Reading time: 13 minutes 23 seconds
Published: February 8 2023
Are you on the hunt for methods of generating extra income? You might have already read a number of articles that present the same advice over and over again. Becoming an affiliate marketer, blogging, being a virtual assistant, or becoming an influencer on social media – all of these are touted as easy options. But is it really that simple?
Instead of a generic list that you can find everywhere else, I’d like to focus on one specific idea - becoming a web designer.
To set record straight, a web designer is not the same as a web developer. You are not going to code a website, only design it. Thanks to website-building software like WebWave, it's possible. You can build a website from scratch without the need to use a programming language.
Where to start if you have no experience? Do you even have a shot in this field if you don't have a college degree in a field related to web development? What are your chances that you can actually make it? How to make money out of it? What are the types of web design jobs? I’m going to guide you through all of it and more so that by the end of the article, you will be able to decide by yourself if web design is how you can make extra money.
There are two main reasons why web design is a very profitable side business. First, there is a huge demand for websites and second, there are many types of websites, so it’s easy to find your niche. And finding your niche in website design is necessary to be a successful web designer.
Both reasons are connected at some level, so let’s start with the latter.
Websites differ depending on how complex they are and what is their main purpose. Most typical websites contain 4 to 5 web pages. But sometimes a simple one-pager will do the job.
As a web designer, you will usually come across those 6 types of websites listed below. Understanding the specifications of each one of them, helps you decide what project you want to be involved in the future.
Every business needs a website to be present online. A website helps to reach new potential clients and explains what the business is all about by presenting its services. As a designer, it’s your responsibility to make sure that its design is coherent with the business’ profile - the beauty salon’s website will be different from the financial consultant’s. Yet, both of them should have easy-to-find contact information and testimonials with satisfied clients’ reviews.
An ecommerce website is nothing else than an online store. Both well-established brands and small independent creators can sell online. No matter the size of the business, every ecommerce website must have product cards with professional photos and descriptions, and an easy-to-navigate shopping cart with an intuitive checkout process. While designing an ecommerce store, follow UX/UI rules so that everything is user-friendly.
A portfolio can be classified as a business website, but for a very specific group of people - creators who want to show off their talent and previous work. It can be made for photographers, painters, make-up artists, or web designers. The most important part of every portfolio is of course displaying the work. It’s your job, as a designer, to figure out which solution will be the most suitable. Put it in a gallery or a slider? Make it static or interactive? Also, don’t forget to create a page specifically about the artist - present them, their methods, and their work ethic.
It seems like blogs need no introduction after their world domination over the last decade. Even though a personal-journal style of blogging has been replaced by social media platforms, it doesn’t mean blogs are no longer relevant. They transformed into more professional, publishing sites with highly curated content and often top-level aesthetics. When designing a blog, create a coherent theme that will not take away from the usability of the website.
A personal website can be best described as an online business card. It’s usually a one-pager with all the necessary information about a person. A personal website is a great addition to social media profiles, especially for influencers who count on business opportunities. It’s easier to explain through the website who you are and why a brand should work with you. A good, highly personalized design serves as a persuasive tool in this case.
A landing page is another one-page website that is usually used as a part of a marketing campaign. The main purpose of a landing page is to encourage its visitor to take the desired action that is reflected in a call-to-action button. The action can be to buy a product or to sign up for the newsletter. The landing page’s design has to be attention-grabbing, but not too overly complicated so that the visitor will click the right button at the end.
As you can see, with each type come different requirements. No matter if you are a professional or amateur web designer, you have to know what you like and can do best, and keep that in mind when choosing which project to take up next.
Now let’s talk about the other reason - demand. With every type of website comes a huge amount of people who need one. And those 6 examples that you’ve just read are just the most common ones, think about all those unmentioned. The numbers are also on your side. According to Siteefy, around 252 000 new websites are created every day.
The truth is - everybody needs a website. And it’s not an overstatement. The pandemic changed our perspective. Many events take place online, many offered products become digital, and new ideas are emerging daily. All of them need their online representation and their website. Why not try and become the one who delivers it?
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Ok, now it’s time to slow down your enthusiasm a bit. I’m not gonna lie and tell you, that all you need to succeed in this field, is a laptop with an Internet connection. You are about to enter a space that is completely new to you. To avoid disappointment, It’s better to find out at the beginning what qualities are needed in web designers, and if you check the boxes for at least some of them.
Yes, as a web designer, you need to be somehow creative. If you can get your imagination running and can come up with new ideas - that’s a great start. You can stretch up your creative capabilities as you go, but it’s good to have that potential.
