How to Make Money Building Websites (Complete Guide)
Last Updated on February 1, 2023 by Tumto Siram
Are you already into building websites? Or maybe you're someone who's looking to delve into this area and make some extra income from it or even start a full-time business?
If you're any one of the two then, you're exactly at the right place! In this post, I'll be discussing how you can make money by building websites.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, I will receive a commission if you purchase through these links (without any additional cost to you), which helps us maintain this website.
Over the years website building has become a lucrative business, this business model was tough in the beginning, being a website builder you'd have to either know how to code or hire a coder which would blow up your entire budget, and you've yet to start making any money.
But nowadays, things have gotten a lot easier. There are multiple platforms that make it extremely easy for you to build a website without learning to code or hiring someone expensive.
These platforms give you the power to create a fully-functional website without a single line of code.
However, there's still a little bit of a learning curve you'll need to go through in order to be able to use these platforms to their full potential. But, once you're past that, it'll be a breeze!
I'll talk about the learning curve later in this post as we go through the steps you'll need to follow to start a successful website-building business.
Now, before we get started, let's have a look at some of the advantages a web designing and building business has.
Why website building is a lucrative business opportunity?
When internet marketing was in its initial stages, only big businesses could afford to have a website. This is because they were the only ones who could afford to pay for a web developer that could code a website for them.
Nowadays, things have changed dramatically and almost anyone can afford to have a website. All thanks to various platforms with drag and drop elements that allow you to create a website without learning to code or hiring someone expensive.
And, even though there are many easy website builders out there, not many people and businesses, especially small businesses have the time to learn a new skill plus going through the pain of designing and building a website on their own.
This is where you come in! You can take advantage of this opportunity and start a business that provides website design and building services to these small businesses and even to individuals that needs a personal website.
Not only is this a very lucrative business, but it's also a very fulfilling one as you'll be helping people and businesses achieve their online goals.
The most common benefit that comes with this business are:
1. You can start this venture with low cost
To get started with a web designing business you'll just need an internet connection and maybe a web designing course, this is if you're not already familiar with the platform you choose to use, which most likely you won't be.
Apart from that, you'll need to have a portfolio website of your own where you can add your portfolio to attract your potential customers with blog posts and other content.
This kind of website can cost you as little as $50 per year as per the host you choose. If you're looking forward to building it on WordPress, with hosting on Bluehost you can learn more here.
2. Can be operated from anywhere in the world
It's preferable to have a high-speed internet connection however, as long as you have a decent internet connection, you can operate this business from anywhere in the world.
This is a very important factor to consider as it gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility and you can create your own schedule and work according to it.
3. You can choose your own work hours
As mentioned in the point above, apart from giving you the ability to stick to your own schedule, another great thing about this business is that you can choose your own hours.
You can work part-time if you're already busy with some other job or even make building websites your full-time job. It's completely up to you!
4. You have the potential to make a lot of money
You won't become a millionaire overnight, but you can surely make decent money when it comes to how much money you can make with this business.
Once you get good at it and you have a few clients, you can easily make a full-time income from this business.
5. There is high demand for web designers
As I mentioned before, not many people, especially local businesses, don't have the time or patience to design and build a website on their own.
This is why there's such a high demand for web designers and builders. If you can tap into even a small fraction of this demand, you can find success in this endeavor.
So, now that we know all the reasons why building websites is a great business opportunity, let's have a look at how you can get started!
How to make money building websites
If you're already good at building and designing websites you can jump-skip the second step and continue to read from the third step onwards.
STEP 1 – Niche down your platform (Website Builder)
The first step would be to niche down the platform or the website builder you'll be using to build websites for your clients.
There are multiple website builders you can use, such as WordPress, Strikingly, Wix, Shopify and more.
The best one for your business would be the one you're already familiar with as you won't have to spend time and money learning a new platform.
But If you're starting from scratch, I'd recommend you to look for some specific points before choosing one for your business:
- Whether the content management system (Website Builder) has enough users around the world.
- How flexible is the builder in terms of design and functionality? For example, if you want to add an eCommerce store to a website built on WordPress, you'll need to install a plugin like WooCommerce. Whereas, if you're using Shopify, it's easier because Shopify is built for eCommerce itself.
