Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The different areas of web design include web graphic design; interface design; authoring, including standardised code and proprietary software; user experience design; and search engine optimization. Often times many individuals will work in teams covering different aspects of the design process, although some designers will cover them all.
The term web design is normally used to describe the design process relating to the front-end (client side) design of a website including writing mark up. Web design partially overlaps with web engineering in the broader scope of web development.
Web designers are expected to have an awareness of usability and if their role involves creating mark-up then they are also expected to be up to date with web accessibility guidelines. Although web design has a fairly recent history, it can be linked to other areas such as graphic design.
However web design can also be seen from a technological standpoint. It has become a large part of people’s everyday lives. It is hard to imagine the Internet without animated graphics, different styles of typography, background and music.
23 Steps to Starting a Web Design Business at Home With No Experience
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
- 7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
- 8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
- 9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Write a Business Plan
- 14. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis
- 15. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 16. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 17. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 18. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
- 19. Develop an Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 20. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
- 21. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
Due to the proliferation of internet connections, company websites have become an increasingly important opportunity to reach customers for small and large businesses alike. As a result, the Web Design Services industry has experienced solid growth over the past five years.
Moreover, as consumers increasingly access digital content from their smartphones and tablets, industry operators have experienced strong demand for mobile-optimized website designs. However, new platforms that enable people with limited experience to design and maintain their own websites have constrained the industry’s growth.
Companies in this industry provide an assortment of web design activities including web graphic design; user experience design; interface design; search engine optimization; and related aspects of code-writing.
Web design services incorporate a variety of coding languages. While the industry’s services include those dedicated to mobile web design, it does not include companies that build native applications or manage a client’s online retail operations.
Interesting Statistics About the Industry
Some internet gurus estimate that revenue for the Web Design Services industry has increased at an annualized rate of 2.7% to $20.1 billion in the five years to 2013, including growth of 4.5% in 2013. “Industry revenue fell 2.5% in 2009 as clients reduced spending and price competition prevailed in response to the recession.
The industry, however, has benefited from several trends throughout the past five years, causing industry growth to rebound faster than most industries after the recession.
The Web Design Services industry has a low level of market share concentration. While large multi-service agencies operate in the industry, revenue is also spread among thousands of small firms and non-employers. No single web design firm accounts for more than 5.0% of total industry revenue. Non-employers make up the majority of industry enterprises.
While the web design industry is growing, it is becoming over-saturated, as there are many persons who are becoming web designers due to the usefulness in this century.
The major factors and incentives which endear people to this industry is the fact that it is in vogue in the world today, and its usefulness cannot be over-emphasized, therefore anybody who wishes to become professional in all aspects of it, and become relevant in any field in the world today will be prompted to go into the web design industry.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who need the services of web designers cuts across the public sector, the organized private sector, households, communities and people of different class and from all walks of life. Below is a list of the people and organizations that need the services of web design industries;
- The public sector (public facilities et al)
- Organized private sector (Corporate organizations)
- Businessmen and Businesswomen
- University Campuses and Schools
- Event Planners
- Estates and Communities
- Religious Canters
- Sport Organizations etc.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
When it comes to starting a web design company, there are a couple of niche ideas within the industry that an entrepreneur can choose from. Aside from the existing niches in the web design industry, an entrepreneur who is creative can carve a niche for himself / herself.
Here are some niches/areas that a web design company can be specialized in;
- Designing web sites that turn a ‘boring’ business into an exciting one
- Designing movie posters
- Find your niche in designing concert posters
- Designing microsites
- Designing portfolio sites
- Designing landing pages
- Working exclusively with Photographers
- Working exclusively with other designers
- Working exclusively with Online businesses
- Working exclusively with Brick and Mortar Businesses
- Targeting companies that have no well-established brand
- Targeting companies that have a rich brand history
- Focusing on selling word press templates
- Focusing on selling HTML templates
- Focusing on selling stock logos
- Focusing on selling branding strategies
- Focusing on selling style guides
- Focusing on selling CSS stylesheets
- Specializing in HTML5 web sites
- Specializing in Flash web sites
- Specializing in Jquery-rich sites
- Specializing in high-traffic design
- Specializing in usability design
- Specializing in logo design
- Specializing in print design
- Specializing in business card design
- Blogging about where designers can find inspiration
- Blogging about your own design projects
- Blogging about freelance design
- Blogging about printing techniques
- Blogging exclusively about print design
- Blogging exclusively about web design
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
You can hardly talk about any industry, in which there are no well-known brands that have made it big in the industry. The web design industry which is the latest business of the century is also not an exception
Here are some of the leading web design companies:
- Big drop
- Blue fountain media
- Webpage FX
- Straight North
- Lounge Lizard
- Dot Com Weavers
- Lead to conversion
- Epage city, Inc.
