Getting started in website design is very challenging to some people, but once you get there it is a pretty comfortable living. In this article we try to give you the how to knowledge to earn a good living doing what you love, website design. Just remember, start small and work your way up. The end result is well worth the work.
When we first started out in the website design business we did it for our custom computer side of the company. Basically we needed a website for the company, and the funds were not available for us to hire a freelancer to do the work for us so we made our own. We learned all the techniques and went through many revisions to get the perfect look. Like most website design firms we started out small and worked our way up building our portfolio as we went.
Since becoming a website designer does not require a lot of money upfront you can start without having to worry about putting yourself in a hole to start making a good living on your own. Use this article to help you become a great freelance website designer or to join a great website design firm.
Learn HTML and CSS
First things first, you need to know HTML and CSS. Any good college will offer design courses that go over the fundamental elements in starting a website. I work better with hands on experience so I learned a lot from just doing it by myself compared to studying for it. This really depends on you and what works out best for how you learn.
Just because you are good at website design does not mean that you will start making money from your work right off the bat. Usually it takes months to years to get a good portfolio of your work.
Sometimes you have to do work for free, like with non profit organizations, to get some content for your portfolio. Of course doing free work is not why you got into the business so try not to make every new project with non profit organizations….but do try to help out when you can because they have more loyal followers then a lot of small businesses.
Overcharging is a common practice for new comers that know they are worth the amount, but do not have a following that can support that claim. Just because you can do the work for a certain price, does not mean that you should. If you are just starting out you should find your local and national competitors to see how much they charge and try to match or beat them.
When you figure out how much you should charge you need to find out if it is more feasible to charge hourly or with a flat rate.
Keep Up With New Technologies
Internet technology is ever evolving and sometimes escapes designers who get stuck in their ways. This could be a downfall for any designer because you may fall behind on security techniques, new flare, and new social outlets that are becoming the new rage.
You can take online classes to refresh your knowledge, you can buy new books that give lessons on certain technologies that you should know. Always look at your competitors designs and see if they know something that you may not.
Become A Hosting Reseller
Most hosting companies offer a reseller program that would allow you to earn revenue for selling their hosting plans. This is a good thing to do even if you do not want to deal with hosting a website for your clients, you can point them the right way and earn a commission from the deal. This could prove to be a steady income for you after the design is finished.
Create and Sell Templates
If you have a niche for creating templates for WordPress, Joomla, osCommerce, etc then you may be able to make a good income from designing and selling those templates.
You can earn a commission from every sell that a “well known” template site like Theme Forest and Flash Den to name a few. Some designs go for over $30.00 and you get a large chunk of the revenue from the sell, a great way to get a steady income for one design.
Become A Fan of Major Design Blogs
When you are starting out you need to learn from the best in the business. Visit and follow the good blogs that, you feel, enlighten you and help you become a better designer. Soak up the knowledge they present you with and learn from them. They are where you want to be, they have come an independent designer that earns a living from their work.
The good blogs offer tutorials, top 10s, as well as informative posts regarding anything technology. I still read blogs everyday to keep up with new technologies that I may be missing, learn CSS and HTML techniques, and so on. See, when you follow good blogs you can eliminate at least two things on this list.
In the end, if you keep up with new technologies and you are willing to learn new things to better yourself and the design firm you work for then you are ready to start out in the design business. Its a tough, competitive, exciting business but it is well worth it in the end.