The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation and is the primary reason why many people are considering launching online businesses. In other words, the timing to launch a web design business cannot be any better.
Consumers are demanding more and improved digital experiences. With your web design business, you can provide the experience that consumers crave.
Once you gain experience, we highly recommend that you venture into eCommerce website development. You can offer services in this domain or set up your own store. The reason is that there is endless potential in this business.
With the right design and products, we are confident that you can capture the market quickly.
It is a competitive market, so you should carefully lay the groundwork for your company to prevent the “Wait, what?!” situations that far too many new business owners face today.
Finding how to start a web design business cannot be easy considering the numerous factors which you must consider.
At the same time, if you’re caught or stuck in a job you don’t love, the prospect of using your skills to build a web design business based on flexibility and freedom is hard to pass up.
Working a full-time job while also taking on freelance clients can be difficult, especially if your freelance work is your passion.
Starting your own web design business sounds exciting, but you must consider various factors as it requires a long-term commitment and a financial investment.
Table of Contents
9 Steps To Start A Successful Web Design Business
1. Picking Up Best Web Design Niche
Having a well-defined niche lets you quickly identify leads who are a good fit for your company. You may not think this is a big deal but accepting any job will only lead you down a time-consuming rabbit hole in search of new clients.
Instead, spend some time now deciding on a niche for your business. It’s fine if it changes over time. But, for the time being, you need to carve out a clear path for yourself, and finding a niche is the first step.
For example, you can focus on B2B websites, construction, healthcare, or eCommerce website development projects.
Once you’ve decided on a niche, conduct some research to ensure that:
- Within this target niche, there are opportunities.
- They can afford the types of websites you create.
There are numerous ways to conduct this research. You can rely on free reports from marketing research companies, Statista, and other sources.
Over the years, we have seen people posting surveys in Facebook groups. The survey questions are designed in a way to determine consumer demand. When you are satisfied with your results, proceed to the next step.
2. Establishing Your Business Operations
When you first start your business, you may be working alone. However, if and when you have the budget, you should reach out to your network and bring on trusted designers and developers.
As your company expands, you may consider adding administrative and marketing professionals to your team.
It would help if you also considered outsourcing mundane tasks you don’t want to deal with, such as taxes and finances. If you have employees, you’ll need to hire someone or use a service to handle things like employee benefits and time off.
Deciding the business model is one of the most critical steps. There are numerous ways you can approach it.
One way is to opt for the outsourcing model. You can register a business and then hunt for clients. Whenever you get a project, you can outsource it to a third party.
The benefit is that you get to make a profit, establish your business name, and not have to do any of the work. There is no need to hire staff or rent an office space either. The downside to it is the lack of control.
If the third party does not complete the work within time or makes errors, your reputation will suffer. Lastly, there is always a risk of client poaching and the profitability is the lowest in this model.
The next model is hybrid. In it, some projects are done in-house while others are outsourced. The benefit is that the operating costs are low while there is an increase in profitability.
Your in-house team develops their expertise while you gain a much better understanding of the business and the wider industry. The downside is that profitability is still not at its maximum and risks of client poaching remain.
The third option is to completely in-house. The profitability is the maximum in this model. Your resources develop maximum skills, while as the business owner, you get complete knowledge of how things work in the web design domain.
However, keep in mind, this is also the model where maximum losses occur. But if you don’t the necessary risks, you can’t make it big.
Decide your business model after careful planning. If you rush into it or keep changing it, it will affect your chances of success.
3. Choosing A Name For Your Web Design Business
As a solo web designer, let’s say you decide that use your name to brand everything until you decide to include a team. Your name might cause issues.
For starters, even after you stop designing websites, clients might still contact you or flood your inbox with requests. The goal for some web designers and web developers is to step away from the design or coding side of the business and only manage the business.
After all, what’s the purpose of running a business if you are going to do most of the tasks yourself? Therefore, you would prefer your company’s name to be distinct from yours.
So, consider these points when choosing a name for your business.
- Easy to remember.
- Easy to pronounce.
- It must be catchy.
When deciding on a business name, ensure that the domain is available. Suppose you decide to name your business ABC.
In that case, you must have relevant domain names available. For example, abc.com, ABC. tech, abc.net, or abc.org. Remember, the URL must be search engine optimization friendly.
