How to Become a Web Designer
Starting web design business doesn’t have to be an impossible dream. By harnessing your natural ability to design attractive websites, you can secure a position as an effective designer. The fact is, many designers lack the ability to create novel and innovative designs. If you have a knack for visual design, you are already lightyears ahead of your competition. You only have to look around to see how many designers lack an ability to design eye-catching websites that customers want to visit. The decision to start a web design business is really the decision to enter the field of art and express yourself creatively.
The Path to Becoming a Web Designer
There are many ways to learn how to become a web designer. If you have the creativity and drive needed to succeed, chances are good that you’ll be able to attract clients and build your customer base. However, many people who want to be effective at getting web design clients forget the fact that it’s really an emotional plea to your client’s senses. Instead of worrying about how you can be an effective web designer, concentrate on how you can invoke your client’s emotions and be effective at getting web design clients. By doing this, you’ll be able to convey your attitudes, sensibilities, and ethics in all of your projects.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to web design. Many people believe that to be an effective designer, the only real path to success is by going to school. While getting a degree and the right schooling can help make you a more effective designer, this is not the only way. You can also study on your own, or take on select projects while you’re attending college. This way, you’ll be building your business and enhancing your skills at the same time. The most profitable clients are going to generally be less interested in your portfolio and more interested in your degree. A degree looks good to upper management, and it makes investors feel at ease. In fact, you’ll find the best designers have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. The other advantage to a degree is that you can always teach when your roster of clients is low.
What Do Web Designers Make a Year?
While this question is going to vary greatly between people, the typical designer can expect to make upwards of $60,000 a year. If you land a major company, you can expect your annual income to rise exponentially. One of the big mistakes that new designers make is believing that current income will equal future income. You may have a large client that accounts for 80 percent of your business. This is dangerous because if that client decides to drop you, it could end up significantly hurting your annual income. This could be an issue for you if it prevents you from living the lifestyle you are accustomed to. It’s better to start a business that is based on hundreds of recurring customers. This can be done in a few ways, but most designers work to provide templates and subscription services. These are more reliable than your typical Web design company that only builds websites.
Types of Web Design Templates
Web designers make most of their money by designing templates for their customers. You only have to look to some of the biggest template companies in the world to see how lucrative this business can be. Offer HTML templates for customers who want an effective website, but don’t have the time to create a website on their own. These professional templates are created out of web design inspiration that can only come from an accomplished graphic design artist. Think about the customer you’re designing your templates for, and look to see if there are any web design trends that you can emulate and profit from. By offering these for sale at an affordable price, you can help to supplement your income and even create passive income that will keep you in the black for years to come.
Understanding Web Design Diversity
Don’t bother yourself with questions that vary greatly between individuals. Trying to answer the question of how much do web designers make will only put you in a position of trying to create a business that solely focuses on profits. If you focus on creating effective templates that match your personal style, you’ll be able to succeed. People want diversity, and there are many layers that make up an effective website. You need to be diverse in both your ability to create and your understanding of available tools. Learn about design, layout, and typography. All of these elements are crucial to becoming an effective designer. You need to always think about the end user. Design a website that is based on sound functional principles while still creating new and innovative websites.
Learning How to Create Effective Websites
If you’re just starting out, begin creating websites for one of the major CMS platforms. Consider using Joomla, WordPress or Drupal. All of these CMS installations have large followings, and there are people that need original and functional templates. Become active in the forums for the CMS of your choice. Begin by offering your templates for free. As you develop a name for yourself, begin making more complex templates that are only available on a paid basis. This is how you build a customer base that is loyal and willing to promote your brand when you start selling your own products. Be genuine and don’t rip off customers, and you will find that your following will continue to grow if you provide high-quality templates that people love.
Don’t Neglect Marketing and Writing Skills
Marketing skills are incredibly important to effectively sell your products. Make sure you understand the basics of how to promote and advertise your product. Learn how to make every free template you create a marketing vehicle for your website. Yes, you can brand your free templates with a link to your website, but you need to have the marketing skills to bring customers to your website in the first place.
Not everyone can be a stellar writer, but you can learn the basic mechanics of what makes for effective writing. Misspelled words, poorly constructed sentences, and bad grammar are tip-offs to customers that your company lacks a certain amount of professionalism. A website with typos is not going to instill trust in your company. If you don’t have the ability to write well, take a class or hire a full-time writer to create all of the written content for your websites.
Education Versus Experience
Education is important. It helps you become an expert, and it forces you to look at your work through the lens of an established practice. However, without experience, you won’t really learn what works in the real world. You need constant practice and feedback from your clients to find out what works in the wild. A combination of both education and experience tend to provide the best results, but having the right education can go a long way toward getting your foot in the door at a major company.
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