The right resources and knowledge are essential to start a web design company. This ebook will help you get started. This ebook is free to download. It contains more than 100 pages of tips and tricks that will help you get your venture off the ground.
You can also sign up for the Hub by GoDaddy Pro if you need even more help. This platform allows you to manage all your clients and is free of charge.
Set up your work environment
Set up your work environment to get started in your web design business.
Your workspace should be able to allow you to work/life balance
The struggle between work and life is real for entrepreneurs.
You can reduce the struggle by creating a line between work and your personal life. Start with a designated space so you can get work done without interruptions. You must establish boundaries and rules to ensure that your space is not left unattended and that you have time to work.
- You can make space in your home office, whether you have a whole room or a corner. And set boundaries for others who use it.
- To establish guidelines for work hours and how to manage interruptions, you should collaborate with your roommates or family.
- Make sure you have enough office supplies to go around so that you don’t get caught without labels, folders, printer paper or other essential supplies.
- You can find a few stores that you can consolidate your business purchases and create accounts that offer rewards or rebates.
- You need to know how many hours you can work while still being productive, preserving your time with friends, and continuing your hobbies, sports, and other outdoor activities.
You can be more productive every day if you think about how to pace yourself.
Make sure you know your contingency plan
For those who work from home, power outages or interruptions in internet service can be a serious problem.
You can find out where you can park for a few minutes, and the location of a wireless network and table space.
- There might be two to three coffee shops nearby, depending on how far you live.
- Find the nearest library (confirm hours and days)
- Coworking spaces (confirm hours and charges)
- Invest in reliable and powerful hardware and software
Web professionals need to be aware of the best tools to create graphics, modify photos and document their work.
- Purchase the best computer that you can afford. Purchase an external monitor, a scanner, and a printer.
- Consider buying a dedicated camera if you plan to take photos for client websites.
- Consider how you will continue to work in the event of a system failure. For example, keeping another computer on hand for backup.
- Determine which software you will need. Many offer free 30-day trials if you aren’t sure. Adobe Creative Cloud should be the first candidate.
- You will need to decide which plan level you require for subscription services. GoDaddyPro Sites, for example, offers bundles with specific features that allow you to manage larger sites.
- Consider the ongoing costs of other cloud apps, such as video calls, accounting software, remote computer access, and video calling.
A bulletproof backup strategy is essential
- Do not compromise on the security of your office and computers. These systems will allow you to sleep peacefully at night.
- Choose a remote backup to Dropbox, Google Drive, Dropbox, or another provider.
- Consider whether you will need a complete backup of your computer to an external server. If so, add it to your hardware budget.
- When choosing your tech, keep simplicity in mind and scale in the forefront
- You should look for solutions that provide the capabilities and features you will need in the future. Remember:
- Simple workflowsYou should look for tools that reduce the number of steps required to complete a task.
- Trials of products.Before you make a commitment, spend some time with the tech.
- Scaling up with successYou will need to manage more projects the more successful you are.
- Transferring ownershipYou may, for example, pay web hosting fees or other fees for your clients. If costs have to be transferred to the client, you should know how you will transfer ownership.
- From the beginning, be diligent about your bookkeeping and client billing.
- An accounting/bookkeeping software is a must. Your chosen software should be able to create professional invoices, track expenses automatically, and allow for recurring invoices.
- This information is not just for making sure you get paid. This data is important for your future projects as well as income/expense forecasting and estimates.
- This is not your area of expertise, but don’t hesitate to seek out assistance with small business expense planning.
- Even if the work is not your forte, you might consider spending a few hours with a financial professional to create your chart of accounts.
What about taxes? You should consider a long-term relationship to a tax professional who can help you with your taxes and answer any questions about the financial system.
Establish a separate credit card for your business. You can purchase what you need from your business and save money using pre-tax dollars. This includes hardware, software, internet services, and office supplies. These are just a few of the many benefits. It can assist you with unexpected costs which could throw a wrench in your budgeting.
Find out exactly how much you will be paid
- Before any work is billed, make sure you have all the details.
- Define your Invoicing Processes and Policies, including invoice creation, delivery, and due dates.
- Clarify the payment methods you accept, including credit cards and checks.
- Establish expectations about deposits, penalties for late payment, and consequences for invoices not being paid.
- You should know how much you will be paid. Are you going to receive a fixed salary or asynchronous income-based payments?
A payroll service is a cost-effective way to let someone else manage money transfers, changing tax laws and correct filing of government forms.
Create your support team
Once you have your space, processes, and tools set up, it is time to build a support network.
