July 30, 2010
In 2004 we expanded our adult website design company, Blue Design Studios to offer sites tailored to escorts. Initially we brought the same model of custom website designs that suited our adult site clients but today Escort Design is 100% template-based. The shift has been gradual, here’s some of what I’ve learned along the way:
Custom designs are expensive!
Our custom designs could take weeks to create. They involved a designer, project manager and programmer to complete. Hiring staff that can do these tasks at an exceptional quality was not cheap and in order to make any profit we needed to pass these costs onto our customers. We made sales at the $1200-$2400 price range but knew that these were a significant cost to independents and many new escort agencies.
Even if the price was within reach, we doubted whether our clients were seeing a true return on their investment. Large adult affiliate programs have websites that see millions of visits per month and each visitor has the potential to signup and spend $20+ per month, if they can increase their conversion rate then there is literally tens of thousands of dollars a month to be gained from a stunning design. Escorts on the other hand have sites that generally see significantly less traffic so to make the $2000 profit to pay for a custom design was not so easy to come by.
Restricted client numbers
Although we had plenty of resources available through Blue Design Studios, because each project benefits only one client there is a limit to how many clients you can take on. We were happy satisfying our small client base but we knew the quality of our designs would be of interest to so many more escorts and agency owners. Now, instead of a new design benefiting 1 client it benefits 100s! This means we can take the same approach to detail with our templates as we did with our custom designs.
Content Management System difficulties
Our custom designs looked fantastic but creating an easy-to-use content management system for each was near impossible. This was not a problem with the adult design business because the clients ran their own content management systems. The majority of escort clients had no such expertise. With custom designs you’d basically need a custom CMS to match the custom design if you wanted it to be easy to use. The costs involved with creating the software and providing support for clients was not something we wanted to expose ourselves too.
We learned what was important…
The greatest benefit to offering custom designs to escort clients initially was that we learned what pages were important to an escort business. Today the pages we offer include the disclaimer/warning, home, about, gallery, model profile (agencies), bookings and links pages. We knew these were the most important because they had been constantly asked for by our custom design clients.
…and created the Content Management System around that
Having fixed agency and independent website offerings means that we are able to offer stunning designs that don’t look like templates. An example of this freedom is shown below, we know the exact width that the footer menu will take up so we are able to space it perfectly and add a design feature in the middle. A CMS that allowed for adding 15 pages to the menu wouldn’t be able to create such a look because you would need to leave space “just in case” someone wanted a very long footer menu.
Instead of designing with “just in case” in mind, we take the initiative and design what we know works well – after all, if you are buying a site from us, aren’t you paying for our design expertise?