5 Success Tips for Freelance Web Designers

Working as a freelance web-designer is one of the most satisfying things you can do. You get to be creative and still be your own boss. Many freelance web designers love their job so much they couldn’t imagine going back to being an employee.

As good as it sounds, the freelance web design market is tough, and the competition is plenty. In today’s economical situation, it is more crucial than ever that your website is optimized to the fullest. To be successful as a freelance web designer you need people to find your site and, once they arrive, you want them to find the site appealing. If you can achieve this, you’ll have a greater chance of being contacted for new jobs and being successful as a freelancer.

In this article we’ll give you five tips on how to improve your website and consequently become more successful as a freelance web-designer. Even though it’s a tough business, it’s possible for you to stand out from the crowd by just tweaking your website a bit. Here are 5 tips to help you do just that:

Work with a blog

Create a WordPress BlogIt’s probably a good idea to have a blog connected to your freelance business. The reason for this is that it’s an opportunity for you to become more personal with your visitors. A blog is also very easy to update and provides a promotional platform that gives you the chance to become extremely popular. Everyone is blogging nowadays — from politicians to your supermarket salesman/woman. You should be no exception. The blog could either be implemented on your website or functional on its own. WordPress is one of the most popular online publishing systems and with it you’ll get a high-performance tool that can be set up and running in no time.

Learn more about SEO

World Wide WebIf you want to hold the world in your hands, you’ll have to apply SEO to your website. As you already know, a high ranking on search engines is a must-have in order to be truly successful. This is even more true in the freelance business as you probably have a limited budget and pitching your ideas to various companies can be very time time-consuming. If you can get the customers to come to you, it won’t be as much of a hassle. So, learn as much as you possibly can about SEO and get started with it on your site/blog right away.

Pick the right typography

Typography Once you can get your potential customers to visit your site, it’s time to work on your impression. The way you present yourself and your business is crucial. One way to create a “special feeling” about your site is to find typography that represents who you are. One great example is The New Yorker. They’ve always used very specific typography, and it’s now become part of their brand. Succeed in this and people will always have certain connections to your business when seeing your chosen typography.

Be careful with the details

Watch the DetailsThis is perhaps something that is even more important when it comes to the product you deliver to your clients, but it’s almost just as important when creating your own site. Being meticulous can take a site from just okay to brilliant. A “pretty ok” site won’t get you any clients. Take a look at your site and start to think critically — what are some different ways you could improve the design of your site? Every single detail should be carefully crafted. If, for example, you are going to use images on your site — make sure they’re optimized for the web and for your design. Most brilliant websites come from a lot of attention to detail.

Make your site easily accessible

This is not easy
Even as a savvy web-designer, you need to think about accessibility and be careful not to over-design your site. Always consider usability when creating your websites. It doesn’t matter how many visitors you get to your site if they don’t understand how to use it. This is unfortunately a mistake that many web-designers make, and it frequently has to do with egos. Web-designers, as almost any other professional, like to show off how good they are — and it sometimes can become a disaster. It’s almost always better to keep things simple. Navigation should be easy, titles understandable and well-related to the topic, and why not add a search box? Easy is good.

What’s your tip?

Have you learned what it takes to become successful? Do you want to share your tips for becoming successful as a freelance web designer?

Let’s discuss in the comments.

Comments

  1. says

    Having a blog is essential for almost every type of business, IMHO.

    Beside the promotional aspects, it gives you the opportunity to express thoughts and discuss your views with other experts in your field, by commenting their blogs and extending the conversation on yours.

  2. says

    Also, a designer has to keep up on new trends, not only in design/style, but in socializing as well. My last jobs all had to do with Twitter and Joomla, which was unforeseeable a couple years ago.

  3. says

    I agree and blog is highly essential. One other thing I would like to note is using Press Releases — sending them out when ‘you’ as a web designer lands a new client and/or finalizes a project. Also posting that within your blog helps gain further traction.

  4. says

    I agree with the points in the post – it seems a blog or some sort of social media component to a business is almost as integral as a website. It helps your customers and visitors learn more about who you are and, more importantly, can convince them to work with you!

  5. says

    These five tips are a good idea for learners, however freelance website design is a very popular market, unless you have the social network to back yourself up you will most likely not succeed.

    With the basics of SEO it will not be enough to top the search engines with standard keywords like ‘website design’, as this brings tens of millions of results. You will also need to take into consideration a very important SEO factor called link building. This is probably the most important part of obtaining a successful website, you can choose all the best keywords you want, but without recognition from other successful sites, your site will loose in the SEO race, compared to those with high pagerank and many many quality links directing to them.

  6. says

    When it comes to networking with other web designers/creatives and keeping up with industry trends twitter is a better way to go than blogging. Blogging has it’s place, but it requires more investment than twitter so I’d recommend trying twitter first before going the blog route.