- Taoti Creative
- MPC Studios
- Ideawork studios
- Jordan Crown
- Backbone Technology
The Level of Competition in the Web Design Industry
Surviving in the business world as a web design industry requires more than, your expertise, knowing how to deliver standard web designs but also how to network with key people that matters; decision makers that can decide who will get a web design contract.
Without a shadow of doubt, there are loads of big time investors, that have a stake in the web design industry; but one thing is certain, there is room big enough to accommodate both the big web design companies and the small web design companies. What smaller web design companies need to do to survive in the industry is to concentrate on providing web design services to households, event planners, estates, communities, schools, hospitals and hotels et al before bidding for big web design contracts from corporations and government agencies.
- Economic Analysis
Starting a web design company is not like starting a mom and pop business in a street corner in down town Chicago, it is indeed a serious business hence critical economic analysis must be conducted to ensure that the risks and other threats associated with starting a business from the scratch or investing in a business idea are well taken care of.
If you are considering starting a web design business in the united states, your concern should not be restricted to just acquiring an office facility and equipping the facility or hiring the best hands in the industry, you should also be concerned on how to attract clients and secure mouthwatering web design contracts.
On the average, setting up and running a web design business in the United States can be cost effective simply because you don’t have to maintain a large workforce when you don’t have a web design to execute. With key good company’s profile, highly trained, highly qualified and highly experienced staff members in your team, you won’t have to struggle much to win web design contracts when you submit your bids.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Although there is the possibility of buying a franchise from a successful web design company or even partnering with a big security company if you are considering owning an investment in the security industry.
One thing is certain, people are motivated to start a business based on various factors and incentives. If you are looking towards building a business that you intend controlling, a business brand that you hope to one day transfer ownership to your children and perhaps also sell franchise in future, then starting from the scratch should be your best bet. But if you only interested in making money and multiplying your wealth, then you may as well buy the franchise of a successful web design company that is willing to sell its franchise.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Generally in the private security industry, both the already established web design companies and start – up web design companies are subject to threat and challenges from government policies, global economic downturn which usually affects spending and unforeseen natural disasters (disasters that may cause setback).
Another threat that you are likely going to face when you start your own web design company is the proliferation of the business and the fact that there are many persons who are willing to do some jobs for paltry sums.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
No doubt starting a web design company is indeed a serious business which is why the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business to can grow. choosing a legal entity for a business such as a web design company is some worth straightforward especially if you decided to grow the business big.
When it comes to choosing a legal entity for your web design company you have the option of choosing from a general partnership, a limited partnership, an LLC, a “C” corporation, or a “S” corporation. It is important to clearly state that these different forms of legal structure for business has its own advantages and disadvantages; which is why you must weigh your options properly before making your choice on the legal structure to build your private security outfit on.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your web design company; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and tax issues.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your private security company, then you will agree that Limited Liability Company; an LLC is the most suitable. You can start your web design company as a limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or even a ‘S’ corporations especially when you have the plans of going public.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will afford you the opportunity to grow your web design company so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, stock market, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company; you will enjoy flexibility in ownership and in your management structures as well.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
When it comes to choosing a name for your web design company, there are no hard and fast rules to follow. This is so because web design companies are not like other business who hopes that their names can help them attract passers-by who may just walk in to want to do business with them; there is no rule of thumb.
Here are some catchy business name ideas you can choose for your private security company;
- Gabby web solutions
- Web design 360
- All for the Webs
- Smithmania designs
- Web designs for all etc.
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and of course in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policies that is required by the industry you want to operate from. Besides, the nature of the web design industry requires that you have the proper insurance cover in place or else you will be forced out of business if anything goes wrong with the web design contract you are handling.
So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best insurance policies for your web design company; it is their duty to help you assess the risks involved in the type of web design business you intend running and then advice you accordingly.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own web design company in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Risk Insurance
- Payment protection insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own web design company, then you should consider filing for intellectual property protection. Filing for intellectual property protection for a web design company goes beyond protecting your company’s logo and other documents, but also protecting your software applications and of course the name of your company.
This must be done, because web design is a business with a lot of intellectuality in it, it is thus necessary to ensure that you protect the intellectual trademark of your web design company.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
The web design industry is one of the industries that are highly regulated because of its applications in many disciplines in the society. It is for this reason that if you are looking towards beginning a web design company, then you should acquire international web design certifications; it will give you edge amongst your competitors.
