Website Business is a relatively new sector
No, we are not crazy.
Nowadays, there is a widespread feeling that everything has already been invented:
- People trying to become entrepreneurs tend to think that there are no business opportunities for them.
- If they think about starting an on-line based business, the feeling is even worse: “it is too late for starting anything… maybe some years ago it would have been a better time, but not now…”.
However, think about this:
- What if you could travel back in time to 1900’s?
People those days could also think that it was too late for starting a new Industrial business (Industrial revolution those days was something like on-line business nowadays):
- Standard Oil controlled pretty much all the oil in the world.
- Ford had almost the monopoly of cars.
- Export Import companies were controlled by few people.
- Industry was not accessible to everybody.
- Just few rich and powerful people could get access to finance education.
- Bank loans were not as spread or “democratized” as they are nowadays.
- etc, etc.
These days, you could also think that everything had been already invented.
It would have been a terrible mistake to think that there was not any industrial opportunity in those days.
In a similar way, it would also be a terrible mistake to think that there are not economic opportunities in the Web sector: A sector that started just few years ago.
There are still lots of opportunities
If you think about it carefully, the on-line sector is really “young”.
There are millions of websites, we know but… where is the problem?
What was a good website 3 years ago, maybe it is not nowadays:
- Topics change.
- Interests change.
- New products appear and others disappear.
Businesses and websites don’t last forever.
Moreover, there are still millions of people that still have not access to Internet.
- Sooner than later, this situation will change, making the overall on-line economic sector much bigger.
Summarizing: there are thousands of new opportunities on Internet and all of them have something in common: they need a Website.
Today, we’ll analyze the Web design Business in order to establish:
- What you would need for starting a profitable web design business.
- Which steps you should follow.
- What you should focus on.
- How much you should expect to earn.
- What you would need in order to make $1.000 a month with different scenarios.
Finally, we’ll give you our verdict: is it worth it?
Business Idea: Starting a Web design Business
Don’t necessarily pick the Topic you know more, but the Topic you love the most.
Designing and building a Website is something people pay for.
Moreover, it is not difficult to learn how to develop a Site.
- There are thousands of free tutorials on YouTube and, with a little time and patience, you can learn how to master it.
You don’t need to be a professional programmer or an expert developer to build a professional site.
- WordPress makes it very simple so anyone can do it.
All this together makes this economic activity even more attractive.
We'll analyze WordPress based Sites
In this Page, we’ll analyze how much you could earn by developing WordPress-based sites and whether it is a profitable business you should consider or not.
We won’t analyze custom programmed Sites since not everybody can learn php, Java… in a reasonable period of time.
Besides, even if you know php, Java… custom professionally programmed websites, can be difficult to master.
- You would have to be constantly updating them for your clients.
- You could miss something and your clients would be angry no matter how much time you spent on the Site.
- These programming languages are constantly changing so, unless you are in a company that is completely dedicated to this business, you’d have to keep learning new changes, updates… “Forever”.
WordPress-based sites can be developed in a much more simple and strong way.
Of course, these sites are much cheaper but:
- They can be easily built.
- WordPress offers thousands of tools, like Plugins or Themes, that can make things much easier for you.
- You don’t have to learn any programming language.
- WordPress updates php changes, variations… automatically.
- Nowadays, 20% of all websites are developed with WordPress so nobody should say that Wordpres-based sites are not good or professional enough.
- Since you don’t need to know programming, you can spend more time in learning how to use image-design tools.
- For making these sites attractive.
- If you offer sites with good-professional appearance, you’ll be able to charge more to your clients.
Being said that let’s analyze how you should start:
First Steps for starting a Web design Business
You want to start a Web design Business, but you don’t know where or how to start?
Now, we’ll propose you the steps you should follow:
1. Become a WordPress master
This step seems obvious but it is not.
With WordPress it is very easy to start a functional and even a good looking site.
That makes that lot of people stop learning more about:
- WordPress Updates
- Best Plugins.
- Best Themes.
- Best practices.
- How to make Backups.
- How to migrate sites.
- How to redirect domains.
- etc, etc.
- How to handle users and accounts.
- etc, etc.
If you are going to develop a WordPress-based site you should offer at least, a very good professional Site.
- And your clients should feel that you know perfectly what you are doing.
Everybody can develop a simple WP site, but few people can do it in a professional, solid and good-looking way.
So, remember: learn as much as you can about WordPress.
2. Learn how to develop your own designs
People tend to value the appearance more than anything else. Never forget that.
Providing the site works properly, your clients won’t care if you used a simple approach, one Plugin or another… The first thing they’ll see will be the Site’s appearance.