- How cheap is the platform in terms of hosting and other costs? Will your targeted customers be ready to invest in the platform you're building a website with?
- If the backend of the platform is easy to use for non-technical users. This is very important as you don't want your clients to be struggling with managing their own website.
I recommend you to do your own research before choosing a platform but if you want a quick recommendation, I'll either go for WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace or Wix.
STEP 2 – Learn how to make the website
Now the second step would be to start learning how to design and build websites. If you're already familiar with a platform, then you can start learning by following some online tutorials specific to that platform.
YouTube is a great source to find step-by-step tutorials for almost anything. But, if you're starting from scratch, I would recommend you to take an online course which will teach you the basics of web design and development.
You can find the cheapest courses at Udemy. And Fiverr learn can be great if you want a detailed course.
Once you're done with the course, it's time to put your knowledge to the test and start building websites for your clients!
STEP 3 – Build a portfolio of sites you’ve created
The third and most important step would be to start building a portfolio of websites that you've designed and developed.
When you start your business, you won't have any previous work to show to your potential clients. This is why it's important that you start working on your portfolio as soon as possible.
A great way to do this would be to find some local businesses who are in need of a new website and offer to design one for them at a discounted rate or maybe even free in exchange for a testimony for your own website.
This will not only give you some real-world experience but will also help you build a strong portfolio to show off to your future clients.
STEP 4 – Create a business blog
The fourth step would be to create a business blog and start writing articles related to web design, development, and marketing.
This will not only help you attract new clients but will also allow you to position yourself as an expert in your field.
One great thing about starting a blog is that with good content you might rank for some keywords in Google and get organic traffic to your website which can lead to new clients.
If you're not familiar with blogging, I would recommend you to read this guide on how to write great blog posts. Additionally, you can read my other articles under the category “Blogging” to learn more about this topic.
You can also sign up for my newsletter to receive amazing blogging tips and resources straight to your inbox!
STEP 5 – Start finding clients
The fifth and final step would be to start finding clients who are in need of your web design and development services.
There are a number of ways to find new clients, some of the most common methods include online directories, word-of-mouth referrals, and online platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr.
There are also a number of offline methods such as networking at local business events, attending trade shows, and cold-calling potential clients.
The most important thing is to get creative and think outside the box when it comes to finding new clients. The more methods you try, the better your chances of success will be.
Let's have a look at some steps you can use to find clients…
How to find clients for your web designing business?
There are many ways to promote your web designing business. The most common and probably the most effective way is to find clients online using different strategies. Some of them are:
1. Social media marketing
One of the fastest ways to promote your business as a web designer would be to start using social media platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram to market your services.
You can create a business page on these platforms and start sharing your work, articles from your blog, and anything else that might be of interest to your potential clients.
While starting out, social media marketing can be a daunting task if you're trying to build an audience organically.
To make it a bit easier you can use a tool like Canva to design as well as schedule your posts. (Learn more about Canva here).
2. Blog (Search Engine Optimization)
Just like I mentioned earlier, having your own business website containing your portfolio of work and some testimonials can help attract new clients.
Additionally, by adding a web design business blog to your website, you can start ranking for some keywords in Google and other search engines which can help drive organic traffic to your site and help you get more clients.
The other benefits of creating a blog are that with decent web traffic you can make money online with different monetization options later on with things like Google Adsense, Ezoic, and affiliate marketing.
3. Landing pages (Lead generation)
A landing page can be a great way to collect leads for your online business. You can add a link to your landing page on your social media profiles and drive traffic to it.
As far as the landing page itself, you can easily create one using your online website builder platform or WordPress itself.
But to collect, store and automate your email marketing you will need an email marketing software like GetResponse or AWeber.
Learn more about building an email list in this article.
4. Freelance marketplaces
Another great way to get clients for your work would be to join some of the popular freelance marketplaces. These marketplace places make it easier to collect payments and also help with dispute resolution in case of any problem.
The most popular freelance marketplaces are:
- Fiverr – Fiver is one of the most popular freelance websites with a large number of different categories to choose from. You can sign up as a seller and start offering your services to potential buyers.
- Upwork – Upwork is another platform that allows businesses to find and hire freelancers for different projects. You can create a profile and start bidding on projects that you're interested in.