The truth is that, the more relevant web design certifications that you and your team have, the easier it is for you to convince people to patronize your services. Here are some professional certifications that you or your key staff should look towards acquiring;
- Certified Web Designer Apprentice (CWDSA-apprentice)
- Certified Web Designer Associate (CWDSA)
- Certified Professional Web Designer (CPWDS)
- Certified Web Consultant (CWCSB)
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
In The United States of America and of course all over the world, the web design industry is not an industry that must be joked with. Its relevance cannot be over-emphasised, thus If you are considering starting a web design company, then you are expected to meet the legal documents requirements as stipulated in the constitution of your country.
These are some of the basic legal document that you are expected to have in place if you want to start a web design company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement
- Company Bylaws
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
13. Write a Business Plan
If you are looking towards starting a web design company, then one of the first steps that you are expected to take is to consult experts to help you write a good and workable business plan. The truth is that, in order to successfully run a web design company, you would need to have a good business plan in place.
A Business plan is the blue print that is needed to successfully run a business; with a workable business plan in place, you will reduce the trial and error approach of doing business. You will be able to manage your business with purpose and perhaps precisions; you will know what to do per time and how to handle challenges, growth and expansion.
So if you want to start your own web design company, you are required to write a detailed business plan that can pass reality test when subjected to it; you should work with the facts, figures and other indices in the web design industry as it applies to the country you intend starting the business.
The whole idea of writing a business plan is not just for the sake of having a business document in place; but a detail guide on how to effectively run your business from the scratch. Your business plan should outline and cover strategies on how you intend to manage and grow your private security company. The rule of thumb in writing a business plan is to try as much as possible to be realistic and never to over project when putting figures on income and profits et al.
14. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis
There are several expenses that you would have to make before successfully launching your own web design company. It is important to state that the location you choose to launch your business will definitely impact on the overall cost of starting the business which is why it is very important to have concluded and analyzed your feasibility studies and market survey before drawing up a budget and sourcing for funding for your business.
Here are some of the basic costs you must look towards fulfilling when starting a private security company in the United States of America;
- The Total Fee for incorporating the Business in United States of America – $750.
- The budget for Insurance, permits and license – $5,000
- The Amount needed to rent a suitable office facility with enough space in the United States of America (Re – Construction of the facility inclusive) – $50,000.
- The Cost for equipping the office (computers, printers, fax machines, furniture, telephones, filing cabins, safety gadgets and electronics et al) – $15,000
- The Cost of Launching an official Website – $700
- Additional Expenditure (Business cards, Signage, Adverts and Promotions et al) – $2,500
- Other miscellaneous – $1,000
Going by the report from our research and feasibility studies, we will need less than $5,000 to set up a small scale web design company from home in the United States of America.
On the average, you would need over 50,000 US dollars to start a medium scale web design company in the United States of America. If you choose to start a large web design company, then you should look towards budgeting about $500,000 US dollars and above. This money includes paying experts that will be on your employee/payroll.
15. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
If you choose to start your web design company on a small scale, you might not need loads of resources to launch the business, but if you decide to start on a large scale, you will sure need to raise the required start – up capital to launch the business.
If you are starting your web design company on a large scale, you will need a decent office facility, office equipment and furniture, and money budgeted for the payment of salaries and utility bills for at least a period of 3 months. When it comes to financing a business, one of the first thing and perhaps the major factors that you should consider is to write a good business plan.
If you have a good and workable business plan in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business. Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your web design company;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Applying for Loan from your Bank / banks
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
16. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
choosing a location for your business is not what you should do without due consultation. The truth is that if you get it wrong with the location where you have decided to pitch your business tent, you are more likely going to struggle to make headway with the business. One of the major reasons why businesses struggle, fail and eventual close shop is the fact that the owners decided to choose a wrong location for the business.
Therefore, as a person just starting out in the web design industry; especially if you are a newbie in the industry, it is important that you locate your business in an area with healthy business activities. These are some of the factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your web design outfit;
- The demography of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The numbers of private security companies in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community / state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
17. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
If you are about starting a web design business, then you should be ready to purchase effective web design applications, gadgets and accessories – these are some of the basic technical areas you are expected to spend part of your start up capital.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing an office space, the size of the web design firm you want to build, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a web design outfit, then you should consider the option of leasing a facility for your office; when you lease, you will be able to work with long – term planning.
