Steps to make money as a website designer

In the ever evolving tech world where millions of websites are created every other week, you can turn your webs development skills into a career by learning how to make money as a website designer.

From working as a freelance web developer, website consultant to starting your own web agency, the opportunities are widespread and so many other business savvy website experts are already keying into it.

In this guide I’ll be walking you through the various options you can consider to earn a living as a website designer on your own terms, in the following paragraphs…

The first step to make money as a Website Designer is to create a plan that outlines the strategies you’ll take to make the kind of earnings you desire.

Of course the wise old saying is true. When you fail to plan you’re planning to fail.

So, to start earning as a website creator, identify your earning goals and then create a plan you can work with to get this achieved.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to achieve 100 percent of the goals you have in mind, what matters more is that you have a formidable plan to work with.

For example you need a plan on how to get the first five to ten clients. The first 10-20 clients and so on.

From that, you can also create a plan on how to get your referrals, how to promote your business for more visibility as well as how to grow the business from one stage to the next.

As a new web designer, you have to keep in mind that growth is very crucial. And one of the best ways to stay on the growth track is to plan accordingly.

In addition to that, keep in mind your plan can be flexible. Create a plan that will adapt to meet industry demands and economic realities easily without getting you out of business.

Outside getting your plans sorted another of the crucial steps to make money as a website designer is to build a brand.

This is so crucial because before convincing people to trust you with their websites, they have to be convinced that you can actually build the website.

So you want to start with identifying who you are as a brand, your purpose, goals and your target audience.

As soon as this is sorted, go ahead and define your unique value proposition. Clearly articulate what sets your web design business apart.

Choose a mission and vision statement that clearly outlines your goals and will guide you through the whole building and development stage of your business.

PS: As a general rule, you want to create a brand that is in line with your goals, purposes and business plan

A well designed portfolio is a great way to showcase your skills in a way that allows your customers to gauge your expertise.

As much as possible, to make money as a website designer, you need a well curated portfolio that will position you as the expert that you are.

To get started, create a personal website where you can showcase your portfolio of work.

On the website, you’ll create separate pages that outlines each aspects of your work.

You may choose to create a single portfolio page to outline all your work or you can split the portfolio into different pages that showcase your diverse skills and versatility.

Alongside your portfolio, you want to highlight the brands you’ve worked with, the results you were able to achieve for them as well as the impact it created.

Additionally, as part of your portfolio, make plans to highlight testimonials, success stories and case studies in a way that will position your brand positively.

Now that we’re out with the planning stage that can lead you to make money as a web designer, let’s get into the implementation stage.

And of course at this stage, one of the popular steps you can take to earn a living in web development is to offer your service as a freelancer.

It’s quite a well known way to get started and have a feel of the market. And a good number of web developers started out offering freelance services.

As a freelancer web designer, you can opt to start out using popular freelance platforms like Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork etc.

Alternatively, you can decide to go Solo as a freelance developer, targeting clients and businesses you choose on your own platform.

Where you choose the former, you’ll have to head over to your preferred freelance platforms, build your profile and start scouting for jobs.

But if you opt for the former, one of your best bets is to create a website or build your own platform and start sorting for clients from there.

The thing about these two options of freelancing is that both options are great ways to start a career as a web designer.

While starting with a pre-existing freelance website can open you up to the existing market, it can also put you in a tough competition with long standing web developers on those platforms.

On the other hand, starting on your own platform might take a while longer to build and grow your client based but it gives you more leverage to create your brand on your own terms.

I usually tell my students, before choosing either option of freelancing, you have to consider your goals, resources and plans then choose only the plan that fits you.

Outside starting out as a freelancer, you can also make money as a website developer by building a web design agency.

You can start your web development journey as a freelancer or by building a web design agency | Image credits: Pexels

You can start this by hiring or putting together a team of professional web designers with skills and expertise that will serve your needs and that of your clients.

Just like building a business, starting a web design agency might require that you register with a government agency, put together a more robust resource or double up your marketing effort to get more clients.

The advantage of having a web design agency over starting out as a freelancer is that it gives you a lot of leverage and an opportunity to take up more jobs and make more earnings.

With more hands to work, you also get the chance to serve more clients, generate more income and overall, make a larger impact.

Compared to freelancing starting a web agency will require you to have some prior idea about the business aspects of web design.

This you can get from freelancing or interning at a web design agency.

In addition to that, a web design agency will demand more resources as you’ll have to put together a team of experts with web design skills or related skills that complement you.

