How to Grow a Strong Web Design Business with SEO
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How to Grow a Strong Web Design Business with SEO

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SEO can sometimes seem like a mystical concept. We all know we need it but we can’t quite figure out how to get it.

So, we figure the people that are doing well with SEO have some kind of magic formula they’ve concocted and are probably unwilling to share with anyone else.

But, thankfully, that’s not the way good SEO works for web designers.

How SEO Works for Web Designers

This week we talk to Patrick Antinozzi of Rapid Web Launch.

Patrick has some solid SEO practices pretty well figured out. In fact, all of the leads he gets for his web design business are purely from SEO.

“How is he doing it?!” You may ask.

It’s not with tons of meta tags.

It’s not with some magical SEO plugin that does all the work for you.

Plain and simple: he’s putting out good content that people are looking for on all the time.

Good SEO is Simple But It’s Not Easy

Honestly, it’s not complicated. If you make good content that people enjoy search engines will eventually figure it out and you will start getting organic traffic.

BUT, it takes time and effort to build up the kind of authority that search engines start noticing. You can’t just write a blog post here and there. You have to be committed to making quality content on a consistent basis. Even when you don’t feel like it.

Thankfully, Patrick has some great tips that he gives us from his own experience of building his web design business with SEO and helping others to build their business with the same tactics he uses.

He also talks about finding your niche and figuring out how to master reoccurring revenue from clients.

This is a quality episode and I know you’re going to love it.

You’ll Learn

  • How to narrow down your niche as a web designer
  • How to build a web design business starting from scratch
  • This first thing to buy when your web design business starts making money
  • How to get recurring revenue from clients
  • How to use google reviews to improve your SEO performance
  • How to write quality content to build SEO
  • The truth behind good SEO for web designers

Resources

Chris Misterek 0:02
What's up, everybody? Welcome to another episode of the self-made web designer podcast. So good to have you here with me this week, along with a lot of other people. It's been super exciting to see the self-made web designer audience grow. I'm getting great feedback. There are more downloads every single week. And you know what, it's because of you. It's because of you guys, spreading the love sharing the word telling your friends and giving me good feedback as well. I love what Jake had to say. On an apple podcast review. He said Chris is doing some amazing things for people to get out of the normalcy of struggling in a field they don't like and showing them web design is something to chase after. And I hope that is your story as well. I hope that you find this podcast helpful in your journey. And hey, I'd love to hear from you. Subscribe. Leave some feedback. And let me know what you think of the show as well. This week, we have an awesome guest named Patrick Antinozzi. He runs Rapid Web Launch. He's got a blog. He's got a podcast. And he also runs a web design business. And he's been doing a phenomenal job at it. Patrick had such great insight for us this week, everywhere from how to build your web business with SEO, as well as how to get reoccurring income from the clients that you are serving and building their sites for. I know that you're going to love what he had to share with us. And it is coming up right now.

Well, Patrick, thank you so much for being on the self-made web designer podcast with us today, man. Happy to be here. Thanks for the invite. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about yourself, some of your background, and the journey to where You are today.

Patrick Antinozzi 2:00
Yeah. So I'm the owner of Rapid Web Launch my little web design firm. I started it back in about 2013. I was doing window cleaning at the time, and I was kind of wanting to get into some line of work that offered a little more freedom, a little more location independence as the popular term goes. That was, I started to hear a lot more about that. The rise of the digital nomad. And I liked doing things online. So I didn't have any experience with web design. But I did a little research into what lines of work could meet those goals, the whole idea of location independence, and controlling my income. And web design seemed to make the most sense. And by that time, a web design industry had started to get democratized. There are a lot of different types of website builders that weren't nearly as complicated to get into because I had dabbled a little bit when I was a teenager. But there is all like custom coding in HTML and CSS and I just did not enjoy it. I was I didn't I enjoyed coding at all. So I kind of just dropped it. But by then around 2013 there are all kinds of website builders like Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, all those. So I just started dabbling, and I ended up falling on Weebly. And over the next few years, I just spent a lot of time practicing reading blogs watching YouTube videos toying around this and that. And I slowly grew the thing I kind of like as a side gig while I was doing window cleaning. And then a couple of years later, maybe around 2015 it had grown big enough that I was able to pursue it full time as a full-time income. So I dropped to a window cleaning business and yeah went all-in on Rapid Web Launch.

