Web design has several related services through which you can also earn.
- Website design
- Graphic design
- Digital Marketing
- Web Development
- Mobile App Development
These are interrelated. You might get a client who needs a logo to be able to start, so you offer to design it. Every website also must be hosted somewhere. You can either also begin offering web hosting as a service or earn commission by referring clients to a web hosting company. This also applies to Graphic design; get the skill and offer the service or subcontract and earn a commission. And once the website is live, it needs to be marketed.
What skills/tools do you need to be a web designer?
The best place to start as a web designer is getting skills in HTML and CSS. It would also be helpful to get some knowledge of a programming language, such as PHP, which is commonly used in CMSes. Graphic design will also be important for manipulating the images you will be using on the website. An online tool such as canva.com can be very useful to you as a web designer. Most websites are designed using CMSs like WordPress, according to the article CMS Usage Distribution in the Top 1 Million Sites. Get skilled in WordPress because it is easy to learn, well supported with great modern themes and plugins, and very popular.
Other key soft skills you should have include creativity, imagination, patience (lots of it), and agility or flexibility.
How to start a business in Web Design
- Set up a Business website
Create a website with your company profile, detailing all the services you are going to offer under your web design business. Write down the descriptions of each service in a manner that will entice your prospective customer to contact you. Make sure to make the benefit to the customer very loud and clear, and communicate the value you are offering.
- Getting customers
Getting your first customer may be the hardest thing for you especially since you do not have a portfolio of work done. You can start with special offers that make it easier to attract a potential customer. In Kenya, word-of-mouth marketing is the best form of getting new clients. Tell all your friends, relatives and well-wishers that you are now a web designer. Out of 10 to 15 people you talk to, you are likely to get at least one new customer.
Also make use of social media to advertise. Post relevant content on a regular basis consistently. Have advertising campaigns for your website on Google Ads or Facebook/Instagram.
Post about your new business on your social media statuses as often as possible.
Once you have a steady flow of clientele, create a structure that can enable you to grow in your web design business. This includes setting up pricing packages, getting extra staff to enable you to do more within less time, approaching big companies and proposing to design their websites, increasing your marketing budget, and also expanding your geographical reach to get customers in Africa and beyond. Keep your past customers in contact because they might want to upgrade or update their website. Asking for referrals from your happy customers is also a very good way to increase your business income.
Develop other sources of income in related fields such as online marketing, web hosting and domain registration, web and mobile app development, print, and graphic design. Now that you have a base of clientele, you can always approach them with proposals for additional services.
How to Succeed as a Web Designer in Kenya
Web design can be a difficult field to make the big cash, because of competitiveness leading to poor pricing, inadequate knowledge by many of the Kenyan clientele, making it difficult for them to cooperate and even properly articulate their needs and leading to open-ended deadlines and deliverables, unwillingness by most businesses to properly invest in their online platforms and many more. You can still succeed if you take the following steps:
- Picking a niche of clientele that you will be majoring in.
For example, law firms, real estate, tours and travel, education, eCommerce, etc. By concentrating on one niche, you will be able to understand your clientele’s industry, know their problems, become an expert, and be able to assist them to also succeed and you can get more business from them. They will also refer you to other businesses within their industry, giving you more business.
- Delivering on your promises.
Ensure you can deliver what you promise your customers, whether it is yourself, your team, or contractors. This will create happy customers who will, in turn, give you referrals.
- Include testimonials.
Ask for recommendations from your existing clients and put them on your website.
- Have contracts
While flexibility is a good virtue to have as a web designer, you need to have a contract stipulating the terms of engagement, the scope of work, and timelines both for the delivery of work and payment for services rendered. This can also be in the form of a proposal, which your clients can agree to sign.
How to price your web design services
Pricing is one of the most difficult things in a business. It can mean the difference between building a sustainable business or pricing yourself out of the market.
There are different ways of pricing your services. But the best one that works for both you and your client is using pricing packages. Create product feature packages, starting from the cheapest to the most expensive, bearing in mind the competition, the value you are bringing to the client, and the long-term value of the client to your business. Each package should be clear on what is included and what is excluded. Ensure that the cheapest package enables the client to have a complete website that they can use for their business.
In Kenya Web Design prices currently range from 10k for a basic website, to over 200k. The median range is 25k for most business websites.
Web design as a business provides an awesome opportunity for anyone who either needs to make an extra income (side hustle) or to start a business. The major contributing success factor for a web design business in Kenya is how you treat your customers, whether you deliver on time, and how helpful you are in solving the clients’ problems using the website you have done for them. A happy customer means more referrals and additional future business from them.