Recession Survival: 9 Ways To Make More Money As A Web Designer

By Alyssa Gregory
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batch of dollarsIf you’re feeling the pressure of a sinking economy, there are things you can do to bump up your income without dropping your rates or taking on non-ideal clients. Here are nine ideas that may make you more money during these tight financial times.

1. Offer Training

Have you ever been asked by a client if they can maintain the site you designed, but they don’t know how? Consider offering training services to teach them what they need to know to update their site themselves. Even if you have no desire to sit in a client’s office to train them, you can do it all remotely using services like WebEx, GoToMeeting and Yugma.

2. Write

If you have an interest in writing, look for freelance writing gigs. Websites, blogs, magazines and freelance writing sites are all good places to look. Another option is adding content writing services to your offerings. It’s a huge benefit to a client to be able to hand off drafted content and have someone edit and beautify as they place it in the site. And if you’re really into writing, you can even write a book or e-book on your area of expertise, offering tips, how-to’s, and resources.

3. Design Beyond the Web

For some web designers, logo, ad design and general graphic design are peripheral services or something they don’t offer at all. If this is the case for you, give it a try. You could even think about offering print design services — postcards, brochures, business cards, etc. If you’re successful, you can develop complete branding packages for clients.

4. Pitch Maintenance

It may be time to revisit clients’ websites to see if they’re in need of an update. Consider going through your list and approaching clients to refresh their sites. Perhaps the site has not been touched since the design two years ago, or the client has a new facet of their business to feature, or your design skills have improved since you initially designed the site and you have more to offer the client. Research, prepare and then pitch it.

twitter bird5. Hit Up Social Media

There is a market in the realm of social media of people who want to customize their profile pages on various social media sites. You can design custom backgrounds and landing pages for Twitter users, create custom MySpace themes, and even enhance SEO and graphics for Facebook fan pages. Blog customization is also in demand since many businesses want to create a unified look and feel across all of their online elements.

6. Become an Affiliate

This is probably not a hugely lucrative endeavor, but for some potential steady income, look into becoming an affiliate or reseller for services your clients need, like domain name registration, hosting and shopping cart functionality.

7. Monetize

Another option is monetizing your website and/or blog. Of course, this is not for everyone, but if you can make it work in a tasteful and strategic way, this could be a nice source of passive income. A great read is “10 Ways to Monetize a Design Blog” by Steven Snell on DesignM.ag. He covers things like selling custom themes and creating a membership blog, as well as the more traditional advertising methods.

8. Diversify

Try looking beyond traditional design services. Do you like to help others? You can offer fee-based mentorship or even an apprenticeship to up-and-comers. Do you have a critical eye for what people can be doing better on their sites? Site analysis services may be the perfect option. Think about other areas you are passionate about and you will probably come up with a few non-design but design-related services you can offer to potential clients.

shaking hands9. Partner Up

If you’re feeling the crunch, chances are your colleagues are, too. Approach another designer or developer to create a partnership. You may find more success by having two (or even a team) of people marketing a larger service base. And don’t limit yourself to other people who do similar work; you may benefit from creating a partnership across many industries — writers, marketers, public relations professionals, and even virtual assistants who have clients in need of design services but no desire or ability to provide it themselves.

Give it some creative thought, and you may be surprised what you come up with to boost your income. I’d love to hear your ideas!

Image credits: Alexander Kalina (money), Sanja Gjenero (shaking hands)

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