- PeoplePerHour – Just like Upwork, PeoplePerHour is another platform where businesses can find and hire freelancers.
- Freelancer – Freelancer is another very popular freelancing platform with a wide range of projects to choose from.
- Guru – Guru is a freelancing platform that's been around for a while and has a good reputation in the industry.
- 99designs – 99designs is a platform for graphic designers but they also have a section for web designers where you can find some good projects.
You can join one of these platforms and build a good portfolio of work to attract new clients.
5. Paid Ads
If you're on a good budget and are ready to invest to attract some quick leads and clients, paid advertisements online can be a great option.
The most popular platforms for running paid ads are Google Adwords and Facebook Ads (Now Meta Ads). With these platforms, you can target potential clients based on their location, interests, and other factors.
Google Ads allows you to run text ads as well as display ads on millions of websites across the web.
Facebook Ads, on the other hand, allow you to target people based on their interests, demographics, and even behaviours.
Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads can be very effective in finding new clients for your web design business but they can also be quite expensive if you're not careful.
Referral marketing is one of the fastest ways to get clients quick. It's been around for so long. If you're ready to give a cut of your income to the person who refers a client to you, then you can use this method.
You can ask your current clients to refer you to their friends or business associates. You can also offer them a referral fee for each new client that they bring in. Just like an affiliate program.
Another way to get referrals is to join some local business networking groups. You can meet new people there and get introduced to potential new clients.
7. Cold Emailing (Direct outreach)
As a beginner, you can't leave out cold emailing or direct outreach. I personally don't like doing it but it can be very effective in getting new clients.
You can search for potential clients online and then email them directly with your sales pitch.
The key to cold emailing is to make sure that your email is relevant and interesting to the potential client. You don't want to spam them with a generic sales message.
Additional tip – Make money selling new websites
There's an additional way you can make money as a web designer apart from building and designing websites on demand, which is by selling pre-built websites.
It's a very common thing in the blogging world where people build niche sites monetize them and sell them later for some profit but it takes a long and includes much work.
Instead of that, you can build niche-based unique e-commerce websites on WordPress or Shopify and sell those sites as starter sites on marketplaces like Flippa.
If you are into building Shopify starter sites then Exchange Marketplace by Shopify itself can be a great option.
Pro Tip: One amazing thing with Shopify is that you can join their “Partner Program” which lets you build and design sites for your clients, and in return, you get a good 20% recurring commission from your client's monthly subscription.
What strategies do I have to increase my income?
Being a web designer doesn't mean that you only get paid when you create websites for your clients. There are lots of additional ways to maximize your earnings.
1. Offering Maintenance & Updates
As a web designer, you can also offer maintenance and updates services to your clients. This can be a great way to earn some recurring revenue from your clients.
You can offer to update their website on a monthly basis or even on a per-update basis. The key is to make sure that you're providing a valuable service that your clients are happy to pay for.
2. Offering Website Hosting
There are lots of web hosting companies out there that offer reseller hosting plans. This means that you can offer hosting services to your clients on the server you've purchased.
This can be a great way to earn some additional income as you can mark up the hosting fees and make a good profit.
It's also a valuable service that your clients will appreciate as it will save them the hassle of finding their own hosting provider.
2. Offering extra services and bundles
As a web designer, you can offer extra services like SEO, copywriting, and social media marketing to your clients. This can help you earn more money as you can charge more for these services.
You can also offer bundles of these services to your clients. This can be a great way to increase your income as you can offer a discount for buying the bundle.
It's also a great way to upsell your clients on additional services that they may need.
3. Creating and Selling Themes & Templates
If you're good at web design, and with some effort to learn things like CSS and Html, you can create themes and templates to sell.
This can be a great way to earn some additional income as you can create these once and then sell them multiple times.
It's also a great way to get your name out there as a web designer as potential clients will see your work and may be interested in hiring you for their own projects.
4. Creating and Selling Stock Photos & Videos
If you're good at photography or videography, you can create stock photos and videos to sell. There are lots of websites that offer stock photos and videos, and you can earn a commission for each sale.
Although this can add a burden on your work if you manage to do it efficiently, this can be a great way to earn some additional income.
5. Creating and Selling Plugins & Add-ons
Another way to earn some additional income is by creating and selling plugins and add-ons. This one might not be for everyone as it requires some coding knowledge.