Likewise, you need a minimum number of staff to effectively run a medium scale web design firm. If you are just starting out you may not have the financial capacity or required business structure to retain all the professionals that are expected to work with you which is why you should make plans to partner with other web design outfits that are specialized in areas you aren’t.
For example; you might win a contract to design for a particular niche you are not into, but with the right network you’ll always get it done.
The Service Process Involved in the Industry
The services process involved in the web design industry depends on the niches of web design services a company is into. On the average, the process starts with biding or submitting proposal for a web design contract, once the contract is won, then it is expected for the entire contract document to be signed and advance payment made as required.
Once the payment has been sorted out, then it’s the job of web design companies to ensure that the design is done accurately to the later.
18. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
Web design firm is not a business that you have to retail products which is why you must do all you can to maximize any opportunity that comes your way.
So when you are drafting your marketing ideas and strategies for your outfit, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company’s profile which must include the profile of your board of directors and management team. The truth is that if you have highly qualified, trustworthy and successful web design professionals in your board and core management team, it will definitely give you leverage in the market place.
Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your web design company;
- Advertise your business in relevant business magazines, TV and radio station and also make yourself available for web design related talk shows and interactive sessions on TV and Radios)
- List your business on local directories / yellow pages (both online and offline)
- Attend web design related expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to all the corporate organizations, community leaders, schools, hospitals, hotels and government offices in your target area.
- Promptness in bidding for contracts
- Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets.
- Engage in direct marketing, referral marketing and also email marketing.
19. Develop an Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
It might be challenging competing as a newbie in the web design industry in the world today, which is why you must be deliberate in choosing your board members and your core management team.
As a web Design Company, if you have the required expertise and equipment to carry out a web design contract, then you are likely not going to struggle to compete in the industry. Hence, ensure that you put in your best whenever you have the opportunity to handle any web design contract. You should be known for delivering excellent web designs at all times. Creativity, excellence and attention to minute web design details should be your watchword.
20. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
When it comes to business no matter the industry you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customers’ retention and perhaps to attract new customers is to satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service provider or products.
Statistics has it that one of the major reasons why customer’s source for alternative service provider or product is when there is a drop in quality. Another reason is poor customer service. If you can continue to improve on the quality or your services and your customer service delivery, then you won’t struggle to maintain your loyal customers.
It is also necessary to track the records of your customers, and also offer after-service services to ensure that the web designs done for them by you remain relevant always.
21. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
When it comes to creating brand identity for a web design business, the calibre of clients you have worked for and the nature of web design contracts you have handled is always a major brand booster.
It is pretty important to work with your consultants to help you map out publicity and advertising strategies that will help you walk your way into the heart of your target market. First and foremost, you should ensure that your brand is visible and well communicated which is why you should make provisions to work with different class of people in the society. All your publicity materials and jingles should be done by some of the best hands in the industry.
Below are the platforms you should leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity for your web design company;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to all the corporate organizations, community leaders, schools, hospitals, hotels and government offices in your target area.
- Advertise your business in relevant magazines and websites
- List your business on local directories / yellow pages (both online and offline)
- Promote your business on satellite TV stations and radio stations.
- Engage in direct email marketing
- Leverage on the internet (social media platforms and your official websites) to promote your business
- Ensures that your workers wear your branded shirts at all times during working hours and also make sure you brand all your company’s official vans, trucks and cars et al.
22. Create a Suppliers/Distribution Network
The nature of the web design industry gives room for web design companies to network amongst themselves and also network with government own agencies. This is so because the web design is very critical and needs lots of attention and efforts to achieve success.
It is important to state that there will always be room for a web design firms to form strategic alliance with one another which is why it is important to maintain a good network within the industry.
23. Tips for Running a Web Design Business Successfully
The truth is that, irrespective of the kind of business you run, your ability to get all the members of your team on same page at all times is one of the keys you need to successfully run the organization. As the chief executive officer or president of a web design company, it is you responsibility to give direction to the business.
Part of what you need to do is to ensure that you create time for office meetings; a time where challenges, feedbacks, projections and relevant issues are discussed. The meetings could be daily, once in a week, twice a week or once in a month. The bottom line is that there should be consistent meetings in your organization.
Carrying out appraisals on a regular basis and training your employees will help you run your organization effectively. Encourage your employees to pursue certifications in their various area of specializations; it will help your organization’s profile and of course it will help the individuals. You can choose to fully or partially sponsor some of the certifications.
Lastly, you should keep your doors open for suggestions from members of your team and your clients. It is very important to reward excellent performance in your organization; it will go a long way to encourage healthy competition in your organization.