Web designers make an average of $40,000 per year. Some make more, some make less. The reason why most web designers do not make six figure incomes is simple: they are great web designers, but they are not great business people. As the owner of WebDesignDev, I want to share with all of my loyal WebDesignDev readers how you can make a LOT more money as a web designer by following 5 simple steps. Before I even list the 5 steps, I want to point out that if you don’t take action to improve your income, it will not increase. The sooner you’ll start thinking outside the box and doing something to increase your income as a web designer, the sooner it will happen.
Tools you should use:
1) People skills and a desire to succeed
2) Account on Elance (now migrated to Upwork)
3) Ultimate Designer Toolkit
5) Seo Book
Bring offline businesses online.
Tool you should use: People skills and a desire to succeed.
This can be an awesome way to earn a lot of cash. Do you know how many local business in your area don’t have websites? Hundreds! Do you think they don’t have websites because they can’t afford them? No! They are still doing business the old-fashioned way, so you will need to enlighten them. Go to your local businesses, call them, e-mail them, do everything you can to get in touch with them and tell them that you can bring them a lot of exposure and customers by bringing their business online and creating a website for them. I got a lot of customers this way, and I know you can too.
Tool you should use: 1) Account on Upwork.
Another great way to raise your web design income is through a freelancing site. I personally have been a huge fan of Upwork. When you look at the main page of the site you can see there are hundreds of jobs posted daily. The jobs posted are so diverse that any web designer can find a project to bid on. Do enough jobs on Upwork and get enough feedback and you’re almost guaranteed to be the winning bidder for the projects you choose. Once you get that client from Upwork and make them a website or design something for them, there’s a great chance they’ll come back for more business. Residual income is key in earning six figures as a web designer.
Check out some extremely successful ways in which web designers who read WebDesignDev found more clients:
Case study #1 from Charles Coyle:
” My best tactic believe it or not was direct mail.
Step 1. I chose a section in the yellow pages where the clients would be easy to handle and typically did not need much for their industry. I figured this would allow me to build sites pretty quickly and handle the volume I was expecting.
step 2. Once I chose my section I scraped the section for 1000 business names and addresses. I excluded all of the popular chains and those that really would not be looking for a freelancer. I stuck to the Mom and Pop types. I know that sounds like a lot but with the right tools you can do this pretty quickly.
step3. I designed a postcard layout specifically for the industry I was targeting. The postcard doubled as a coupon.
step4. for ease of use: I formatted the names and address in excel, exported them into word (Microsoft word has a label maker template for certain labels that you can buy at the store ( I chose the Avery version). I then printed the labels and slapped them (neatly placed) on the postcards…about 3 hours total.
step 5. I mailed 100 postcards a day for 10 days (not on Thursdays as it will get to the business on Saturday and get lost in the stack of mail and bills they receive on Monday.
step6. I prepared for a lot of calls by using and excel spread sheet to log each call. make sure you get the name, number and EMAIL ADDRESS. this is very important as you will let them know that you will email them or ask them to go to your contact page and email you. Let them know you will be sending them some info periodically. This way you can use mail chimp or any other email system to mail them newsletters and to drum up new business during slow periods.
step 7. I waited…and waited…and waited. By the following Friday after the last batch (2 and a half weeks) I had over 40 calls and got 8 new clients.
Keep in mind that it cost me a total of $472 to do all of this ( I now can get it done cheaper) but I charge well over twice that for one project. You do the math. This is what I am sticking to…
Oh…I forgot to mention that most of the clients I have at this very moment are referrals from the clients I obtained from the direct mail campaign.”
– Charles Coyle
Case Study #2 from Steve Robillard:
“The most successful thing I ever did was give a presentation describing how we developed the product and how they could do the same. I sold more than 80% of the room. One person even went back to her boss and said she would not build their own, because we were so far ahead and cheaper.”
– Steve Robillard
Case Study #3 from Nuno Barreiro:
“1 – Clients don’t come to you only because you work on this area. You’ve got to chase the clients. Create accounts on common social media like Facebook and Linkedin, but create also on networks that’s dedicated to your area of expertise. Get yourself a twitter account and start following companies and other freelancers to see what’s being done. Send emails directly to possible clients but make sure your presentation letter is well done and try to get a meeting.
2 – Don’t lie to clients. You have to be honest if you want no problems. Present your work and give tips to your clients that you might seem useful. Remember, it’s your expertise. Not theirs. If you lie to your clients, if you promise more that you can really do, then you’ll get problems sooner or later. Keep in mind that “mouth-to-mouth” is also a powerful tool. Don’t give them any reasons to talk trash about your work to anyone.
3 – Give fair prizes and development times. Clients will also try to pay less and want all as soon as possible. Without using “techies” that they don’t understand, explain them well why you’re charging that price and why you need that time for development.
4 – Be always available for your clients. You too have the right to free-times. Sometimes clients don’t understand that, but if you’re away from office, at least keep your cell on and be sure to read your emails sometimes.
5 – Continuous support. The job is done? Maybe not. Be sure to give your client all the support they need. If you show them that you care and that you’re a good professional, then the next job is yours, no doubt about it.
I’m sure that there’s much more I can do, but only with that strategy I acquired more than 10 clients in 9 months and those clients already got me the contacts for some friends of theirs that are in need of someone in my area.”
