Steps to Getting Started in the Web Design World
Build your own website
To get started, you need to publicise what you are doing and that starts with your own website. Many potential customers will search for their future web designer by doing a local search so you want to build yourself a good website and make sure that it appears on the top of the search results. This alone can get you plenty of customers, if you are on the top of the results for a popular area!
Buy some hosting
Once you are confident that the first contracts should be on the way then you need to consider how you will host the websites. For any initial free sites, you could just point the owners to a suitable website and they can pay for the hosting themselves. But on the whole, there are great benefits to buying a reseller’s hosting package and being able to use this for hosting the websites that you build, if nothing else, in a year’s time you can start to charge customers for a second year’s hosting!
Where’s your portfolio?
When you first start out on your new chosen career path, the hardest part is showing potential customers that you can come up with the goods. And for this, you need a portfolio. But, when you are trying to get those first half a dozen customers, how do you show them a portfolio of websites as a demonstration of your work?
This is the hard part and probably about the hardest part of setting up. If you have worked for someone else, you could show the websites you have worked on there, but this is cheating if they were not fully built by you. So you need to look at alternatives.
Websites, for free?
The first solution is to build websites for free. Approach a local charity or two, maybe a suitable community organisation or a small business and offer to build them a website at your cost. This way you have a few websites to show off when you start to approach paying customers and the recipients of the free sites might just refer you to customers. The problem is, sometimes these referrals expect the sites for free!
The other solution would be to build a collection of sample websites that you can show to customers. Base the samples around what you would produce for the customer and these might just grab their interest and get the contract for the work.
Advertising your services
Once this is done you need to start advertising your services. Local adverts, PPC advertising, SEO and other methods are useful, plus there are plenty of websites in which you can buy web design leads or sign up as a freelancer to find some small tasks.