Any creative skills like drawing, painting, or any sort of DIY-ing are helpful. Bonus points if you have some experience in graphic design. However, as long as you like creating, or doing something from scratch, then web design might be for you.
The good news is, you don’t need to know how to code to design a website. But you must have some computer literacy since it’s going to be your main tool at work. Once again, you can always improve your technical skills, but it’s good to have some background.
If you are familiar with the environment of graphic design software like Canva or Photoshop or photo editing apps or programs, you will have a head start. But the most important thing is that you are not afraid of computers and working in front of a screen doesn’t sound terrible to you. The bar is not too high if you ask me.
Now, it’s time for the most important part in the process of taking up a new skill - perseverance and willingness to learn. You’re not going to become a pro web designer overnight. To be honest, it doesn’t even necessarily have to be your goal. Your websites at first will be rather trashy than great. And it’s okay.
As long as you don’t give up, there’s always room for progress. As Beyoncé once said: I’ma keep running, cause winners don’t quit on themselves. Stay focused and motivated. You want to learn and become better. Set realistic goals for yourself, find some patience, and simply enjoy it.
To be a professional career in web design, you need a degree. As you have probably already noticed, it’s not what this post is about. To start making money out of designing websites, you don’t have to know everything about it. You just need to know enough to be confident in your niche. Here’s how to do this.
If you jump into the pool without knowing how to swim or checking how deep it is, you’re going to get hurt.
First, get familiar with the terminology of design theory. What is a layout, a footer, a CTA, hosting, etc? Spend some time on Google, checking out lists of web design vocabulary. You will find tons of it, I promise. Try to memorize as much as you can, but don’t stress it too much. The whole point of it is for you not to be confused anymore when you read those terms.
Once you get equipped with linguistic knowledge, it’s time to explore. Go to web design blogs and start catching up with news, the latest trends, case studies, and some stories from the past. Scan the text, and stay longer when something catches your attention.
The goal is not to suddenly know it all but to ignite that spark of curiosity and inspiration
Spend some time browsing lists of websites - the best, the worst, the prettiest, the craziest. Look at them and try to find elements that are common for all of them. Look for patterns and rules. Try to decide what you like, what seems interesting to you.
When you do all of it, you might feel overwhelmed, confused, and inspired, but maybe also scared that you will never be able to create anything like this. Now it’s time to tame the chaos by learning. Again.
Go to Google or YouTube and find some UI/UX guides. Once again, read as much as you can and try to understand. Connect UI/UX rules with all those images you’ve just seen. Maybe take some notes or create a document with all the tips that might be helpful in the future.
When you start envisioning your very first website. It means you are ready for the next step.
Currently, on the market, many website-building tools allow you to design without the need to code. It’s very common for web designers to pick their favorite and specialize in it. Every website builder is different, so sticking to one software is more time-effective since you don’t have to remind yourself how everything works each time you try to create a website. When you continue to use the website builder of your choice, it soon can keep no more secrets from you. Your designs will be better and better in time, not only because you develop your web design skills, but also because you are more familiar with a website builder.
But how to choose the right one? Which website builder is the best for beginners? What are the differences? What to pay attention to?
When you search in Google How to choose a website builder, you will find tons of guides, lists, and rankings. However, the crushing majority of them will be focused on finding the right website builder for small business owners. Your needs and expectations are different from entrepreneurs. So… what you should look for in a website builder?
A mix of creative freedom and ease of use. There are many website builders like Wix or Squarespace that are very easy to use at the expense of design features and creative freedom. Creating websites with tools like this in practice means editing templates. On the other hand, WordPress and Webflow, have more advanced design features but require coding skills. And then there’s WebWave a drag and drop website builder which works like a graphic design program and lets you create whatever you want. You don’t need to sacrifice ease of use to create truly unique websites.
When picking the right tool, you should also remember about functionalities that are necessary to run a web design business. A white label website builder will help you to grow your career.
The best way to find out which website builder is best for you is to try them out. Most tools are free to use, you just have to pay for launching your website when you’re done designing.
Before you sell your first website, you have to build a portfolio so that you can convince a potential client that it’s you that they should work with. You might wonder, how are you going to manage to create one, before landing any job.
Don’t worry, as you will create many projects in the process of learning web design. Some of them will be better, some worst. Yet, at some point, you will be able to select the finest collection that will represent you and your skills.
A good practice is to create websites for imaginary clients. Come up with the scenario of a law firm or a music band coming to you and asking for a website. Pick a few characteristics, understand their profession and try to design for them. It will be a matter of time before your portfolio appears naturally. You will also get a chance to understand what type of websites and clients you like to design for.