Find your peeps
- Even if you work alone, it is important to look for ways to connect with other members of the online and business community.
- You can find local meetups and other groups for web professionals and freelancers, e.g. Meetups for WordPress developers, users and designers.
- You can join online communities that are focused on web design through Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media channels.
- Participate actively in online and in-person conversations so people know that you are interested in their ideas or solving problems.
- Get involved in community groups like the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, and small business owners networking groups.
Pro tip: Connect with alumni, fellow neighbors and others who are interested in your hobbies and other interests online or in person. You may meet someone in these communities who needs your help, or you might know someone who does.
It can be both exhilarating as well as intimidating to make the leap into a tech-based career, regardless of whether you are a recent college graduate or making a midlife career transition.
Mentoring is a great way to boost confidence, increase skills and set realistic goals.
A mentor can offer wisdom only from experience when you’re transitioning from an employee to a freelancer.
Your extended all-star team is ready!
Create a network of trusted power partners who offer complementary services that are in sync to yours. All of you will benefit, without having to sacrifice work or clients.
You can work with local partners that specialize in Information Technology (IT), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media, online advertising, photography, video, or any other area of expertise beyond your comfort zone.
It is possible to create a list of virtual partners that includes hosting providers, domain registrars and stock photo libraries. You can also integrate third-party software solutions into websites you are creating for clients.
Think about when and how you might outsource.
You must continue to delegate and prioritize as the leader of your company, even if you are a single business.
If you want to grow and scale your business, you won’t be able do it all on your own.
You can outsource tasks that don’t need your technical or creative skills, including taxes, bookkeeping and data entry.
Choose your products Services Their pricing model
Define your services and productize them. Then, set a price for monthly recurring income.
Clarify your service offerings
You might, for example, offer the following:
- Complete web design and development
- Redesigns and rebuilding of sites
- Web maintenance and management services
You may also offer other services such as:
- Managed web hosting
- Content creation
- Management of social media
- Online advertising
- Email marketing
- To generate recurring revenue, “Productize” you services
Every web designer should have recurring revenue as part of their monthly income.
When you provide recurring value, recurring revenue is a sure way to make it work. It is important to convert your services into a product that can be renewed on a short-term basis.
Selling your services as a value-product can help you earn recurring income.
You can define what you do and what your value is.
This eliminates a lot the waste in the traditional service model like design revisions, project management and chasing payments.
It’s automatic money that comes in every month without you having to be selling constantly.
How to determine a price that is profitable
It is preferable to charge value over time. Therefore, you will need to determine which pricing model (e.g. hourly or project-based) is best for your web design company.
It is important to establish a price per project. This avoids having to talk about the details of how each minute was spent. Price negotiations can also be avoided if price negotiation is based on features clients might not value.
Check out pricing models from other web designers. You want to be as competitive as possible without selling the store. However, don’t let price scare you off. Underpricing of your services is a problem.
You are welcome to use hourly rates for estimating the project cost but you don’t have to disclose that information.
You must cover your vacation, sick days, benefits and retirement expenses.
Consider the costs associated with online payment.
Add to that the costs of plugins, software licences, copywriting, stock photos, and other project expenses.
You will need to pay for business development and additional work.
It’s not enough to charge what you have to for expenses. You also need to make money.
Analyze market demand and compare what your competition is offering at what prices. You should price competitively.
Let’s get this straight: Not all activity in your business is directly related with any client. However, all activity must be included in the price clients pay.
Clients who don’t pay for all this activity aren’t paying.
Name your web design company
Names play an important part in attracting clients and customers, as well as submitting legal documents to create your business and choosing a domain name for your website. Name your web design company with care and planning.
When deciding on a name for your business (Web Awesome Agency of Washington), or personal (John Doe Design), consider your long-term goals.
Are you thinking of moving to an agency or staying freelance and building your brand? Potential clients will view you as a “just a freelancer” who is willing to pay lower rates than if they were expecting the professionalism of an agency.
Are web services your ultimate goal? Or do you prefer to use them to build a personal brand in another field such as public speaking or teaching or writing books?
This is a temporary job to gain experience and get a permanent gig. You can still work with companies but want to be a freelancer if you like the idea of working for them.
Are you certain of the services that you offer? Avoid putting details in your business name if you are not sure.
Here’s a summary of when you should use a business name.
- You envision yourself moving from being a freelancer to working for an agency.
- You are changing careers and want to create a brand that is different from your own name.
- If you are in the U.S., you’re creating a legal entity (e.g. an LLC) or an S-Corp (if applicable). You want to protect your personal information.
