I get quite a bit of work in an area I call Web Site Rescue. This is when someone has a web site already, but there are problems with it that they don’t know how to fix. They may have been blocked by Google as a “suspicious” site, or they have images or content that used to display properly but don’t anymore. And they just don’t know what to do.
Many developers will decline this type of work, or simply propose building a new site from scratch. They don’t want to “fix someone else’s mistakes” on a site that may have been poorly planned from the outset. However I find that these problem-solving jobs can be a nice break from larger, more complex projects, and can fill in small chunks of time I have between other work and meetings. The clients have often been quoted expensive re-designs instead of a low-cost fix, and are thrilled when their problem can be quickly and inexpensively resolved instead. I find these very satisfied clients to be a good source for future projects and referrals.
My most recent Website Rescue client has a blog on which the text and pictures were no longer displaying properly. She had been told by two other developers that the problem would take hours of research and programming to correct, and that it would be better to just start over from scratch and create a new blog. She did not want to lose all her existing content, or pay the cost of a new site development. Upon viewing her site I recognized that the link to her stylesheet must be broken or missing. The fix was to download the site’s configuration file, correct the filename pointing to the stylesheet, and re-upload the file to her site.
Another recent client had their site go down when their hosting provider abruptly closed their business. The client had no backup and the former provider could not be reached. It was a simple 8-page site but other developers had advised starting over with a completely new site at a cost of $800 or more. I checked Google’s cache and found that all the original content was still available. I downloaded the text and images and restored the client’s site to a new web host. I also provided them a backup on a CD in case they were to ever have trouble again.
I describe more examples of Website Rescue projects here. My minimum fee for Website Rescue is $150, for up to 2 hours of service. Most problems I’ve seen can be resolved within this timeframe, and the fee represents far lower expense than starting over and creating a new site.