Chris Misterek 3:59
Yeah, that's awesome. Man, it is such an inspiring story, doing something in your free time long enough to get it to where you're like, Hey, I can do this full time. And, you know, I think a lot of people that I've talked to were web developers back in 2008 2009, who are negative towards, you know, these website builders that have come into popularity even more so since then. But in my experience, it's opened up a whole new crew of people to find success, like yourself, doing website builders and creating websites for clients that way. So talk a little bit about that because I'm sure you probably have heard the backlash as well of how you know web design is a dying industry and don't waste your time. So what would you say to those people?

Patrick Antinozzi 4:52
So the first piece of backlash I guess, I get is the website builder aspect. For sure. I get that. Their side, as you said, it started in the early 2000s, mid-2000s. They look at these website builders that have come up and they, you know, their skills far surpass what these website builders are offering. So there's an element of you know, I look at it as kind of like the way the taxi industry and Uber-like technology advances. And with it comes new user experiences and new customer experiences. And technology advanced, the internet progressed, and these tools came out, and it made building websites easier. That is the reality. But it didn't mean that everyone everywhere could just throw up a website, you still had to understand and learn the fundamentals of great web design. So the technical stuff doesn't matter as much anymore. You don't have to code to build a nice website. And pretty and a lot of people build from template now it's just the way it is. But you still have to know How a website works, how people interact with the website. You still have to understand how Google works, how user experience works. That's the crucial stuff understanding and learning that is what matters less. The technical side so I started with Weebly. I was honest, I offered a Weebly website design for small businesses fast and affordable web design. And I grew it from there like a lot of people will say, Oh, you can't rank a website, a Weebly website in Google. Small. That's not true. I did that. It's still again, it's the even Google doesn't rely as much on the technical aspects of SEO. It's getting smarter. It wants to feed the best content to answer their user's questions and queries. So I would say I'm not concerned about the tool side of it at all. And so even though I started with Weebly as my skills progressed, I did eventually move on to WordPress. And I use Elementor as part of my integration with WordPress now.

Chris Misterek 7:06
With the introduction of so much accessibility to web builders, the increase of supply of web designers kind of went up, right? So how would you encourage somebody who's looking at everything and saying, man, there are so many web designers out there who are potentially thinking about getting started? How would you encourage them to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack from all the other people who are doing what would seem to be the same thing?

Patrick Antinozzi 7:35
That's always the challenge right there. So with web design becoming more accessible than ever, that means there's more competition than ever. And really, that comes down to knowing yourself and your abilities and selling yourself because web design is not that different than any other industry. When you're when you have a business, your own business. You are selling yourself, people buy from people You know, there are tons of people out there that can throw up a website and say I make beautiful affordable WordPress websites. How do you differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack? Now I believe that it all comes down to producing content, putting yourself out there and showing potential leads and clients who you are, what your interests are, and that you know what you're doing. So that's exactly how I grew Rapid Web Launch. I found a niche that a lot of other ads that I didn't find anywhere else. A lot of people talked about building, you know, professional websites for small businesses. Even saying affordable. But I didn't see anyone saying fast. No, I didn't see a lot of competition around the keywords for fast web design. So I was like, Okay, well, that's low competition, super niche. Let's see if I can kind of find my way into that. And so I put it out there. I said I can put out a website in 24 hours, like super fast. And that's what got me started because you found I found guys who they would Google fast web design. After all, they needed a website up as quickly as possible the professional aspect the affordable aspect wasn't as important. They needed fast. One of my first biggest clients was an exec in Canada. He was let go because of some media reporter scandal I couldn't quite remember but all of a sudden he found himself without a job and he's a high-level exec like all over the news. So he contacted me and said I need to put out a website like a resume website. I want to present myself to get a new job as quickly as possible. I sold him and he sent me his resume. I took all the information he had and built it. Within 24 hours it was live. And within a few days, he got a job as the Chief Marketing Officer of Sprint. So, and then he became my biggest testimonial. So right away, I'm like, I got to get a few words from this guy. Because now you put Chief Marketing Officer of Sprint, as a testimonial on your website, instant credibility for anyone else that comes and lands on your site. So I guess if I had to sum it up, I would say try your best to find a niche within the web design industry, something that's less competitive, the more specific, the better. And then produce content like, write blog posts, make videos, do a podcast. It sounds cliche, but it works. And a lot of people are afraid to do it. Because you know, I've never written a blog post I've never produced, you're gonna you're going to be terrible at first. Like if I could show people the first blog posts I wrote, it's just horrendous, like, there's a reason why I wiped them off the internet. But that's just the reality and you'll only get better as time goes and people, all of my clients that find me now find me through this content through the business. It ranks through Google. And they all say how much they appreciate how my, my rating shows my personality. Like, I feel like it feels like I'm speaking to them. And so like even little things like I'll also include in a web design blog posts that I'm like a fan of the Montreal Canadiens. And people notice that stuff. They're like, Oh, man, I'm a Habs fan too. And then and that creates the human connection. And it's just a seemingly small thing, right? But just mentioning, you're a fan of a sports team. So yeah, niche and personal connection through content. That would be my two biggest recommendations.