When to use your personal title:
- Your name is being used for SEO.
- If offered, you would consider yourself a sole freelancer.
- To build your personal brand (speaking engagements or books, online courses, etc.)
- Register your domain today!
- After you have chosen your perfect name, register your domain immediately.
Get awww.comConsider variations and other extensions.
Your business plan should be written
Your business plan should include:
- Your business vision , and your identity.
- Financial goals and targets should be set.
- Include pricing options for your products.
- Establish long-term goals for new products and services.
- Calculate your income and expenses.
- Define your ideal client.
- Consider building your business a project.
Although it doesn’t need to be complicated, the project must be managed well to set clear goals, keep focus and stay within budget.
This is a way to get a general idea of how you will approach project management.
To show customers and employees how the company will create value, many use a diagram called a business model canvas. The canvas visualises your business model, key features, market size, and other information.
What is the potential market size? To assess market potential, use tools like Google Trends or Facebook ads. Look for public data sources such as local chambers or economic development corporations if you are targeting specific geographic areas.
This is where you will get all your paperwork organized. You will need to decide how your business structure will look, consult with the local government for licensing requirements, arrange insurance, benefits, and manage your own time to ensure your success.
Your business identity
Decide whether you will operate as a sole proprietor or LLC. You might consider hiring a lawyer to assist you with the paperwork, or using an online service like LegalZoom.
To find out the requirements of your local government, including permits and licensing for businesses, visit the website of your city.
Although liability insurance is generally a good idea, some clients might require proof. You may also need additional insurance, such as disability insurance.
Ask for multiple quotes so you can make sure you are getting the best package.
Get a quote from your personal agent if you have home and renter’s insurance.
Benefits of the Plan
You will need a plan if your former job offered retirement, medical or other benefits.
Is it possible to be covered by a spouse’s or partner’s health insurance? How about setting up a retirement plan?
Although you will not be paid for vacation or holidays, it is important to have policies in place to help clients and provide backup resources if needed.
- Determine if you will be able to receive medical/dental benefits from another family member’s job benefit, a group affiliation (such a membership in a professional association), or independent procurement.
- Retirement contributions can be planned through your company or by other means.
- Decide your vacation/holiday policies.
- Learn how to communicate your time with clients.
- If you are unable to provide your services during the scheduled time, create a contingency plan.
- Accomplish your daily tasks
Establish and enforce boundaries, use time management best practices and maximize productivity by setting up tools.
- You can choose from Teux Deux, Todoist or any other to-do application.
- Create a system for tracking time and tasks of each client.
- Create a process for migrating daily tracking data into an invoice format or reporting format.
- Identify the most important tasks that will benefit from consistent execution. Establish processes, checklists, and organizing strategies.
- Designing a new website
- Cleanup before launch
- After-launch testing and approval
- Tracking, reporting and bookkeeping tasks, whether they be daily, weekly or monthly
Make templates for:
- ” Let’s get started” emails to outline the initial needs of clients when starting new project.
- Commonly sent emails, like those announcing a vacation plan
Make your proposal and create contract templates
Perform the pre-work necessary to ensure client fitness
Additional prework is helpful before you propose work to a potential client. It will help you reduce rework, avoid giving clients “free” work, and steer clear from projects that are not right for you.
This pre-work involves recon: Is there an existing website? Is it hosted there? Is their business model ethical
Prospective clients should also be able to grasp the key elements involved in creating a web design that is successful, such as purpose, measurable goals, realistic budget/cost/schedule expectations and intended audience.
Begin the negotiations with preliminary costing
Most projects begin with preliminary speculative documentation, which initiates the costing conversation and, ideally, leads to a formal contract.
EstimatesProvide a rough idea of the cost and timeframe for services. However, details may change as clients learn more.
Get QuotesThese are more formal and have a fixed price that is limited by a time limit.
BidsProvide documented responses to a list of clearly defined specifications. These are often submitted in competition against other bids.
ProposalsThey are ideal for you to let them know that they provide a detailed, comprehensive document.Outshine your competition.
After you have negotiated an agreement between your client and yourself based on any of these methods, it is time to sign a comprehensive contract.
You and your clients should have a contract that protects you both
A web design contract protects your time, your bottom line and your sanity.
A web design contract is like any other contract. It defines your business and legal relationship with your client as well as your personal relationship regarding business practices, communication, and interactions.
It is legally binding and each party has to fulfill its obligations regarding deliverables as well as compensation for the work done. The contract can be used as a basis for legal action if either party fails or is not able to fulfill its obligations.
