Freelance Web Designer - Skills, tools, |Pros and Cons
It is estimated that there are more than 1.7 Billion websites on the Internet that a person can find today and indulge himself in the process of online interaction. With that number of websites and network connectivity that people have the luxury of, you witness countless money-making opportunities in your way.
Freelance Web Designing is one of those opportunities that provide you with significant financial benefits along with the relief of working from your home. However, like any other job, freelancing also demands consistent efforts to improve your efficiency and effectiveness.
Web designing is related to the clothing and ornamentation of the website. It holds great importance in the webspace as in today's world; it is a herculean task to grab someone's attention. Whatever you see on the website, the logo, text, color, navigation bar, and other graphics fall under a web designer's developmental work.
- Web designing vs. Web development
- Job responsibilities of a freelance Web designer
- Skills a freelance Web designer must have
- Pros and Cons of freelance Web designing
- Tools and software used
- How to get clients?
- How much to expect?
Web designing vs. Web development
Web designing and web development are often used as synonyms for each other in the webspace, but both are pretty different in terms of ideas and skills required for the particular work profile. Web designing is working on the client-side of the website and enhancing the graphical user interface to grab and hold the readers' attention to landing on the website.
Professionals working in this field of work are often known as Front-end developers. Whereas web development is something related to the server-side or back-end of the website. Analyzing and running scientific codes, backing up sites' content, etc., come under the job profile of web development. Web development professionals need to have an analytical mindset and are often known as back-end developers.
Job responsibilities of a freelance Web designer
Although a freelance web designer fulfills all the responsibilities of a typical web designer, there are some additional duties that he has to take care of. Job responsibilities are:
One of his primary responsibilities is designing the website's layout and working on the graphical user interface to grab and pitch the readers.
As a freelance web designer who is not associated with any organization, he is responsible for self-marketing. He builds his portfolio to lure clients, sometimes working for free.
A freelancer has to keep track of the payment of his work as fraud happens many times.
It is a very competitive field to work in, so a web designer must continually improve his skills by following the latest trends and standards in the market.
Planning is very under-rated, but for a freelancer, it is a game-changing practice. While working with multiple clients, he needs to divide his work so that he satisfies everyone.
Skills a freelance Web designer must have
Acquiring knowledge and working on skills are two of the inevitable practices that developers must constantly execute to remain in the business. People are lucky that today they have multiple sources from where they can acquire knowledge. Apart from degree courses like BSc in Graphic and Web Design, Diploma in Web designing, etc.
Several professional courses can be found online too from credible people working in the industry alone. But alone with this knowledge or degree, there is no surety that you'll get clients. So mastering both the soft and hard skills is essential to ensure your future in this business.
- Creativity: Web designing is an art and demands creativity. Hence creativity is something that designers must have in their armor.
- Communication: Apart from creativity, communication is essential for a freelancer as he has to negotiate and talk with multiple clients daily. Effective communication is the key to understanding what the client wants and, in return, what he must give you.
- Time Management: This skill is a game-changer for web designers as working with multiple clients is not an easy task. Effectively managing the workload can ease the working and increase efficiency.
- Web Usability: It is simply reducing the time that a user must take to understand the website's working without compromising the first impression. Mobile usability and multilingual websites are its essential components. A web designer must always design the website while keeping web usability in mind.
- Graphics and Layout: As the primary work of any web designer, it is necessary to master the tools and languages used to develop the same.
- User experience Design: User Experience Design is a design created to enhance the user experience on the website. It has several components like research, visual communication, usability, and many more. It is one of the skills that a freelance web designer should master.
- Content Management System (CMS): A CMS helps the developer cope with websites that need regular updates. It offers an effective way to manage that much amount of content, thus reducing the workload. Some of the popular CMS are WordPress, Magento, Drupal, and Wix.
Pros and Cons of freelance Web designing
Some people see it as a secondary career while others are doing it full-time. Therefore, you must go through its pros and cons before choosing it for yourself.
- High demand: Web designing and development have an enormous scope if today's webspace is concerned. The number of websites, internet users, and online businesses keeps growing in volume with each passing day. Hence, demand for web designers and developers is only going to increase.
- Your boss: By working as a freelancer, you'll manage to escape the traditional office system and be your boss.
- Work from anywhere: Freelancing gives you the luxury of working from anywhere you want as you only need your laptop with a strong internet connection.
- Non-Traditional Benefits: You cannot enjoy EPF, insurance benefits, health benefits, sick leaves, etc. while working as a freelancer.
- Lack of Exposure: Freelancing is excellent, but the kind of exposure and mentorship that a traditional company can provide is very different.
- Payment is an Issue: Payment is an issue, especially with the new freelancers, as they are more exposed to the risk of fraud.
Tools and software used
HTML and CSS
These two are the primary programming languages that a web designer needs to learn. HTML draws the layout for the website, while CSS is used to style it.
Java is used by a volume of designers as it is convenient while developing any site's content.
Canva has created a name of its own since its transition into a web-developer program in 2012. Its effortless functionality and range of beautiful graphics make it a perfect tool for freelancers.
Figma is an exciting option as there are many cases in which many freelancers work together as a team for single or multiple projects. It assists designers with communication facilities so that a design can be developed with ease.
Handy for beginners and professionals, Adobe Dreamweaver, has all the tools and graphics you'll need to design your website from scratch.
It is one of the best Software for medium-sized businesses and freelancers to start web designing. It supports almost every graphical operating system and is handy in designing logos, icons, and other visual components.
With great graphic and marketing features, this web developing Software is ideal for beginners and pros.
How to get clients?
Finding clients is another task for freelancers. A newbie has to hustle for months to see his first client. Here are some of the tricks through which you can attract more and more clients to collaborate with:
Grab one Niche
Find a niche you are comfortable in or follow the trends and find the best-paying niches. Once you find it, work with all your resources and build your expertise in it. Clients prefer those freelancers who have a specialty in a subject matter.
Social media presence
Building one's social media presence is as crucial as building skills in current times. Engage with people related to your industry on social media platforms like Clubhouse, Facebook, Instagram, Snap chat, etc., to be visible to your clients.
Freelance job websites
Websites like LinkedIn, Freelancer, Up-work, and Fiverr provide a platform for interaction between clients and freelancers.
Speaking on podcasts, webinars, and conferences
Speaking on a podcast and at conferences helps you engage with your community better, thus increasing your chances of getting clients.
Word of mouth
Ask for referrals from clients you're currently working with, as word of mouth is the best marketing tool you can ask for.
Building and maintaining a good portfolio website leaves a positive impression of you on the clients.
There is no alternative to hard work. Always have a view of upskilling yourself to survive in this competitive world.
How much to expect?
Earning depends on several factors like experience, skills, clients, type of website, niche, etc. However, according to websites like Glassdoor and Payscale, a web designer, whether a freelancer or not, earns within the range of $51,000-53,000 per year.
With all the information mentioned earlier, one can say that Freelance web designing is an exciting career option. With the perks of being your boss, the career also facilitates freedom. Yes, it has its cons, but with growing Internet space, more and more websites will be there. Hence, it is an in-demand career asking for in-demand skills.
About the author
Dennis Hoinkis has been working as a web developer and in online marketing since 1998. After building up a marketing agency and the exit in 2013, he consulted international groups as a freelance consultant. Since 2022, he and his team now offer staffing services in this field.
Dennis Hoinkis CEO, GLOMASTCO Ltd.