Chris Misterek 11:34
I love the idea of putting yourself in your personality into the things that you're creating, you know, because something I encourage people that asked me how to get into web design is the one key differentiator that separates you from the rest of the pack is you-- it's your personality, it's your likes, it's your interests. It's how you're going to connect with somebody. So if you if you're creating a real estate stale and bland, freelance web design business or you know, whatever it is that you're doing, then people are gonna have a hard time connecting with you. So I want to go back to what you mentioned about being able to build a website within 24 hours, because I'm sure people right now, like their jaws are dropped. And they're wondering how you're able to build websites so quickly. So from the get-go, were you creating websites within 24 hours? Or is that a process that took a long time? And how did you get there to be able to do something like that?

Patrick Antinozzi 12:34
Not everyone needs their website in 24 hours, some for some people fast is a few days or within a week, because the reality is most websites, especially back then most web designers are because it's gonna be two or three weeks. So people have different definitions of fast so the reality is within 24 hours, I only had to produce maybe two or three sites within 24 hours. And I always made it clear, as long as you can provide me with all the content that you need like so because one of the biggest challenges, as web designers know, is getting the content from the client. You know, everyone wants a website, but they're like, I don't know what to put in it. So I always was clear, if you have all the content, send it all to me. And I can get something live within 24 hours. And obviously, it's within reason, if they send me pages upon pages of content and ends up being 10 or 15-page site, that's not going to get up in 24 hours. But something like this individual who in the CMO of Sprint, he just needed a simple resume site. So it was only two, two pages, maybe three with a contact form. And he had all the content ready to go. So definitely depends highly on the client on the client's readiness. And then the other aspect is the website builder aspect is a lot of the technical stuff that used to take up time is just kind of automatically done or it's a much simpler process.

Chris Misterek 14:00
Let's talk a little bit about getting what you need from clients. Because I know that is a sore spot for a lot of web designers is like they've, they've got a website ready to go, they just need feedback or you know, to check off from the client or from whoever's heading up the project. So what has been your method to be able to get that from clients, so you're not bottlenecked just waiting on their interaction with you.

Patrick Antinozzi 14:29
So my clients are almost all small business owners. Most of them don't know anything about websites or online marketing. That's why they come into me. So I always say, just send me all the content you have about your business. So if you have flyers, brochures, any imagery you have any copy for anything you have, send it to me just help me get a better understanding of who you are, and what you do. And then once they do that, I say Okay, now just try to, you know, give them two options and say I could produce the content it'll be a higher, quote, higher price because it takes longer, like the coffee and stuff. If they want to do it themselves, I asked them, okay, just at least give me a rough outline. So tell me about who you are, what you do, who's your ideal visitor, and then I can work around that, and I can write the copy. So for me, I try to be as flexible as possible, because I know my typical client doesn't have that content ready and doesn't know what to do. So yeah, basically, send whatever content you can have. Give me a rough outline. I'll all work with magic, so to speak.

Chris Misterek 15:42
So what about situations where you're kind of just waiting for the client to give you some feedback? And for whatever reason, they're having a hard time getting back to you or maybe they've ghosted you. Have you ever experienced that and what did you do to kind of counteract it?