There is no single solution for all. The web development agreement that works for you may not work for others. Contracts are crucial in:
- Specification of a defined scope of deliverables to be promised
- You must ensure that you get paid.
- Describe each party’s role, including their actions and confidentiality. Also, discuss the consequences for not fulfilling that role.
- Clarify who is responsible for the work after delivery.
- Explain post-delivery activities in terms of warranties, changes and liabilities
- Common “What if this happens?” scenarios can be mitigated.
- Protection in case of an exception
- Create a reference document that will be useful later.
- Setting the stage for a successful partnership
It can take a lot of time to create your contract from scratch. You may also forget important details. It can also be costly to hire someone to create your contract. A compromise solution is to find a free and customizable template for your web design contract.
Web designers are responsible for tracking time, communication, onboarding, and managing scope changes. It is essential to have the right tools to keep track of all this. These are some of our favorite tips:
Formalize project management
Use an online tool to make it easier to track communications. It is difficult to manage projects via email once you become larger.
There are many tools available.
You will need to be able to review what was done when you bring in someone or the client brings in someone else to help you.
Onboarding new clients/clients
Once you have found the ideal client and signed the contract, you can plan the next steps.
- Use an intake questionnaire or checklist
- A kick-off meeting for your project
- Educating clients about expectations in regard to both behavior and deliverables
- As you start your web design business, there will be many different kinds of clients. So plan to adapt your communication style to meet each client’s needs.
Obsessively track time
Keep track of your time for everything. With a quick phone call or email, time adds up. You can’t have more time.
Change requests can be controlled
While you will always strive to please your clients, if you make small changes to the project without planning, you are allowing them to expect large-scale changes.
Make sure that they have a method to submit a change request.
Mismanaging client expectations regarding scope changes is one of the fastest ways to lose money in web design projects.
This situation can be avoided by getting your client to interact with the website as soon as possible.
Even if the prototype has very few design elements, they will view it as if they were the end user. So questions will be raised sooner.
Interactive prototypes are a great way to do this.
You can quickly build website prototypes using WordPress in many ways. It is important to be as clear as possible, and to get your client to agree on functionality.
Your job when it’s time to go-time is to ensure that the website is ready for launch. The content and technical checks, which includes these topics (although they may need to be customized) are the first.
- Analytics and SEO
- Connect to social media channels
- Validation of HTML/CSS
- Cross-browser testing and device testing
- All functionality should be tested
- Test submissions
- 301 redirects
- Google verification
- 404 pages
- CMS kept up-to-date
- Up-to-date themes and plugins
- Backup schedules for daily and weekly are in place
- Next, prepare your client for the launch of their website.
Consider these considerations:
- Is the website going to help me achieve my SMART goals?
- Is the website clear about what we do and for whom?
- Are there clear calls to action on the website?
- Are you ready to read Google Analytics reports and receive them?
- Are we able to create a content calendar for the next twelve months?
- Are we able to use social media channels to promote our website?
- We are ready to accept incoming enquiries via the website forms
- Is live chat being used? If so, can someone monitor it?
- Are you running advertising campaigns?
- Are you sure that your email marketing provider is plugged in and available to capture email addresses
- Are your email marketing automation campaign ready for action?
- Is there any training on how to use the content-management system?
- Are we enrolled in a Care Plan? If not, who will continue to support the website’s future?
- is a great resource that will help you make sure everything is in order before you launch your website.
Ask for social proof
Social proof is the most powerful tool for attracting new clients.
Good testimonials are about providing value before you ask and timing your request.
Customers will often give you positive testimonials if you deliver on your promises, solve their problems effectively, provide exceptional customer service and make them feel valued. It is best to ask them immediately after the project has been completed, once they have seen results from your work.
Your brand should tell your compelling story
A logo and color scheme are the foundation of your brand. But beyond that, messaging is what connects you to your target audience and affects purchasing behavior.
Your voice should reflect your values, your strengths and your style.
Are you young and trendy or are you old and more experienced? Are you serious or playful? Luxurious service or an economical alternative?
Tell a compelling story about your brand to make clients choose you over other competitors. To have the answers to these questions, identify your unique selling proposition.
- Why should I choose you over your competitor?
- What makes you a better option?
- Why would I choose to hire a freelancer over an agency?
Start with flyers, brochures, business cards and other giveaways to get your name out there.
You are proud of your work. Now it’s time to show it off to the world by creating a web design agency in singapore and a social presence on social media that will attract your ideal clients.
Spend time on social media to build a comprehensive marketing strategy.