Once you gather your best designs, you have to decide where you want to display them. There are platforms like Behance or Dribbble where talented designers go to present their work to inspire each other and land potential clients. You can go for good old social media like Instagram or Pinterest to post your designs. However, you cannot forget about your very own website. It’s not only going to build your credibility as a web designer and a service provider. Your website is also the first argument for a potential client to work with you. It can be your leverage if you do it right. Spend some time creating a unique and professional website that will reflect your style and skills as a web designer.
Once you gain the necessary skills and confidence and build your portfolio and website, you are ready to start making money. Right now, there are probably a million questions running through your head. How to make money as a beginner web designer? How much should a beginner web designer charge? Where to find your first freelance job? How to reach potential clients? Let me answer all those questions below.
If you want to create professional websites yourself, check out WebWave's offer. In our offer you will find more than 100 free website templates that will significantly help you create the one of your dreams.
I’d like to propose to you two ways how to make money as a web designer. You can become a freelance web designer and/or start selling website templates. Becoming a freelancer is more for those who would like web design to be their full-time job. Selling website templates is more of a side hustle.
Becoming a freelance web designer is probably the first career option that comes to mind when you think about web design. You get all the benefits of freelance work, like a chance to choose projects that you are interested in, set your work hours, and general independence.
Besides all those benefits, you need to be also prepared for some issues. Sometimes, especially when you are a beginner web designer, you can have some trouble finding clients who might navigate towards designers with an already established brand and reputation. In this case, consistency is key. As well as finding and focusing on your niche.
Once you define what type of websites you want to create, you can go for a more targeted search for clients. You can not only look for job opportunities on websites like Upwork, Fiverr, or Designhill but also on community groups of professionals from your niche. If you decide that you want to create websites for coaches, you can join their various Facebook groups where they often look for advice in starting their practice. I can assure you, there are going to be many questions about creating websites. Make sure, to be the one to answer them.
Also, don’t forget about good old word of mouth and creating websites for a friend of a friend. Chances are that your very first website will be for someone from your circle.
Clients might also come to you, that’s why having a professional website and some SEO strategy is important. Competition is high, but so is demand for websites, as I pointed out earlier. That’s why you should have a more strategic approach to landing gigs, especially if you want it to be your main source of income.
Now it’s the time for a money talk. How much can you make as a freelance web designer? According to the study conducted by Paige Brunton, over 35% of freelance web designers charge $2500-$5000 for a project. For a beginner web designer with less than a year of experience, the most popular price range is $1000-$2500. Not bad, if you ask me.
If you want web design to be more of a side hustle of yours, you should think about selling website templates. It’s a great way to generate passive income.
Website templates are very popular among small business owners who would like to have a website but don’t have the necessary skills to create one by themselves. They usually browse a template library of a website builder they decide to use or buy templates from independent creators.
There are many ways how you can create and sell templates. One of the options is to create more of a sketch of a website using graphic design tools like Figma. Your design is not a functioning website, only a project of it. When your client buys it, they have to recreate it in a website-building software that they choose. It can be unnecessarily complicated.
A way better option is to create templates in a website builder so that the process of using it will be easy for your client. You can create a template in WebWave drag and drop website builder and then sell it as a digital product in your online store or through a platform like Etsy.
The process of giving your client access to the template is very easy, and you can watch it in the video below.
As I said before, it’s not complicated. All your client has to do, to have a ready-to-publish website is to change the content like logos and text. And done.
When it comes to how much you can charge for a template, it’s usually around $40. It’s significantly less than for a custom website that you can create as a freelancer. However, multiple people will buy one template, allowing you to earn much more without the need for additional effort. A passive income, indeed.
You can create just a few website templates in your spare time, and enjoy some extra money. Maybe you already sell digital products like planners, Instagram templates, or printables? If you do, you should consider expanding your offer and start selling website templates.
As you can see, it’s not hard to become a web designer. As long as you like to create and have a vivid imagination, you can be a great web designer. It doesn’t matter, if you decide to be a freelance web designer or sell templates as a side hustle, as long as you will be strategic about it, you will succeed.
Remember, the first thing you must have is web design skills. Be realistic about it, and set pragmatic goals and expectations. Pick your tool and niche. Study them, understand them and become the best you can - using your tool and creating for your niche.
Don’t rush anything, and prepare before grabbing the money. Finesse your online presence - both on social media and on your very own website. Spend some time on SEO and finding the right keywords.
When you’re ready, choose the path that speaks to you the most and start making money. Become a freelancer or sell templates. Or, maybe, do both. It’s totally up to you. As long as you enjoy the ride.
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