– Nuno Barreiro
Case Study #4 from Les F.:
“Within my 3 years of being an active freelancer, one of the most successful tactics I used was understanding my clients’ wants, needs and issues so that I can connect with them. Due to the lack of managing my customers’ relationship, I have learned that a freelancer should act out the role of a mentor in some cases. Some clients need that sense of concern for their business from the freelancer, thus far prompting the client to trust and rely on doing business with you. In a nutshell, our focus should be in serving the customer rather than the customer serving us.”
– Les F.
Case Study #5 from Brandon J.:
“My best tactic is creating a relationship and continuing to build that relationship into a client. I make sure head to the local Chamber meetings, Rotary Clubs, etc… These places are great for starting new business and personal relationships. By creating a true relationship with someone, I believe, you’re more likely to build a longer lasting client instead of a fly-by. Although there is value in fly-by clients, I’ve found I make more money off of my reoccurring client base, plus I have greater passion for making their company a success online, as I now have a personal interest in the matter!”
– Brandon J.
Case Study #6 from Stephanie Ritchey:
“My best tactic for getting clients lies in two things; using a free-lancing service and a customer referral program. I use a service called Elance that gets me about 30% of my clients. This service is cheap to use and has certainly more than paid for itself over the years. My customer referral program gives clients a small amount off of their next bill for referring a new client to me. This it has gotten me another 10% of my business. Most of my other business comes from various places; forums or blogs that I’ve linked to. Once in a great while I will actually get someone who has stumbled across my website and gets me that way, but I wouldn’t call it an SEO success by any means, at least not yet.”
– Stephanie Ritchey
Sell hosting to your clients.
Tool you should use: HostGator Reseller Hosting
If you’ve read my guide up to this point, you are ready to start thinking outside the box. One thing that most web designers don’t realize is that web design business does not stop at web design. You can sell hosting to your clients! Think about it. You just designed a great website for your client. The client wouldn’t just like to host his or her website, the client needs hosting to run the new website. So what I do is I sell hosting to my clients using HostGator Reseller Hosting. It is the most reliable hosting company I have ever worked with, and you will see in my other articles that I praise them whenever I get a chance. People love all-in-one packages and if you don’t take full advantage of that you are losing a lot of money on each client.
Sell SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services to your clients.
Tool you should use: Seo Book
Why is this so important? SEO companies make tens of thousands of dollars per month. What’s the difference between a web designer offering SEO services in addition to web design and an SEO company offering only SEO services? The web designer can make even more money than an SEO company when they sell both SEO, web design and code websites for their clients! (I will discuss the importance of coding in Step 5). SEO companies charge anywhere from several hundred to several thousand of dollars per month for each client to bring the clients good rankings with search engines and maintain those rankings. If you know SEO and can give clients results, they will stay with you for as long as their website is active. This means thousands of dollars of repeating income every month. This is why it is so vital for every web designer to know SEO. Why I recommend Seo Book is because it is the #1 training website for anyone who wants to learn SEO. It comes with videos, tutorials and even a private forum where you can get input from hundreds of global SEO experts.
Tool you should use: Seo Book
You must have traffic to your website to have any clients. More traffic to your web design site means more clients. More clients obviously means more money. Not having traffic to your website is equivalent to having the talent of a professional singer but only singing in your own house. You must let the world know about your services. The problem is that most web designers don’t know how to build traffic to their websites. The sooner you learn how to build traffic to your website, the sooner you’ll be on your way of making six figures as a web designer. You accomplish 2 things when you know how to get traffic: 1) getting a lot of traffic and customers to your web design site, and 2) selling SEO services to your web design clients. As I just mentioned, the one website I recommend you use to learn how to do SEO is Seo Book.
STEP 4: Don’t waste time. Time is money.
Tool you should use: Ultimate Designer Toolkit
We all know that time is money, but what many web designers don’t know is that they don’t need to create everything from scratch, and they don’t need to be tied to the default tools they have in Photoshop or Illustrator. There are terrific resources available that can cut your design time by 50% or more. The design tools package that I can wholeheartedly recommend is the Ultimate Designer Toolkit. It is a website that gives you instant access to more than 60,000 premium design resources such as Photoshop brushes, gradients, layer styles, thousands of vectors, stock photos, logos, business cards, mascots, high resolution textures and much, much more (too much to list here).
Think about how much time you will not have to spend on doing a design project for your client when you can do it in the blink of an eye using high quality resources and tools. That’s time that you can spend on doing projects for other clients. Invest just a little bit of money into getting the right tools for the job and you can have returns of tenfold or even hundredfold every year.
Books you should read:
The road to becoming a successful web developer (not just designer) can be a long one, unless you know where to look to make it shorter. You should never stop expanding your skills and knowledge. That is why I recommend you read the 3 books above. The first 2 will help you become comfortable using HTML and CSS for creating static websites. The last book (PHP & MySQL Web Development) will help you become familiar with creating dynamic websites. Such websites are popular so in many cases knowing only HTML may not be sufficient.
I want to repeat what I have pointed out earlier – the sooner you become the All-In-One solution for your web design clients, the sooner you will be making a lot more money. You need to be fully comfortable coding websites and editing customizable templates and WP themes. You need to have a lot of traffic to your website in order to have clients. Read books that teach you how to build websites using HTML & CSS and learn how to use PHP and MySQL. Of course you should also read my tutorials 🙂
If you follow the steps in my guide, you will not only design websites for your clients, but you will also be able to Sell hosting, save a LOT of time by not designing from scratch, get many more clients by building more traffic to your site, and make thousands of dollars per month by selling SEO services to your clients. The sooner you start taking action, the sooner you can be earning a lot more money.