly. Expect no less from your web designer/developer. For our part I have mentioned before we do not deal in packages, every job is different and we aim to charge you a fair price not to bill you for a range of "features" you may never need.

To wrap up be very careful when choosing someone to provide a service, SEO, Design, hosting etc. Ask questions, get everything in writing, scope of work, costs, timescales etc.

A professional industry benefits everyone.

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