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How to Start a Successful Website Design Business

Are you passionate about starting a website design business?

Developing websites can be a profitable business when done wisely.

Although it helps to be a developer, you can start a web design business without any development experience.

When you’re ready to start building your business, here are 8 tips to help you get your venture started.

1. Decide how you’ll build your websites

Webflow

The first thing you need to figure out is how you’re going to build your websites. If you have experience developing websites, you might decide to build each site for your clients. This can be quite profitable, but you’ll always be limited by your time. For instance, you can only work so many hours in the day, which means you can only complete so many projects per month. Your income will be limited by how many hours you can work.

On the other hand, if you outsource your projects to a development team, your income has the potential to be infinite. As long as your development team can handle the projects, you can keep taking on more clients. You can even work with multiple development teams if you end up taking on more clients than one team can handle.

Reconsider building your clients’ websites

Shopify vs. WordPress

If you decide to build your clients’ websites, the other thing to consider is your skill level. If you don’t really know how to build websites, you’ll quickly get in over your head. For example, if you’ve learned how to use a CMS like WordPress or Shopify, that doesn’t make you a developer or even a designer.

Eventually, you’ll have a client who needs more than a template website – someone who will need custom features that can’t be accomplished with plugins – and you may not find out about those needs until after starting the project.

Needless to say, if that happens, your client won’t be happy when they learn you can’t add the custom features they need. You could hire a developer to customize their website, but you’ll have to tell your client you aren’t really a developer. The only way to avoid this type of awkward situation is to outsource your development to a professional design team from the start.

2. Take a course in business

Running a website development business is no different from running any other type of business. To be successful, you’ll need to know the basics of how to run a business.

When you take a business course, you’ll learn the basics like:

  • Accounting skills
  • Finance basics
  • Project management
  • Human Resources (HR)
  • International business
  • Organizational behavior
  • Logistics
  • Marketing
  • How markets are affected by world events
  • Economic principles
  • And more

All of these subjects will be taught at a basic level, but you can dive deeper into any of them with additional classes.

You’ll also hone your business-related communication skills, problem solving abilities, critical thinking, and attention to detail.

If you’ve never run a business before, taking at least one business class will give you an advantage compared to not taking any classes.

3. Create a solid business plan

5 reasons you need a business plan

If you plan on seeking funding from investors, you’ll need to present them with a business plan that shows the expected return on their investment. You’ll also need a business plan if you want to bring on additional business partners.

Not seeking funding? You still need a solid business plan. Having a business plan will help you keep your business on track as you develop and grow. Your business plan will include various milestones that will keep you on track with reaching your goals.

4. Hire a professional digital marketing firm

Whether you build your own websites or outsource the task, you’ll need professional marketing services. There’s just too much involved in a marketing campaign for you to do on your own, even when you have a business partner.

Hiring a professional digital marketing firm will not only help you generate higher revenue in the short-term, but you’ll also be able to scale your business and continue increasing your revenue.

The most important services you’ll want to contract from an agency include:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) ads
  • Content marketing
  • Link building

The above services are all essential for marketing your website development business and are best executed by digital marketing pros.

5. Build your business website perfectly

Nightcapit.com - Website Designed by Website.Design

When people look for a website developer, they will notice every detail on the websites they visit. If you’re going to start a website development business, your website advertising your services needs to be perfect. Not just visually pixel-perfect, but it needs to represent what your business is capable of achieving for your clients.

Granted, every website design will be different since features and design needs vary, but you can at least show potential clients what you’re capable of creating. To get people to see the value in using your design services, include the following elements on your website:

A portfolio

You can launch your business without a portfolio if you’re just starting out, but it will be harder to land clients. If you don’t have any samples of your work, have a few designs created for fictitious businesses just so you can showcase what you’re capable of creating.

As you develop sites for clients, you can extend your portfolio and eventually eliminate the fictitious businesses. Aim for having enough portfolio pieces to categorize them by industry or features.

Clean typography

Potential clients will look at the typography on your business website as an indication of what their site might look like if they hire you. Make your typography amazing to get more clients.