And if you can scale these hurdles then starting a Web Development Agency could serve as a pivotal step to launch out as a web designer.

Considering that there are a lot of professional web designers out there, sometimes, the niche can get over saturated.

As a new web developer, it can get very difficult to stand out or even get to make money as a Web Designer where you’re not able to carve a niche for yourself.

So at this stage the wise saying that you should be the biggest fish in a small pond will come in very handy.

Instead of trying to compete with the big fishes and other long established web developers, go ahead and create your own niche.

This is not difficult to do. For example instead of creating websites for all kinds of business, you can start with focusing on creating websites for small businesses or just building e-commerce business websites.

With this, you get to build websites in this niche so much so that you easily establish yourself as an expert in the particular niche.

As soon as you’ve mastered this niche, you can then spread into other niches and start growing in there as well.

The great thing about specializing is that it can give you the chance to choose a less saturated niche then start from scratch and build up more easily.

However, things can get really tricky where your preferred niche has very few potential clients.

In such a scenario, it is best to widen your area of specialization.

Outside building websites, it is important you’re able to create additional services to your clients.

This can include services like Content Development, Search Engine Optimization or Website Management.

Where you have these skills in place, you use it as an avenue to further make money as a Web Designer by creating additional services in this areas as a complementary service for a higher pay or a stand alone add on service.

Apart from helping you to earn some more income, doing this allows you to serve your clients even better.

Especially considering that these are additional services that will enhance your client’s experience while upping your brand positioning as a website developer.

Just like it is in most other digital niches, affiliate marketing is a decent opportunity to make money as a web designer.

Considering there are a good number of businesses allied with web design, you align with these businesses to sell their products while getting a decent cut on all sales.

Choosing to specialize in a specific niche can give you an edge in your early days | Credits: Pexels

Particularly, as a web designer, you can sell affiliate products from web hosting companies, domain name agencies, themes and plugins developers etc.

With affiliate marketing, you get unique links or codes from these other businesses and paste them on your website via blog post, pages etc. or promote them directly to clients.

Whenever a user gets the products via those links or your unique code, you get to receive a commission for such sales.

It’s not possible to actually make money as a web designer without promoting your services.

This is so because only the people that get to see, know and trust you are the ones that’ll patronize your service.

So, promoting your services is very crucial in getting you to achieve all the steps outline above.

And there are many ways to do this.

Now to get started with web design you need a simple plan that will outline what you’ll do and how you’ll do it successfully.

For example you might have to target the four key areas of promotion which includes, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing and paid promotion.

Depending on your mode if operation you may not be able to tackle all of this at the same time. That’s why you need a plan.

Specifically, you’ll need a plan for content marketing. This will take care of the kind of content you’ll create for your blog and how many times you’ll be posting on it.

Alongside this, evolve a social media plan which will identify the top social media platforms with the highest number of your target audience, as well as your social media posting and promotion plan.

And finally, evolve an email and paid promotion plan. Find when or best times to send emails to your subscribers, when or best advertising option to use for your promotion and then the expected outcomes for each of these.

PS: You don’t have to use all of these options at the same time. You can use each at a different stage in your business journey or combine some to create a better outcome.

Final Words

Web development is a top high demand skill that commands respect, influence and relevance but, there’s a learning curve to it.

As a web developer aiming to build a robust career for yourself in the industry, you have to understand that with the increasing demand for website design services the sky is your limit.

But of course, to enjoy the benefits that comes with everything you’re doing you must be really good, you must have a strong marketing plan and you have to be willing to go all the way, against all odds.

Outside this, you must also be willing to learn, make mistakes and grow.

Considering that navigating the business of web design can be quite a tough journey to take alone…

We have created a website design mentorship and training program where you can learn cutting edge web design skills, gain mentorship and gather needed resources to support your journey when you sign up here. Or contact us here.

Now, it’s over to you! What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an aspiring web designer? Drop your comments below.

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Victor Winners

Victor Winners

A Nigerian trained Law graduate and British LL.M candidate, using his widespread experience in tech, law and innovation, to evolve cutting edge and growth driven solutions for brands and businesses in Africa and beyond. As a Law-trained tech expert, Victor brings in over 7 years experience working in the Digital Marketing, SEO, Web Development, Online Publishing, Social Media and Legaltech sectors, to create result driven content and innovative solutions to brands and businesses. Named as one of the top 50 Web Design Influencers Globally, Victor Winners started one of Africa's most widely read blogs on Digital Marketing and Strategy. With this platform, he has impacted the lives of over 2 million readers spanning more than 135 countries in 8+ years

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