But if you're familiar with coding, you can create plugins and add-ons to sell. Just like themes and templates, with plugins and add-ons to you just have to create it once and sell it over and over.
6. Joining affiliate programs
There are lots of web hosting companies and even website add-on providers that offer attractive commissions for each sign-up you generate. This is called affiliate marketing and can be a great option to increase your earning potential.
All you need to do is sign up for the affiliate program and then promote their services on your website or blog. When someone clicks on the link and signs up, you'll earn a commission.
You can also encourage your clients to use these services so that you can earn a commission for each sale. This is a great way to add some additional income without much effort.
Just make sure that you don't violate any terms and conditions your affiliate program provider has.
Other additional things you can do are:
7. Be professional
This one might not be an obvious way to earn additional income, but it's important nonetheless.
As a web designer, you need to be professional in your dealings with clients. This means meeting deadlines, being responsive to their inquiries, and always ensuring the satisfaction of the customers.
If you can do this, you're more likely to get repeat business from your clients. And as we all know, repeat business is the best kind of business.
8. Delivering more than expected
This goes hand in hand with being professional. If you can deliver more than what your clients expect, you're sure to win their repeat business.
This could be in the form of delivering the project ahead of schedule, adding additional features that they weren't expecting, or just going above and beyond in general.
Whatever you do, just make sure that your clients are always happy with the end result. If you can do this, you're sure to earn some great repeat business.
9. Structuring pricing the right way
Last but not the least, you need to make sure that you're structuring your pricing the right way. If not done the right way it might hurt your business in the long run.
As a general rule, you should always charge an hourly rate for your services. This is because it gives you the most flexibility and allows you to adjust your prices based on the project scope.
Additionally, you should always make sure that your prices are in line with the market rates. This way you can ensure that you're not overcharging or undercharging for your services.
If you follow these tips, you're sure to earn some great additional income from your web design business. Always deliver quality work and be professional in your dealings with clients.
What niche should you choose for your web design service?
When you're just starting out at building websites or a business, it would be best to niche down your services as I've mentioned earlier in the first step you should take while trying to start making money building websites.
But what if you niche down your services further in this business? Well, it can even more beneficial to you in the long run.
This is because you can become an expert in a certain niche and be known for that. Additionally, it'll be much easier to market your services to a specific group of people.
So what niches should you choose for your web design business? Let's have a look at some top niches in demand.
1. Sites for lead generation (Landing pages)
Landing pages to create leads for businesses is one of the most popular niches in web design right now.
This is because they're essential for businesses to generate leads and increase sales. If you can create high-converting landing pages, you're sure to be in demand.
2. E-commerce Stores on Shopify
Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms and businesses are always in need of good Shopify stores.
If you're good at creating conversion-optimized Shopify stores, you're sure to be in demand. Additionally, it's a great niche to get into as it's typically cheaper to host an eCommerce store.
3. Custom WordPress sites
You can offer services that create custom WordPress sites for businesses. This is a great niche because WordPress is one of the most popular site builders and there's always a demand for custom sites.
Additionally, it's a relatively easy platform to build sites on so you can charge a premium for your services.
4. Websites Based on Squarespace and Wix
Squarespace and Wix are two popular site builders that businesses use to create websites. If you're good at creating sites on either of these platforms, you're sure to be in demand.
You can also pitch your services around this website to small businesses as these website builders come with cheap hosting plans and don't require much maintenance.
Apart from the two, there are more website builders that are on the rise that you can use to pitch to your clients for. One such website builder is Strikingly which has easy-to-use templates, drag and drop features and doesn't require much technical expertise.
So these are some of the top niches in web design that you can choose from. Just remember to always be on the lookout for new trends and technologies so that you can stay ahead of the curve.
So there you have it – Essential tips on how to make money building websites for businesses and individuals.
Starting a website builder business can be a great way to make money online, but in order to be successful, you need to niche down your platform, learn how to make the website, and build a portfolio of sites you’ve created.
Just so that you can show your work and expertise to your website visitors and let them know your proven track record.
Apart from that I really recommend you to start a business blog which can surely increase your chances of finding more clients.
Lastly, I hope you enjoyed reading this post and if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. I’ll be happy to help you out.
Thank you for reading!