I am Ashish H Thakkar from JimmyThakkar.com and I have been in the Website design & SEO business since 2005.
I have found a 25% increase in traffic for my business as a website designer. I have a higher number of inquiries than usual is what I realised by the end of last year just by the volume of the phone call inquiries I received. Other interesting facts I discovered while going through the website stats is the traffic from USA and UK* had almost doubled and although not much compared to desktop and mobile, tablet users visiting the website went up 5 times. I compared the stats provided by Google’s tool for analytics and reached the above figures.
Many people already have an online presence in some way or another but they want to either design or re-design their website in today’s time because travels and meetings are being cancelled out and the only way people will know more about you is through your website. The maximum enquiries are not from people who have been in the business for many years and all of a sudden need a website but people who want to be independent, young entrepreneurs and professionals who are wanting to launch a new start-up. Then there is a percentage of people who want to bounce back having been affected because of the pandemic in some way or another. These can be people who want to bring their ideas online, start new because they have lost their job or need to start a fresh WFH business.
The main reason why there is an increase in demand for website design and development:
- Meetings and travel are decreasing hence your website is going to be your face.
- People want to know more about you, your products and your work and the website link is the best way to share about your work.
- Lots of brick-n-mortar shops are closed hence creating a website is a necessity and promotion of business is going to be done via online marketing.
*The interest / visitors to the website from these two countries almost doubled. I run a few other websites but the business that comes from Jimmy Thakkar website is from people in Mumbai mainly because the site is optimized to target audience in Mumbai. Surprisingly I received a few inquires from international clients during this period as well. Argentina, UK, UAE.
Maximum ecommerce related inquiries came from Small business owners, professionals and people who wanted a shopify website or a website which is Ecommerce enabled (or has a feature of converting the website into an ecommerce website in the future).
Tool used for checking stats: https://search.google.com/search-console/
Comparison: Compared last 3 months year over year
Story covered: Web Professionals Thrive
Interesting coincidence: COVID-19 Pushes Up Internet Use 70%
Q. What were the nature of enquiries:
A. The nature of inquiries range from getting a static website designed to creating an online brochure to creating clones of ecommerce sites like Amazon.
Most of the new inquiries I receive are based on need of having an online presence. When I receive an inquiry via JimmyThakkar.com, the basic questions that a potential client asks is how much time will it take for the site to get ready, what content or inputs will be required from their end and what would the payment terms be.
I also received a few inquires from NGOs but they never converted for some reason even after I provided them a discounted price.
Q. What kind of Web design demand is popping up
1. A photographer whom I am working with would carry his portfolio along with him either in his bag or in his pen-drive or laptop in the pre pandemic era. The best way for him to show his work now would be through his professional website link which he can share with his potential clients through email or WhatsApp. The purpose: “to have an online presence via a website and integrated social media channel so as to facilitate marketing and business generation as a professional photographer.”
2. Metal furniture company whose e-commerce website I shall be revamping. They have been in the business of selling furniture for quite some time but over the period of time the walk-ins have gone down and the only way to compete with other furniture sellers is by redesigning the old e-commerce website and make it look as professional as other top e-commerce furniture sellers like Urban ladder and Pepperfry.
3. Another small business owner whom I helped create a website for is from Mumbai. His office is in Masjid Bunder but he has to travel a lot for work. He could not travel anymore because of the pandemic and I remember he had said to me that he needed to reopen his website because people are constantly asking him for his website URL so that they can know more about his company and the products.
4. Another woman who has worked as a recruiter, worked all day long as a freelancer but has now decided to launch her own site so that she can get half of her work done just by sharing her website url instead of writing an email or explaining over phone with details regarding a recruitment or her services, expertise and experience in the field of HR consultancy. She says not directly related but in a way the need for website arises from the pandemic, plus she had been thinking of getting a website for sometime.
Q. Would you design and create the content yourself previously or did you have a team? When you say you’ve had to outsource work in order to meet with the increase in demand, to what extent and for what purpose?
I have a small team but I have the major role in all the projects because it needs the expertise of a person who can handle all the aspects of design and development, from logo design to setting up website server to completion of website and then promoting it online.
I have had to say no to a couple of potential clients because my graphics guy was unavailable, another content writing work I had rejected was because of the pending website design projects. I did forward this particular inquiry to a young freelancer who was looking for freelance content writing projects.
This new website I recently created was for a client who wanted the complete package to create a site on permanent residency and citizenship. Unfortunately, the logo design part of the work from the project had to be handled by another branding agency.
Q. Has guarding against e-commerce fraud been a challenge while building new websites during the pandemic? What are some of the things you have to be particular about or rethink when developing these new sites and portals?
A. A lot of website owners are in the hurry to get their product out there. They either do not secure their sites initially or forget to update their sites over a period of time when the site themes or plugins get out dated. This is the number 1 reason why sites get hacked. It is very important that website owners secure their sites using SSL certificate and update their websites on a regular basis if they are running their websites using a CMS (Content Management System).
Q. What other new kinds of demand from our clients are you having to meet with?
A. I noticed a lot of inquiries were coming my way from business owners whose websites were either dead or were not being maintained because of the non availability of the original developer. The type of comments I received were previous developer is stuck or unavailable due to covid, the guy who created the site for us is in the lockdown. We even had to register a new domain for a business (whose website we had created) who had lost their original domain simply because the company that handled their domain name could not renew it while they were in the lockdown.
Q. Would you agree that the pandemic induced lockdown has been a lucrative time for web and app developers? And do you see your company growing further?
A. The first couple of months of the lock down I had only a few inquiries (ever after I had posted huge discounts for people and businesses that were adversely affected due to COVID-19) and it was not good for the business in general. After that period the business has picked up and I would say yes it has been a lucrative time for website designers and developers in general. I definitely see my company growing further and I also see a huge growth in online services related to web development and progressive web apps.
Q. Some examples of some brick-n-mortar shops that are many years old but now want a website
1. A public school in Panvel wanting to create a digital library for the students so that the students have access to books online. Their requirement “We are planning to create an online library website which will give access to all users for multiple E-books available on our website. These E-books data will be provided from our end and the same shall be accessed on our website. “
2. A College of Special Education have most of their content on their trusts website. They said “We want to have a separate website – in short our separate website needs to be created exclusively for our college.”
3. A group of sellers that have been in the business of selling clothes in Mumbai for over 15 years needed to get their presence online because they were losing business during the lockdown. They wanted an ecommerce site made along with A to Z of handling and maintenance of the website. They said they did not know anything about how things work online so “you take care of everything online and just tell us where to deliver the goods”.
I am Ashish H Thakkar from Dadar and I am a Bcom graduate from Jaihind college, Mumbai University. After graduation I did diploma courses in website designing and Java programming. I founded JimmyThakkar.com in the year 2005 and have been providing website design, graphics design and SEO services all over the world. I have sold my software products and services in over 75 countries.