Those who are well acquainted with me will know that I’m not really a fan of doing stuff just to make money. But if you run your own web design business, you’ll know how important making money is. Money is the fuel to any business, and building a sustainable income is more than just earning a salary, it is critical to survival.
But here’s the secret to making money as a freelance web designer: if you chase it, it will outrun you. The key is to add value. Make your clients love you and the money will flow, and over time building that income will feel increasingly effortless.
How to consistently add value to your existing web design clients
I’ve worked with hundreds of organisations and do you know what has helped me to not only win new clients, but strengthen my existing business relationships?
This remarkably simple idea is often completely missed by freelance website designers when serving their clients, but it goes like this:
- Identify a problem that your client faces
- Locate a product or resource that will help them to solve that problem
- Introduce your client to it.
Think about it: you’re a talented web designer but your remit is only so wide. And let’s be honest, websites are just part of the picture. Your clients will have countless problems that they need solving every week. And if you’re resourceful, you can probably spot these pain points and help provide a solution. I’ll give you a real world example:
My client is struggling to deal with an influx of enquiries. They have a rudimentary database but they don’t capitalise on new customers and subscribers, and so they’re leaving money on the table by failing to communicate with and nurture their users.
I have identified this, and I suggest two courses of action:
- Integration of a new CRM database that allows automated customer journeys to be created
- A couple of books on marketing automation to help them understand it better.
In this scenario, not only have I identified my client’s problems, I have also pro-actively suggested a solution. This helps them, and it helps me, because:
- When it comes to integrating and configuring their new CRM, I’m their goto-guy
- I asked the client to sign up to the CRM under an affiliate link, which has earned me a commission
- They also bought the books I recommended, again through an affiliate programme of which I am a member, which also earned me a small commission.
Making money as a web designer is easy when you begin making your customer’s problems your own, and then solving them!
Another awesome tip to help web designers make more money — and again this one seems obvious once you hear it — is to offer training!
If I had a penny every time I handed a website over to a client and they knew exactly what to do with it, I’d have… well I’d have no money. So, why let your job end when you hand over the website? There is so much more that you can offer here. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Teach your client how to do basic keyword research and then show them how to use the Yoast plugin
- Give your client a rundown of the Gutenberg editor to show them which blocks are available, and how they can design content with them
- Show your clients how to pull reports from Google Analytics and make sense of the data.
These bolt-on services are so simple, but they can deliver a tonne of value. And what does value translate into? Money! For you! So why not pull together a very basic training package right now and go put it in front of your clients. Offer them a 1 hour “how to” session and bundle in some takeaway materials. Charge a one-off fee for this work, and repeat with all your other clients.
Honestly, constantly adding value is so simple when you put yourself in your client’s shoes.
Finally, if you’re looking for some relatively passive income from your web design business then the easiest route is to offer website hosting for your clients. You won’t be able to charge much, as web hosting is so competitive, but most clients are happy to pay a low monthly fee for peace of mind support and to just know you’re around. If you want, you could bundle in monthly WordPress upgrades into the deal as well. The formulas is simple, and to make more money from your web design business, getting your clients onto a basic hosting and support contract is a quick win.
The key theme here if you want to know how to make money with web design is: go out there and create massive value!
These are just some straightforward ways in which you can help your clients, and in turn earn more money. The more you can make your web design customers feel like you’re part of their business, the more they will trust you. The greater their trust, the more they will spend on your services, and the more they will recommend you to their associates.
It truly is a win-win way of doing business 🤘