Patrick Antinozzi 15:58
I've experienced that. Try to avoid sending emails as much as possible, because we don't need more emails. And we've kind of become numb to them. So, you know, if you're waiting on a client to send something, and it's two weeks later and you say, Joe, here's just a follow-up. You know, it's easy to ignore. So honestly, I made an effort to just pick up the phone and call them just to see how things are going. And I always leave with Is there anything I can do to make the process easier to make this easier for you? What's, what's your biggest challenge? And that completely reframes the whole thing. It takes a lot of pressure off for them. But yeah, I and I don't even on that I don't like talking on the phone. It's not my first choice. But especially in this day and age. With being bombarded by emails and texts and information, pick up the phone, call them and see and see how it focused on how you can help make it easier for them.

Chris Misterek 16:55
You mentioned writing content and putting things out there. As a way to kind of attract attention online. So somebody's coming at this brand new and wondering what type of stuff can I put out there? What should I be talking about? Should I do YouTube? Should I do a blog? Should I start a podcast? How would you help somebody determine what the best Avenue is and the best method for producing content would be to draw in potential clients.

Patrick Antinozzi 17:28
The first step would be very clear about what your goal is, you know, who are you trying to attract? What are you trying to offer them? What's your value proposition? What are you selling them? So you got to think about where your ideal visitor is, then after that, are they spending time reading on blogs? are they spending more of their time on YouTube? Are they consuming podcasts? You know, because a lot of that stuff is simply generational like the reality is not a lot of people read much anymore, you know, all the contents went into the quote. We're doing video and audio now. And there's so much content out there. So when I did it, I knew I need to get traffic to my website. And at the time blogging was still through my research was one of the best ways to do that. So I started thinking, Okay, what kind of content is going to improve my Google rankings and draw people to my site and a lot of it so I had to focus at around web design. But as I grew, I started realizing more than just having blog posts about you know, certain web design tips and tricks here or there. Even simple things, I started recreating content on how to start a web design business. Because oddly enough, as if you're looking for a web designer, even even if you put out all the tricks And tips, you use everything your whole blueprint like this is how you do it 95% of people will consume it and won't bother taking action. So a lot of you are concerned about like, I don't want to let my trade secrets out there, whatever like I'm gonna, I'm just creating more competition. That's not how it works. All it does is prove that you know what you're talking about, that you have the skills and abilities so that when someone comes along, when they try to build their website, they're like, oh, I don't have time for this. I'll just ask this guy to do it. Because they're already there. So that is in the beginning, how I drew a lot of new leads, and because I created content around how to build your website through Weebly, how to do it easily. But even now, it's just like, Oh, this is too daunting. Would you mind doing this for me? How much would it cost?

Chris Misterek 19:43
So let's talk a little bit about getting good referrals from clients because you mentioned you know, that first one of those first clients that you had, give you a lot of good references and that kind of helps you along the way and I know getting good customer reviews or feedback. Awesome, but sometimes it can be a lot harder than I think what some other people might realize, you know, like, I've found myself in this situation where I'm consistently trying to get some feedback or get a review or have somebody post something on Google for me like, it's tended to be difficult. So what have you found that has made it easy for your clients to give you feedback or to refer you to other people?

Patrick Antinozzi 20:27
I found Google Maps Google business reviews, they call them now crucial. The more reviews you get, the more good quality reviews you get it. It pushes your rankings, especially locally. It pushes your rankings way up. So I need I realized I need to get more Google reviews. Google My Business. So I started doing research and how because it's the same thing you asked for reviews. People are too busy. They want to you know, oh, yeah, I'll get around to and they just never do. And I found it was it's just too complicated. Have a process, I looked into the step by step process and what it takes to write a review on Google My Business. And it was a pain, it was like six or seven steps. And people just don't have time for that. So I found a little hack, where you can take a link and send it to a client. And all they have to do is click the link, and then they'll not only go directly to your Google My Business Page, but it'll also pop up the box for review. And literally, all they have to do is click five stars, write a few words. And so what I did is I just took that link, and I sent it to all my current client base, and every new client, every new website I make, I just tell them, if you love to my work, I would appreciate a review. It helps me to get new clients, and 90% of my clients just sent me a review.

Chris Misterek 21:51
That's good insight. I don't even think I knew about the little link that you could send to people. So I'm gonna have to try to find one of your blog articles. So you've mentioned You have a blog post that talks about finding leads and nurturing leads. And one thing you say is that you don't encourage people to cold call or cold email. So talk a little bit about that. What's your process look like? And how do you coach people to figure out how to find people that would be interested in hiring you as a web designer, and then nurturing them long enough to be able to do it?