For your new business, create a website
Make sure your vehicle showcases your work and demonstrates your product/service offerings.
Your portfolio of work is the best way to tell your story.
Consider starting a few volunteer websites if you don’t have much work to show.
Start small but keep building and improving your website in the background. Once you are done with sections or pages, publish the site and share your feedback with potential customers.
Your site should contain at least:
- Your story
- Contact information
- Services offered
- Success Stories and Testimonials
- A free download is available that will help you to acquire contacts for your mailing lists
You should include details about any certifications and specialized training. This will let readers know that you are trained with skills and experience they can use. With a solid background and formal education, you will be able to show how you are different from other hobbyists.
Social media connections
Consider setting up social media accounts and deciding if you would like business profiles to be separate from your personal ones.
Focus your efforts on the best platforms to reach your target audience and make sure you work effectively with them. Based on demographics like age, gender, and geographic location, determine which platforms are most popular with your target audience.
Attract customers to your site
A marketing strategy is necessary to attract potential customers to your website.
To increase awareness about your products and business, you can use tools like Google AdWords and Facebook ads.
Three ways to find web designers clients
Concentrate on a niche
You don’t want your name to be just “web designer”
You can showcase your expertise by specializing. This could be based on the type of clients you work with or the type of projects you complete.
You could specialize in a specific market, geographical area, or site type, such as eCommerce, membership management, or even market space. Your materials should communicate your niche.
Your sweet spot is where you combine your talents and passions.
This is where you want your most time to be spent. If an activity isn’t in this sweet spot, delegate, automate, or delete it from your task lists.
Spending all of your time on your best work has the benefit that your work quality is higher, your clients’ outcomes are better and you feel happier. This is good for avoiding burnout.
Know your audience
After you have identified your sweet spot, ask yourself: “Who benefits the most when I do my best work?”
Customer satisfaction Is critical for the success of any web design company.
Your own satisfaction is even more important. One way to achieve this is by engaging with web designers who are right for you.
- Your ideal client is described, with attributes such as geographic, cultural, entity type, product/services offered or audience served.
- Know your evaluation criteria. This includes financial expectations, technical considerations and location, size, engagement length, potential for ongoing work, partnership opportunities, strategic positioning within your portfolio, personality fit, and even personality fit.
- You should have a strategy for evaluating the situation. This will allow you to quickly identify mismatches and make exceptions. Also, it will help you suggest alternative options. If the decision is not right, execute a quick, but graceful exit plan.
To grow your web design company, you should think about finding new clients
As if clients are hiding, you may wonder “How can I find new clients?” Clients aren’t hiding, they’re just waiting to be served. Finding them is the trick.
To ensure that there is always work coming in, business development must be an ongoing process. This is not something you do only when you have new clients. It’s an ongoing task.
Here are some tips to help you find clients
- Do your best work consistently and collaborate on projects that share a common vision.
- Use your network to your advantage: Share your news with everyone, use your social media profiles to post, and ask your friends and family for referrals.
- In exchange for an email address, create a Lead Magnet. This is an item of value you can offer your target audience (e.g., a checklist, form, or download). It is possible to communicate with your target audience by building an email list.
- To keep track of who you have contacted, what they did, and any future follow-up opportunities, use a CRM (Customer Relations Management Tool).
- Find ways to meet, find, and land these people.
You can be prepared to meet potential clients at unlikely places, such as the gym, Starbucks or at a concert by having your talking points ready.
- Find out how and where to meet potential clients.
- Always keep business cards close at hand.
- Create an advertising strategy.
- Your elevator pitch.
- You should be available to respond to any requests for discounts from friends or nonprofit organizations.
- Consider whether referrals are entitled to compensation. This could be a token of appreciation or credit towards future work.
- You can brainstorm ways to promote your web design business.
- Are you ready for the start?GrowHow do you start a web design company?
Consider the pros and cons of starting a web design business.
There are upsides
- Websites will always be in demand as more businesses start and established companies want to improve their business.
- It’s fun and creative work. You’ll also learn from working with different types of businesses and clients.
- You can work from anywhere and have flexibility to balance your personal and family needs.
- It is possible to get started without a formal education. You can also use special certifications and training to increase your knowledge and prepare you for the future.
- By offering complementary services, you can grow your business as you acquire expertise.
- You can’t afford to rest on your laurels in a constantly changing field. You will need to keep up with new technologies and trends.
- Because of the above reasons, there is a lot to be done.
- It is possible that you are working alone for long periods of time at your computer. You will need to adjust your lifestyle to allow more interaction with others.