If you want to pursue either web development or a web design career, then there are many important things that you need to consider. It is very helpful to know use details as how much these jobs pay, what their hours are, and what will be expected from you. If you decide to freelance, then you will need to learn how to effectively manage your finances and business as well.
Let’s take a closer look at the important aspects that are involved to help you get your career off to a good start.
Where to Begin
As a professional web designer, there are many different routes you can take. Those include graphics, programming, administration, or basic design. Some career paths are specialties while others are more general in nature.
You also can either work for a corporation or become a freelancer. It isn’t all fun and games being a webmaster. It also isn’t completely technical or creative.
Finally, getting some relevant education or certifications is an excellent way to ensure you are well-prepared. It is very important to keep in mind that the internet is constantly changing. If you don’t like having to keep up with all of the greatest and latest things, and having to educate yourself continuously, then this may not be the best career field for you.
How To Find Web Design Work
No matter what type of field you happen to be in, it can be hard to find a job. The web design field is especially challenging since so many people are interested in it.
When they are first getting started, many programmers and designers decide to work for someone else. That can be a smart move, even if you ultimately want to work as a freelancer or own your own firm. You can experience on the job that will give you a good feel for what the business is like, help you learn all of the tricks of the trade through hands-on experience, and build up your professional network.
When you are looking through job postings, web work can be found under various job titles. They include digital developer, layout artist, graphic designers, program manager, product manager, information architect, copyeditor, editor, copywriter, writer, or producer. There are, of course, also the job titles of web programmer and web designer.
Look into the job listings more deeply to find what employers are looking for. If your skills match up, then you might be a good fit for the job position.
You will need a great CV and portfolio to make you stand out. Read our executive resume writing guide to get you started.
You Want to be a Freelancer?
If corporate life doesn’t appeal to you, then maybe the best thing for you is freelance web design work. However, it is very important to know that means you must create your own business. You will have more tasks and responsibility when you have this type of business.
It can also be a good idea for you to take some business classes. For example, all businesses start out with having a good business plan. That can help guide you through the goals, operations, structures and finances that you will need to run your company successfully.
You also will want to get professional advice on taxes and finances. Many people incorporate their one-person companies and get a limited liability corporation (LLC) set up to help with these issues. Consult with an accountant or business financial adviser to help determine the best business structure for you and your situation.
Within your business, you also will need to do some research on pricing and markets. Some designers offer their services in their local market and others find a niche where they can offer their services to a national or international audience.
The key to either one of these approaches is your marketing plan. It should include a great portfolio of your past work. You also must be able to get out and directly sell your services to prospective clients.
Legal and Pricing Concerns
It is important for freelance web designers to have a written contract for every job and client they work with. That helps to clarify the work and the amount clients agree to pay for your services. It is absolutely critical to have a written agreement and this fact cannot be stressed enough. Many designers will tell you it can be very hard to collect money from some clients after putting in long hours to get their jobs completed.
When it comes to who much you should charge for your web design or development services, that can be a hard question to answer since it involves many different things. You will have to do extensive research in order to determine competitive rates for services you are offering to your target audience. However, you won’t be able to get any jobs until you understand how to write an effective proposal that grabs the attention of prospective clients.
As you start working on projects, you will start understanding some of the other legalities that are associated with building websites. These include concerns with copyright and external links that are important to all online producers and publishers. It is essential to have a good understanding of these issues in order to protect yourself and do whatever you can to stay in compliance with the law.
Web Promotion and Administration
The online world is very competitive and requires you to stay current on best practices and the latest trends. Your services involve offering website administration and marketing to your clients, among other things. That is a bit more tedious than programming and designing, but they are related and necessary.
Search engine optimization (SEO) usually drives website traffic. When building websites and maintaining them, it is critical to have a good understanding of the current SEO trends. Your client’s websites won’t be successful without this.
Web administration involves finding hosting for a website and over time maintaining the site. Many clients don’t want to have to learn these things, so they rely on you to take care of these things for them. It isn’t an enjoyable task, but it is an essential aspect of many successful web designer businesses.