Patrick Antinozzi 22:29
It's extremely challenging, especially with web design. Everyone has gotten a call from a call center in India or, like, I can't tell you how many spam emails I get from SEO agencies or someone saying they saw something broken on my site when it's just sent to hundreds of different sites. So that's the challenge you have is when you start doing that, how do you stand out from that and how do you show that you're legit and people have become so numb to it like I just personally think email in itself is a dying marketing tool. And it drives me crazy that people are so obsessed with email newsletters. So I mean, I have a whole rant about that. I just think the percentage, the open rate and the success rate on that are so minuscule. There are so many other better ways to communicate with your leads and clients. So I said, Listen, if you're going to cold email, someone has something for them. Don't just say, Hey, I noticed something on your say I can fix this for getting in touch if you're interested. So what my strategy, what I did was I would go into, again, Google Maps, local businesses, everything, all the businesses are listed there for you. And it shows you whether they have a website, they don't have a website skip that one. I go to the ones that have websites, but they're terrible because I can click on their link. I see the site. It hasn't been updated since 1998. All the content is there. I pulled the content from the site. And all I do is make a new homepage, just one page. I don't redesign the whole site, but I do I'd make a simple homepage, redo it for them. And I and then I send them a preview. I'm like, Listen, here's what I think you can do with your site more than that. I did it already. Here you go. And people check it out. And like, Oh, this is awesome. And because you've already distinguished yourself, like me, you put in the work and you showed them a tangible thing, what it can look like if they hire you. And you don't get everybody but you get or I got like a success rate of maybe 25 30%. For me, that's amazing. The amount of time you invest in building the pages, more than pays off because you end up getting three out of 10 to sign up as a client.

Chris Misterek 24:40
So is that what you're doing today? Or do you find yourself getting a lot more referrals and you're not necessarily having to go look for leads?

Patrick Antinozzi 24:49
Yeah, no, at this point, all my leads come in through SEO that people find me so I don't have to. It's all inbound leads. I don't have to chase as much anymore. And I have built my business in a way that the recurring revenue model is such that I don't need to take in any new clients at all. I'm pretty well covered each month to month. But I still do because I like to grow and everything but I'm not, I don't have to rely on that feast or famine, you know, I'm like chasing the next lead constantly. It is a big reason why I got into the recurring revenue model early in my business.

Chris Misterek 25:26
So talk about that. What is your recurring revenue model? And how did you grow it.

Patrick Antinozzi 25:30
Every single website you make has to be hosted somewhere. So when you have a client come you build this beautiful website for them. It's amazing how many web designers just say, Okay, thank you very much nice doing business with you and send them off on their way give them the login and, and that's that there are so many elements to just maintaining it properly. You got to host it, you got to keep it updated. You got to keep it secure. And then some clients are like, I need to make regular edits with texts and images, but I don't want to do it myself. So I was like, offered services for all of this I offer hosting offer, managed and managed WordPress hosting. I offer services where for like a retainer, you get unlimited edits on the site. Anytime you needed a change, you just email me text me or call me. It's done within 2448 hours tops. And then I offer additional services. I offer SEO services as well, which centers around producing content because it's the same thing I did to grow my business producing great quality content jumps in the Google rankings, bringing in leads. So because I did that with my business, I can put that on my page and be like, Listen, here's the results I got. Here's what I can do for your page as well. So I have multiple different channels of recurring revenue, but I got on that early so I didn't have to chase new lead after new leads after a new lead.

Chris Misterek 26:51
Maybe talk a little bit about the range of some of your you know, recurring business like hosting costs this much SEO cost this much so that people kind of an eye DEA of what it looks like. So I,

Patrick Antinozzi 27:04
My hosting services cost $39 a month. And it's fully managed. Everything is regularly updated, backed up daily. Always secure. Everything is hosted on my dedicated server. So you're not on a server with thousands of other websites competing for resources. So everything is highly optimized for performance and speed, which is very important because, as you know, as most of us know, Google is constantly prioritizing loading speeds and performance as the internet speeds around the world get faster. So that's my primary recurring model is through the hosting and managed hosting services. And then I offer an additional service for unlimited edits and that one is more. It's custom. Because I have I do an estimate upfront they say, Okay, I need like, two or three edits a month. versus Oh, I need two or three edits a day. So I do have custom quotes. So I have some clients where the retainer is 100 bucks a month, and I have others where it's 700. So it comes down to what their individual needs are. And then for my SEO Services, I have three tiers. And it's all centered around content. So it's a blog post every week for all three tiers. But each one, the blog posts are longer, more in-depth, higher quality. So for the first tier, it's about it's three, it's 400 a month for the first tier, think it's 750 for the second tier, and 950 for the third tier, and it comes down to like 500, word blog posts, 1500 word blog posts, or 3000 plus where it's like authoritative content because that's really what I believe SEO centers around is creating great quality content.