You should learn some image or graphic edition software in order to offer a more unique and good-looking product.
* This will be also important in case you don’t want to have “copyright” issues when choosing background pictures, icons…
According to our experience, we would not recommend you to mess around with CSS in excess.
- You can end up “touching” important parts of the theme and the site’s speed or functionality may get affected.
However, learning a bit of CSS is very useful, funny and simple.
You can add interesting effects with little harmless code directly copied from Internet sources.
3. Create a good portfolio of pre-designed websites
Once you know WordPress, CSS and some Image/Graph-editing program, the next step is creating a stock of “beta” sites.
Why is that?
By creating dozens of beta-sites, you’ll be able to save lot of time and effort to yourself.
When your clients ask you for a site, you have to offer them different approaches so they can choose and pick the one that better fits their requirements.
If you have a good amount of pre-designed sites you’ll:
- Have more chances of getting “hired” for a project since you can show more products to your clients.
- Save time. You’d just have to finish the site your client picked.
- Be able to work in parallel for different clients.
Having a good portfolio of pre-designed sites is the very key for scale this Business and make it profitable.
Use your first months with low activity (while you promote your services) for creating this portfolio.
- The harder you work in these first months, the better.
4. Pick a Website Niche
There are thousands of Web designers out there.
Targeting any kind of web can be counter-productive at the beginning.
Since the majority of designers target all kind of sites, you’ll gain credibility if you focus on just one niche.
You could specialize on:
- Social Sites.
- Photography sites.
- Local Businesses sites.
- Corporative websites.
* Nowadays, there are hundreds of Plugins that make it very simple. You just have to know them perfectly, what are they capable of, and very important: compatibility with other Plugins and Themes.
If you think that picking a niche would limit your options, don’t worry about “losing” market: there are millions of people hiring Web designers on-line each day. You surely will have enough demand.
Only when you have a certain reputation you’ll be able to target more Niches and expand your Business.
5. Promote your services
This is a very important aspect.
There are 2 main ways of promoting your Web-Design Business:
- By offering your Services through “freelance” platforms.
- Such as upwork, fiverr…
- By attracting customers to your own website.
Let’s analyze the pros and cons of these 2 options:
Offering your Services through a freelance platform:
- It is easy.
- The platform cares about everything, sometimes, even taxes.
- People trust these platforms.
- You have to pay substantial commissions.
- Upworks starts with 20% commission.
- You don’t “control” your flow of clients. They do.
Owning your own website:
- You can demonstrate what you are capable of, by designing a wonderful site.
- You control your flow of clients.
- You totally control your offers, prices and product positioning.
- Takes more time and effort for attracting a reasonable amount of customers.
- You have to take care of everything.
- People can initially distrust you.
- You’re “nobody”. Why should they trust you?
As usual, we recommend you to mix these 2 options:
- You should always have your own Website; a nice beautiful Website. That is mandatory.
- But, at initial stages, you can use certain “freelance” platforms so you:
- Give more trust to your customers.
- Increase your pool of clients.
- Learn what people tend to demand and value the most.
- This is maybe the best and more important reason of all.
- etc, etc
Once you have a “juicy” pool of clients and some reputation, you can start attracting customers through your own Site.
Structure Needed for a Web design Business
Again, this economic sector is very attractive since you just need your computer, an Internet connection and few things more.
As we mentioned in the “Blogging Business“, the structure of the company is just you and the computer (if you can call the computer “structure”).
However, since this Business is “so easy to start” you’ll find lots of competitors everywhere.
Investment Required for starting a Web design Business
- You already have a computer and Internet connection.
- You’ll start this Business as a “side business”.
- Hence, we won’t include your Rental nor your Internet expenses.
A Hosting for your site:
- $100 per year.
An annual “Envato Market” subscription (not sponsored) that offers unlimited Themes for WordPress.
- This is very interesting since you’ll be able to offer Premium Templates to your customers and you’ll pay a fixed rate.
- These premium Themes, usually include Premium Plugins.
- $16 per month.
- That is $192 per year (maybe, they make some yearly discount).
Illustrator license (or equivalent):
- As we mentioned before, it is more that recommended learning some graphic-design program so you can offer much better and professional-looking sites to your clients.
- $240 yearly.
- Premium on-line courses for learning Illustrator (for example) WordPress, CSS, or whatever you need.
- In Udemy for example, you’ll find all kind of courses (not sponsored) and some of them start at just $15.
Total investment required for starting your Web Design Business:
- $532 of which, are yearly expenses.