Typography is the art of arranging and styling text, but it’s actually more involved than it sounds. For instance, some people equate typography with a font face and color, but it’s much more involved. There are multiple elements that are involved in building a website’s typography, including line spacing, letter spacing, line height, the way text wraps around images, your use of subheadings, and the hierarchy of headings.

Intentionally-placed images (if any)

Images often do more harm than good. Avoid all stock photos on your business website. If you need to use images, hire a photographer or graphic designer to get a truly custom image. Demonstrate to your potential clients that you’re not just going to grab a random image from Unsplash and put it on their home page.

A pixel-perfect, UX-optimized menu

If your potential clients get frustrated with your navigation menu, they’ll wonder if you can develop a good menu for their project. Make sure your navigation menu is user-friendly, clean, and smooth. Ideally, it should contain minimal items and avoid drop-down items to keep it simple.

An easy-to-find contact form

Give your potential clients an easy way to reach out to you and inquire about your services. Make your contact form readily available to your visitors by placing it right on your homepage or making it immediately visible on your contact page.

A blog

Blogs are essential these days, especially when you’re offering high-end services to clients. Your potential website clients will want to know more about your services and your past clients. You can include this kind of information in blog posts along with articles related to website development for SEO purposes.

Professionally-written copy describing your services

It’s important to communicate your services in a way that persuades people to contact you. This requires more than telling people to contact you for a free quote. The best way to get persuasive copy is to hire a copywriter.

Remember that your website will show potential clients what you’re capable of creating. You don’t need to showcase every special feature you could possibly create, but make sure your website comes across as professional, completely custom, and user-friendly.

6. Create a partnership with a programmer

As a website developer, you’ll need a partnership with a programmer to satisfy a large number of custom client requests. For example, you might take on a client who needs a custom quiz that will deliver different results based on the user’s answers. There are existing applications that will allow you to add a quiz to your website, but you’ll need to skin the template to look like your website for a seamless user experience.

When you have a partnership with a programmer, you can hand them the task of creating a custom quiz that is built into the client’s website and blends in seamlessly. You’ll also be able to meet more of the client’s specifications down to the last detail when your programmer creates the quiz.

Working with a programmer will prove invaluable to your web development business because it will allow you to take on bigger projects and clients with larger budgets.

7. Get your DBA at the very minimum

Are you planning on being a freelance website development company, or an official business? At the very least, even if you’re going to freelance, get a DBA so you can do business as your company name. This will help you keep your business professional.

With a DBA, you can ask clients to write checks to your registered business name rather than your personal name. This will give you more credibility with your clients. If you’d rather skip the DBA and form a business entity, like an LLC, you can do that instead.

8. Create a strong USP

Domino's Pizza USP

In addition to professional services, you’ll need to offer something unique to your clients to stand out from the crowd. This is called a unique selling point, or USP for short. A USP conveys the unique value you offer and the problem your service solves.

Think about what you can offer your web development clients that can’t be found anywhere else. Browse around on other developers’ websites for ideas. It doesn’t need to be dramatic as long as it sets you apart from the competition. For example, maybe you can provide a 72-hour turnaround time or you can include several hours of complimentary SEO for each client.

Some examples of what you can use to create a USP include:

  • Targeting a local niche as a specialist
  • Creating content in a language other than English
  • Your site designs can increase sales
  • You can include unique, custom graphics
  • You can offer a unique services bundle
  • You offer outstanding customer service
  • You can offer a unique guarantee

Think about it for a while and then decide how to position your business uniquely in the market of website development services. It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as your USP conveys real value to your clients.

Need your business website designed? Website.design can help!

If you’re ready to launch your website development business and you still need a website, we can help. Reach out to our development team and tell us what you need. Our team of professional developers can build you a completely custom website on the platform of your choice.

When we design your website, we’ll make sure it’s pixel-perfect and professional in every way. We’ll create any custom features you need to showcase specific design elements to impress your potential clients. We’ll also make sure you have a professionally designed blog and any other website features you need.

Contact us today for a free quote and let us help you bring your website development business to life!

Ryan Nead
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