Chris Misterek 28:53
Let's dive into SEO a little bit because I've not had a guest that I've talked with, about SEO so know you've mentioned a few things about creating content and the amount of content, you know, a 1500 word blog post versus a 3000-word blog post, but how have you found or what would you encourage somebody who is just getting started doesn't have a website is starting to become a web designer, and wants to eventually rank in Google? What are the steps that it takes for them to get there?

Patrick Antinozzi 29:25
Practice, practice, practice, try to make a habit of writing every day, even if it's just a couple of sentences at first. Get into the habit of writing every day, read a lot more helped me immensely. Reading more, it gave me way more developed my writing skills, but also gave me a lot more stories, illustrations, anecdotes, case studies that I can use in my writing. So I got better at storytelling, which is a crucial aspect of writing great content. Yeah, and keyword research goes into it. And then don't be afraid to be the keyword research for me almost always comes first because you need to have a clear objective of why you're writing the content. And you need to find less competitive stuff. So it's easy to rank for, like, obviously, everyone wants to rank for, like how to build a website. Yeah. Good luck with that. It's gonna take time to build the authority on your site before you can do that. But don't also don't underestimate the power of amazing content because I wrote a post about how to start a web design business in 24 hours. And it outranked like big companies like Shopify and GoDaddy within a few months, and I got because I got tons of great feedback on it. And it was just it was unique. I looked at what the other posts are out there. And even though they were higher authority, they're boring. Like, you can tell when content is made for SEO. It's made for keywords. It's just stuff with stuff. There's no interesting illustrate like all my illustrate ones are custom. Like, I don't just use this cheesy stock photo. If I do a stock photo, I put something fun in there like a speech bubble, or like some cartoon or something, I make it as engaging as possible. Every single blog post I make now has an accompanying YouTube video that's embedded into it and an accompanying podcast episode. So every single blog post you land on, you have a choice of either reading it, watching the video, or listening to the audio version of the podcast. And that itself, dramatically increases the time on site, which Google loves because when people land on your page, the longer they stay there, the more it shows Google Oh, they are getting answers to what they're looking for.

Chris Misterek 31:39
So talk a little bit about keyword research, because I think probably a lot of people listening to that might they might be familiar with that term. But they haven't done a lot of keyword research into keyword research. So talk about your process with that. What does that look like for you?

Patrick Antinozzi 31:56
It comes down to a good SEO tool. I've been through several different ones over the years. Right now I'm using h refs, which is amazing. But it's also it's recognized as, as basically the industry leader, and it's priced as so. So for anyone that's first starting, I think when I first started, I was using mangles, what's the I forget that that's the company name, I forget the brand of their SEO tool, but it was about 30 bucks a month. And I would encourage anyone I know it's a first special when you're first starting, you don't have a lot of cash to invest in resources and tools, making a good SEO tool, one of the first things you invest in so if you managed to get a couple of website clients, and you get some recurring revenue in, reinvest that revenue back into a good SEO tool, it will pay off dividends immensely. Especially a good one because like you can always use free tools like that Google offers but they're just they're a little more than nothing. nearly as in-depth, and they're a little more complicated to use in some ways, a lot of the SEO tools simplify things and be like, this is what you need to be writing content for. So I would recommend investing in a good tool. So I use Href right now and it helps me find traffic decent size traffic but low competition keywords.

Chris Misterek 33:25
So if you could, if you had to go back and start from scratch, right, like if you didn't have the blog posts that you have now if you had the SEO or the referrals, you know, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently or what would you encourage somebody to do?