  7. says

    The post and tips themselves are wise and astute, but the comic strip? Genius! (And, even if you didn’t draw it yourself, you get credit for spotting its genius and sharing it with the rest of us.)

  8. says

    Being able to offer some strategic suggestions to small business clients is helpful. Also, some basic copywriting skills are helpful. The success of the site reflects on you, even if the problem is their sloppy content.

  9. says

    Yes, learn as much optimization as possible! A great way to start off is optimizing from “Local” standpoint. Focus your target market and optimize for your city or state. I agree with a blog, but learn how to use it to your advantage. Link building is good too. At least try to do it once a day. It doesn’t take long… if you find good directories (I try to submit to related, PR4 or higher directories), or other sites.

    Start networking, and not just with other designers. Connect with other business minded people. A good place to join I think would be LinkedIn, and join some groups…local ones are good.

    Another way of keeping up success is keeping a flow of residual income. For web designers I know ThemeForest could be an ideal candidate.

  10. says

    Thanks for the great tips.

    I’m a 22 years old Belgian and I’m really thinking to slowly work for myself. I’m actually working as a consultant in Business Intelligence, and I like my job, but I love other thinks I could do as freelancer.

    I have lot’s of people asking me to develop websites. Thanks to FreelanceFolder that highlight me in my futures decisions.

    Samuel

  11. says

    I’ve been doing freelance web design for 10 years this year, so I have quite a few tips for you :)

    A blog….honestly, I’ve never had enough time to maintain a blog with any frequency. And I think it looks worse to have a blog that’s never updated than to just have one up there so you can say you have one. Instead, I use Twitter. I have plenty of time for that, I can follow (and hopefully have them follow me) people who would need my services (marketers, agencies, biz owners).

    Press releases … very good idea. Setup a template, find a few places you can send them for release, or at very least simply post them on your website. Your local business journal also has a section called “the Deal Report” where you can submit a deal/gig you just landed. That works best if one or both of you in the deal have a recognizable name.

    Networking… DO IT! It’s THE best way to form relationships and get referrals for work. Try to find smaller groups so you don’t get lost in the crowd. I find that sticking local works best for me, so I do local women’s groups, local business groups, etc. Don’t push your card on everyone, but instead focus on learning who they are, ask about their business. Have your ‘elevator speech’ ready to tell them about, but don’t make it seem like you’re only there to gain work. If you work on your relationships with people first, they will naturally think of you when they need work done.

    Keep Learning – I know time is tight, but take the time to read articles, watch videos, do tutorials, and even take a class. But keep up with the new trends, software, techniques and technologies, or you’ll be left behind.

    Market Yourself – If you’re a designer, then design some kick-a** marketing materials and get them out there. If there is a display table at a networking event, design some flyers/brochures/postcard to leave behind. Send out an email campaign quarterly to tel of some new projects, including an article on something that will be beneficial to your clients. you want to keep yourself in the forefront of their mind so when they need a project done, they think of you.

    Hire an accountant! It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I feel more secure and it has freed up my time to do design instead of taxes!

    I think that’s enough for now :) Freelance designing is a GREAT job, if you can get it started and keep up the momentum for getting and doing great work.

  12. Edie says

    Great Tips! I’ve understood having a blog is an essential part. Also like your accessible description and structure. Thanks! /Edie

  13. Dave says

    Thank you very much for these tips! As a newbie in the business I appreciate basic tips that might be obvious for all of you that’s been working as a freelancer for years. I also have to thank all of you guys commenting with some great tips. I’ve understood that networking is crucial for success and I will for sure do my best… Anyways… Thanks!

  14. says

    Know and understand the audience as well as how you think they may be accessing the site.

    A flashing hip site may be perfect for a teen crowd, but a real turn off if your goal is to reach the more mature user.

    If the site has a more rural audience, one that most of those who may be using it is still using a dial-up internet connection, large graphics and other items that are quick loading on broadband is not good.

  15. says

    Always learning and listening clients, I mind in usabillity for interface of website, because our design somtime unmatching with clients, like colors, typo, navigation position…..and always make mockup and discuss with clients before.

  16. says

    I don’t think high budget is required to be a successful freelancer.
    If the design is appealing and the information in your website provides true value to the customers any site will become popular. Of course networking is also very important.

  17. says

    WordPress is always good choice to start blogging about your expertise. And it has SEO friendly structure and easy to use. One more thing I found here is one need to have basic understanding with SEO even he/she is developer or artist to get online success.

  18. April says

    Hi. Alicia. I’ve heard so much about this 30×500 class. It received a lot of recommendation about it on Twitter.
    I checked the website and the current post about the class really had me thinking that I should enroll. This is the kind of thing that I really need these days. I have so many ideas that I just don’t know where and how to start. I will tell you more once I did enroll.

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