* As we said in the “Blogging Business” Page:
- You could technically start this Business without this initial “investments” (technically, expenses).
- You could offer free-Themes sites and use the CSS you learn on YouTube…
Here we are assuming you want to improve you final product as much as possible.
- These are the “minimum” expenses we consider you should have in order to have a decent final product.
- If you don’t do it this way, you’ll have it difficult for getting clients.
Making $1.000 a month with a Web design business
All we said before is interesting but… how many sites should you design for making $1.000 a month?
Which is the average price professionals charge for a Website?
- Remember, not a super-spectacular custom programmed Site, but a decent, functional WordPress-based good-looking site.
We have researched in “fiverr” (a freelance website) how much professionals ask for designing a Site.
Website design prices research in fiverr
We’ve chosen” fiverr” since other freelance platforms, share the freelancers hourly costs rather than the whole project’s one.
Neglecting the “unusually” cheap and expensive:
- Range goes from $500 to $1.000, approximately.
- We also neglected the “suspicious” offers.
Non-Pro-services – Level 1 and 2 seller level (it is the most common level):
- Range goes from $60 to $150 approximately.
Since the fluctuation in prices is remarkably high, lets make some averages:
- A Premium Website: $750.
- An average Cheap site: $100.
With these costs, we’ll be able to start studying different scenarios:
1. Developing simple WordPress sites
In this scenario, we’ll assume that you only develop “cheap” sites.
- As we mentioned before, we’ve assumed that these sites are sold at an average price of $100.
How many cheap Sites should you design for making $1.000 a month?
Obviously, you should design 10 sites per month for earning $1.000.
That seems a bit excessive but, if you had a good portfolio of pre-designed Sites, it can be achieved:
- A bit more than 2 sites per week approx.
It must not be easy to sell 10 sites per month at the beginning, of course but, cheap sites should not imply lot of work.
- If you had 30 pre-designed sites you just would have to change some Headings, colors and pictures your client gave to you.
We don’t say it is easy to achieve. We just say it is possible providing you had a good and almost finished portfolio.
- You wouldn’t have to start designing each Site.
However, it would require lot of time from you.
2. Developing premium WordPress sites.
We’ve assumed that professional-looking sites are sold at $750 on average.
It is not easy to sell Sites at this price. We know that.
However, if you had a nice portfolio with 15 very professional sites (for example), you could make special offers in order to get the attention of your potential clients.
Premium Sites you should design for making $1.000 a month
Selling 2 professional sites at $750 per month seems a bit optimistic for an initial scenario.
However, 2 professional sites with Premium Themes and Plugins for $500 each, seems much more realistic.
You can play with your prices and discounts.
We have mentioned it several times, but we’ll mention it again:
- This would be only possible if you had developed different pre-designed Sites.
- That way you could play with your products’ discounts and work in parallel in different projects.
If you had to design everything from scratch, you would never able to make a living being Web designer.
3. Mixed Scenario: Cheap and Premium Web designs.
The scenario is simple: selling cheap and expensive Sites.
Normally, we like this scenario the most. But this is not the case (we’ll explain you later why we don’t like this particular scenario).
How many mixed Sites should you design for making $1.000 a month?
You probably have already guessed:
- 2 sites at $100 per month.
- 1 site at $750 per month.
It seems the best and more feasible scenario, isn’t it?
In fact, we don’t like this scenario at all.
- Check our verdict and you’ll find out why.
Verdict: Is Website design a viable Business Idea?
It is a very interesting idea for one single reason:
- It allows you to pre-do lot of your work.
You can develop dozens of different sites “in advance” and with this portfolio your clients just have to pick the one they like the most.
- You only would have to finish and polish the sites.
However, we should not forget that your final goal is to get a “name”; a brand, people would pay for.
- That is why we find interesting “just” the Premium Sites scenario.
- Selling Cheap websites at the same time wouldn’t help you to achieve this target.
It is better to pre-design 15 very good sites, taking your time, polishing them properly… than 50 “cheap” and simple ones.
You have to add value to what you make. You name should mean “quality and professionalism”.
Moreover, closing 10 deals per month (regarding the Cheap scenario) is something tiring and difficult.
- And, no matter how cheap your Sites were: your customers would always find a cheaper option.
In other Business activities, we usually recommend to mix some premium services with cheaper ones.
However, in this particular one, since there are almost unlimited cheap market alternatives: you should avoid playing this game.
If you are thinking about becoming Web designer, we recommend you to take your time for learning and preparing very good and professional Websites in advance.
- It is better to discuss with 2 clients per month rather than 10.