Patrick Antinozzi 33:41
Well, for one thing, I would not use Weebly. And I detailed that I put out a video about why I switched to Weebly to WordPress. Weebly itself is still a good tool. Unfortunately, the platform had a dedicated aspect of the platform specifically for web designers', which was cool. That's what I started with. And what made that interesting is that it made it easy to resell hosting services because you just host everything always platform. They give you the discounted rate, and you can charge your clients whatever rate you can come up with. So that was great. However, over the years, they completely neglected that aspect of the platform. It was embarrassingly bad. Like when Google first required SSL certificates, they would start punishing sites that didn't have SSL. It took Weebly six months to add that to their platform for the web designer platform. So Meanwhile, you have all your clients are like, well, I need a certificate. I don't like this is like I'm like contacting them like what is the update here? Like this is such a simple thing, but it's crucial. So that was like the red flag for me and I abandoned ship. I ended up rebuilding all of my sights off Weebly, I've rebuilt them in WordPress. I had about 35 clients at the time. And I rebuilt them all within a month into WordPress.

Chris Misterek 35:05
So when was this switch?

Patrick Antinozzi 35:11
I want to say three years ago. And that was the best decision I ever made. And it was a nerve-racking case. That's the downside of the website builders. You can't just export everything and import it easily into something open source like WordPress, you can export the con that the content like the images and copy but because it's built on a different platform, it's like trying to take an engine out of a Toyota Camry and put it directly into like a Ferrari it's just not gonna fit like there are so many things have to be changed. So I ended up having to rebuild the site's but it got me good with WordPress and Elementor. itself. So I was very excited to be able to offer these new needs the new tools as my skills have progressed and advanced. So I guess in the short, don't go with Weebly, but other website builders are still good. And I would say, yeah, as soon as you can try to work up the courage to start producing content, as best you can, like, even if you're just doing it for yourself at first, that is the best way because I, there's nothing better than having all these leads come into you without any work. The investment upfront is heavy producing content, you won't see results for a long time. But once you do, as a machine that's on that's automated, and I don't have to chase anybody now.

Chris Misterek 36:39
I think we've gotten a lot of really great tips and ideas from you today and can't thank you enough for coming and sharing your insight. So what's maybe one or two things that you would love to leave people with? As far as becoming a web designer building a web design business or being a freelancer?

Patrick Antinozzi 36:58
There's never been a better time to start the web design industry. And I think as we're seeing our world-changing very quickly with the COVID-19 pandemic, my leads dropped off for like a month because people were kind of holding on to their wallets. They weren't sure where this was going. Once this reality, they realize this is going to be a long term thing. I have more leads coming in the last two months and I've had in a year like it's just exploding a web design is going to take off. People that neglected to have a website for years are going to need one and very quickly just to keep their businesses alive. So many restaurants and mom and pop shops that were doing just fine without a website. Now they're stuck taking orders over the phone, and they need to have a simpler process. So the faster you can get your skills good enough that you can help these businesses. during these tough times. The opportunities have never been greater. So spend less time watching Netflix and more time. Develop some skills. That's my recommendation.

Chris Misterek 38:03
That's awesome man. Well, for people who are trying to find you, where can they go on the internet or, or whatever else you have as far as communities.

Patrick Antinozzi 38:11
So I have the blog over at blog.rapidweblaunch.com. I have a podcast as well. We're doing a similar thing to you trying to help people that are very early on in their web design journey. It's called launchers, build a successful web design business. And then I'm also on YouTube rapid web launch, you'll find me if you just Google rapid web launch, that's another advantage of having such a weird name. No one is gonna come up with it. So when you Google it all my stuff just pops up. There's no competition. So yeah, if you just Google rapid web launch, you'll find all this stuff.

Chris Misterek 38:45
And for everybody watching on YouTube, can you just show everybody a good shot of your mustache?

Chris Misterek 38:55
Yeah, there it is. I love it. So if you're just listening to This podcast, make sure that you go and check out the YouTube page as well. It's gonna rock your world. So hey, thanks again, Patrick, for being on the call today, man. I appreciate your time. Wow, such great insight from Patrick. I hope that you've gotten just a ton of great ideas about how to dive into becoming a web designer or building your web design business to that next level that you are going after. I want to encourage you to listen to Patrick's podcasts launchers, go check him out. He's got a great community at his blog, blog, rapid web launch.com. And I'm a part of it. I know that you should be a part of it too because I learned stuff there. And I know that you can as well. Hey, I hope you're staying safe. I hope it's been a great week. And I hope that you are going to stick around till next week when we interview another amazing guest. It's gonna be just as good as Patrick has been I know that you're gonna benefit from it until then. Appreciate you guys and Remember if you don't quit, you win.

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