4. Determine Legal Requirements
After deciding on the business name, it is time to make your business name official. What do we mean by official? You must register it with the relevant authorities.
For instance, if you want to set up your business as a company, it must be registered with Companies House in the UK or the Secretary of the State’s Office or Business Bureau in the US. In other words, the requirements vary from place to place.
According to the laws of your nation or state, decide, if your business will be a limited liability company, sole proprietorship, or take on any other form.
Employing a tax expert who can offer advice and services is a clever idea because business taxes can be complicated.
It will help easily keep track of business expenses and export the required data when tax season comes around. Make sure to open a business bank account so that you can track your company’s income and expenses.
5. Business Location
Another thing that you must consider when setting up a web design business is the location. Due to the pandemic, remote working or a hybrid model has become a norm.
So, you could allow employees to work from home or set up an office. If you plan to rent office space, you will need to look for it in commercial areas. Setting up a business on residential premises is illegal.
When renting office space, consider factors like:
- Distance from your home.
- Distance from public transport.
- Internet Connectivity
What do we mean by networking? A web design business is primarily associated with IT/Tech. If you set up a business in an area with IT/tech companies, it can provide numerous opportunities for growth and partnerships.
You never know that your next big client is in the office next to yours.
Nevertheless, we do acknowledge that renting or even buying an office space in the starting years can increase operating costs significantly.
As it is a new business, you might not be earning enough to manage the expenses. Therefore, whether to rent an office or go remote is something that you must design after analyzing your budget and other aspects.
6. What Are Your Offers?
Examine the current web design services being provided to your niche market. What are they made of? Do they only offer to build websites for a set price, or do they also include other services? You don’t need to offer every service to excel.
The goal is to differentiate your business from others without taking on any extra burden.
For instance, don’t offer eCommerce website development if you don’t have a strong grip over it.
The alternative would be to outsource eCommerce website development projects to a third party. It will help you turn a profit and establish your brand name but do keep in mind the drawbacks of a hybrid model.
Consider providing recurring income services, such as website maintenance, search engine optimization, social media marketing, hosting, or setting up a related eCommerce store. Creating an online store based on your interests translates into a business you’ll enjoy running.
Whatever your business objectives are, an e-commerce business must be guided by product and target market research.
7. Setting Up Your Portfolio
Build your web design portfolio around the aspects of web design on which you want to focus. Your website will be the face of your business, so make sure it showcases your abilities and includes information about your services, prices, and contact information.
If you have satisfied customers from your freelance days, contact them and request testimonials for your website.
Those suggestions are critical for a new business.
Contact your previous clients and request permission to feature their projects on your website. If you can’t share business names due to confidentiality, consider anonymizing them.
The problem with most service-oriented businesses is that they forget to update their portfolios. It can lead to a negative customer experience. By regularly updating the website, your target market is convinced that the business is active.
Even if you bring your previous freelance clients into your new web design business, you’ll still need a way to attract new customers. To begin building brand awareness, share your website on your personal social media channels. It would be best if you made your brand stand out from the crowd.
Another way to beat your competitors is to keep an eye on them. Maintaining an eye on your competitors’ websites and growth will inspire and motivate you to do better. Don’t forget to invest in search engine optimization.
Without it, your business cannot even scratch the market potential. You can engage a third party for search engine optimizing your website or you can assign your in-house resources to it. The choice is yours and depends on your business model.
We also stress using LinkedIn for lead generation. As a web design business is primarily B2B, LinkedIn can be quite beneficial. We recommend that you design a compelling template and then personalize it according to the client.
Do not ignore the importance of personalization in communication as it is a guaranteed way of attracting and retaining clients. You can hire an expert copywriting or lead generator for this purpose.
9. Payment Options
We recommend that you adopt numerous payment channels. For example, not every client may be willing to directly transfer money to your account. So, allow them to send payments via channels like PayPal, Payoneer, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Stripe, and others.
A prosperous web design business can be a great way to support yourself while doing what you enjoy. You’ll be well on your way to starting your business if you stick to the advice in this article.
Just keep in mind to take things slowly and enjoy the journey. You’ll be up and running and well on your way to success before you know it. Lastly, once your business is well-established, focus on diversifying. It will help you navigate unfriendly market conditions.