I used to build websites...
I love what I do, but truth be told, the older I get and the older my children get, the more important it becomes that amillionmonkeys pays the bills. Historically, that has meant websites. Lots of them. And developing a fierce workflow, that meant I could produce progressive, content-managed, responsive websites really quickly.
Over the past twelve months, it's become clear that – for me at least – you cannot make a decent living building marketing sites like you used to be able to. Eighteen months ago, I would regularly be designing and building medium sized sites that would take maybe three - five weeks, and charging clients £5-12k. This calendar year, I think I can count those kind of jobs on one hand.
A few things I think have changed:
Wordpress and in particular Wordpress themes are ubiquitous. As mentioned before, they're a bit shit, but my experience is that however hard you might try, clients at the lower end of the market don't care about progressive-enhancement or accessibility. They care about money and about whether the 90% of their audience on decent connections, with pretty good eyesight see something pretty.
Squarespace has got good, really good. So much so that I'm not sure SMEs should be giving me their money anymore.
The market feels saturated and there are plenty of people who can build websites cheaper and faster than me.
Whatever the reason, it feels like fewer people are willing to spend a four or five figure sum building a website. amillionmonkeys is small enough, that over the past twelve months we've completely shifted our focus from websites to web apps (shops, CRMs, databases, APIs) and building cross-platform mobile applications with Cordova and fortunately the money has followed. I'm feeling for the freelancers and agencies who aren't so lucky...