Inside the Black Box of Web Design Pricing

Web design costs come in a huge range of shapes & sizes. Thanks to that range, clients can struggle with understanding why websites cost what they do, and freelancers/shops can struggle with how to price their services.

That’s what we’re going to uncover: the thought processes, variables, logic, and math that goes into pricing web design. I’ll focus on one specific end of the spectrum: custom web design and development. While DIY web platforms like Squarespace definitely have their place, their pricing models are pretty straightforward and easy to understand. The custom side of web design & development? Not so much.

So buckle up, and let’s get our learn on.

Read the Full Post →

Understanding & Benefiting From Content:Audience Fit

There are two pieces to the content pie. The first is the content itself – websites, blog posts, articles, ad campaigns, brand messaging, etc. The second is the audience interacting with that content. Those two pieces? They need to fit like they were forever meant to be together.

You know. Kinda like me & Scarlett Johansson.

I’m talking about a concept called content:audience fit. If the content you’re creating isn’t resonating or getting traction, you can boil the problem down to one of two things: either your content isn’t good enough – not unique enough, not well-written or designed, not providing enough value, etc. – or your audience for that content isn’t right.

Read the Full Post →

The Blunt Realities of Running Your Own Design Business

My wife Andy and I started Paper Leaf in 2009. We were not bad at design (I think we’re pretty damn good now), and really green at business. In some ways, our naivety was a bit of a blessing; had we known what we know now, we probably would have talked ourselves out of starting the business. And that would have been a mistake – we love what we get to do.

Regardless, there are a number of blunt realities we faced (and still do face) – and things we’ve learned – in running Paper Leaf that we either never anticipated, or never really bought in to if we read it elsewhere. Here are some of the big ones.

Read the Full Post →

Your 60-Hour Work Week is Not a Badge of Honour

Your 60-hour work week is not a badge of honour. It is a problem.

There is a sense of pride over being able to state that we worked an exorbitant amount of hours this week, last week, or last month. I know because I’ve done it in the past, and probably still do it *sigh*. After all, saying you worked a 60 hour week is indirectly telling the listener how busy your design firm is; how successful your product is; how important you are to your employer.

It’s essentially a humblebrag.

Read the Full Post →

Authentic Content Still Works – Here’s the Proof

All I wanted was a place to write. A place to write on topics I care about; ones that don’t fully fit under the Paper Leaf umbrella. Mainly, I wanted to talk about business & strategy, as Paper Leaf’s content is more focused on design. That was the point of launching this site.

The stats, and benefits, from just having a place to write for one month? Surprising. Let me explain, and share with you the actual numbers behind my personal site’s first 30 days.

Read the Full Post →