For those interested in Web Design there are a few things you need to know. Being a Web Designer is not something you can do just because you can use Photoshop. Discover the essentials of being a freelance Web Designer or opening a Web Design Company.
When we started our web design company we were definitely flying blind. The Web was still very new. There weren’t a ton of resources to reference to find out everything we would need.
Growing up my dad was self-employed so I had an idea of the dedication it took to run my own business, but his field had nothing to do with web design.
Building Your Website
Next on the list is obviously a website. Most of the resources I’ve read for freelancers tell them to create a portfolio to show off their work.
Now a lot of the "portfolio" websites I see are very appealing to the eyes, but a lot of them never seem to address the business side of Web Design. Yes your website needs a portfolio, it also needs to push people to contact you and hire you, otherwise it is just a collection of pretty pictures.
When you build your site make sure every page has some sort of call to action. If someone sees a design you did and are impressed, they need to be able to contact you while they are still excited about what you do.
When you write the content for your site like the services you offer, try to limit the web design jargon. You have to strike a blend between showing a potential client you know the business, and they also must understand what you are talking about. Most people don’t know what a JQuery slider is, call it a slideshow, this is something people have heard of.
Now you have your site built, your calls to action are in place, the next step is to blog. Blogging is where you can use all the jargon you want. This is the place to show visitors you know what your talking about, and you have the skills to get their project done.
Writing quality content in your blog also gives you more doorways in from search engines, and blog posts have a higher chance of being shared, than say, one of your portfolio pieces. So blogging can help you start getting traffic to your site and instills confidence in potential clients.
Speaking of sharing, now is the time to set up your social profiles in Twitter and Facebook. I’m not going to get into all the details about social networking, that can be a whole separate post. Search engines (read Google) are placing a lot of importance on content that gets shared socially. Make sure when you write a blog post you share it on all relevant social network sites.
Web Design Tools
The next thing you must have is software. Imagine being a mechanic without a toolbox full of tools. The same holds true for starting a web design company.
These tools do come with a high price, at the least you will need Photoshop, Illustrator, and something to write your code in. You’ll also need a pretty fast computer, running some filters in Photoshop can put a hurtin’ on your computer, slowing your workflow to a crawl.
Stay Up To Date on Current Web Design Trends
The next set of tools that are important to your web design business is your knowledge. If a client comes to you and asks you for an HTML5 responsive web design, you need to know what that is. Think of how it will look if a client knows more about web design than you do.
Read blogs for information on new trends in design, do Photoshop tutorials to increase your skills. As complex as Photoshop is, there are probably 6 different ways to achieve the same look for a particular design.
Learn about the most common open source CMS software out there like WordPress and Joomla. Understand the best practices for creating an eCommerce site that makes people want to buy. Learn how to incorporate video into your clients’ sites. This is a great way to humanize their website.
Do You Need An Office?
Well yes and no. You don’t need a dedicated office, but at least an executive suite. Sure you can meet with clients at a coffee place that offers free wifi, but it doesn’t always portray the best image. An executive suite can be rented when you need it, and you don’t have the overhead or the hassle cymbalta dosage. You can use that money you save on marketing.
Selling Your Web Design Services
Now you have the foundation in place for your web design company, it is time to get out and sell yourself.
One of the most important tips I can give you is to make sure you get clients from a variety of sources. You’ve heard the saying, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The same holds true for marketing your business.
Suppose you spend all your time to get your rankings high for the phrases people would use to find you, yes your living the good life. The search engines roll out an update and you loose all your rankings.
Now what are you going to do? Make sure to network with other business people. You never know if the person you meet at the coffee place could be a potential client.
It might help you to join your local Chamber of Commerce. Think about it, everyone that joins is a business owner and every business needs a website.
Search engines rankings are important just don’t make them your only source for new business.
Treat Your Clients Well
Now you have landed a few clients, the next most important thing to learn is to treat your clients well and make sure you are prompt and honest. I’m not saying Web Designers are liars, sometimes people promise things they can’t do.
Don’t be afraid you are going to disappoint a client when you tell them it will take longer to complete their job. If you tell them it will be done in 3 days because that’s what you think they want hear, and it takes you a week, they will be much more unhappy.
Think about it, if you tell them a week and you deliver in 3 days you look like a God.
Another reason it is important to treat your current clients well is it is easier and cheaper than getting new clients. Your current clients already said yes to you, so it is easier to get them to say yes again.
So there you have it, a beginner’s guide to starting a Web Design Company. Starting any business can be tough. Starting a Web Design company has its unique hurdles to overcome and I hope this article helps shed some light on what you need to start your company.