Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Web Designer?

Being a web designer, whether it’s freelancing or working in house, is a difficult job. There are a lot more skills needed than just knowing how to code a web site. If you’ve ever considered becoming a web designer, continue reading to see some of the skills needed to compete in the job and freelance web design market. Some of the skills might surprise you.

Writing Skills

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Your writing and editing skills should be excellent. This skill is important if you want to become a truly effective web designer. The skills with graphics, Photoshop, HTML, CSS etc are not enough, trust me. Your writing is what appeals to the customers when they first visit your site. This helps open a communication channel between you and the client. Don’t worry about using fancy words, you just need to have the writing skills to explain to the customers what you can do for them.

Still if you can use some fancy words, that can make the communication more effective. It’s just like designing a web page. A web page will be more appealing if you make it so. The more effective your words, the more impressive your portfolio and project will be.

Apart from having good writing skills, your writing should also be fast, because the faster you can type, the faster you’ll be able to code, and the faster you will be able to reply to emails. This will help you finish your tasks before the deadline and impress the client.

Unique Style

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You must have your own style. To stand out from all the other web designers out there, including the freelancers and the companies, you must have something that no one has. And to be different from others you must simply have your own style. This makes it easy for the customers to recognize that your work is indeed different from others. The important factor in having your own style is having a distinct signature, because I have seen many web designers with the same style, in one way or other.

Social Media Marketing

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Your social media marketing skills also play a role these days because of the trend of marketing turning from offline to online. Due to the change in technology, after having a grip over the computers, printers and other necessary equipments, you need to know all the social media sites and about their usage. This is because most of the online businesses share their products and news on the social sites like Facebook, Twitter and other sites. This skill proves to be very effective because of the high usage of users on those sites, and so you can use them for your marketing.

Communication Skills

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Your communication skills should  be strong. It’s very important in every part of every business. As a web designer you must be able to communicate, not just in writing, but also verbally and visually. Along with it, the listening part plays an important role too. You should be a good listener and listen attentively to your clients so that you can make them feel that you always try to understand them well and give the impression that you can give them tips.

Management Skills

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Project management skills is something that can make you stand out. These includes managing resources, planning a project, and executing a project. Customer satisfaction mainly depends on your management skills which can help customers avoid headaches.

Knowledge About HTML & CSS

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HTML & CSS is a must have skill for a web designer, I know this should be obvious but I know some web designers merely come up with the idea and outsource the actual coding. They might sometimes put their signature on and it won’t leave a good impression on your client if they have a code related issue and you can’t answer it immediately. XHTML and CSS are not that hard to learn and are actually the most important tools in web designing, so you need to understand the usability and accessibility of HTML & CSS.

Business Sense

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You must have some business sense. Freelancers might ignore this area, but trust me, even if you are self-employed, you need to know business basics. It will help you make decisions about how to approach your projects, or how to better help your client be successful. This area is not that complicated, because it’s just common sense that you must need to understand what your client is telling you, whether that client is an individual or a company.

Creative Thinking

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Creative thinking is a very crucial skill you should have so your clients to come to you more often. You should always be thinking out of the box and trying to be more creative in your designs. This way you can develop your own style and create a great project and increase your number of clients.

Survive Being a Team Player

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You should be a team player. Sometimes you are just part of a project team and not the lead. This is a good opportunity sometimes to polish your skills working on the one task you are appointed to. The appreciation that you get from the whole team is something that will keep you motivated. Occasionally you won’t like a teammate that much and it can become a hindrance to your work and you should always try to ignore or resolve the problem. You can also face a time when the whole workload is on you and the team expects you to overcome it. That is the time when you have to be calm and prove that you can be a team player and can be counted on.

SEO Skills

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You must know the basics of SEO. Optimising your web pages for search engines is indeed a vital element in web design. This is because your project doesn’t have to end with the completion of the web design, you can make yourself stand out (and some more money) if you know what you’re doing with SEO.

Time Management

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You should be able to manage time effectively. Every project has a deadline and you have to be conscious of the amount of time things take you, and always try to finish your work before the deadline, so as to have the time to re-check everything and correct any errors. Completing the task before the deadline leaves a good impression upon the client, and it is a good thing for you in the long-term.

Problem Solver

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You should be able to solve problems. Projects are never without their problems and indeed you will encounter some. You need to be able to overcome any problem you encounter. The client doesn’t care what problems you may face while completing their project, so learn to face all the problems and solve them.

Through today’s post, we have mentioned some of the essential skills that you must have. So start judging yourself with respect to these, and be realistic and true to yourself, because polishing these skills will make you go far in your career.

Salman Saeed

Salman Saeed is a Photographer by Hobby and a Corporate Slave by Profession, who blogs at Demortalz and can be found on Twitter.

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  1. says

    I feel that I have a good majority of these area’s covered. The only problem that I know have to deal with is finding a job in this awesome economy! :)

    • says

      *edit* “I know” is suppose to be I now. So maybe I don’t have as many of these area’s covered as I thought… Perhaps I will work on my spelling and typing skills… lol

  2. Nikihl Malhotra says

    Its just the kind of article that even experienced web designer would love to read.I really enjoyed it and learned some important things as well.All the skills mentioned are really very essential.Thanks for sharing such a nice writeup:)

  3. Reynold says

    Since starting my business I have gained a huge range of skills in many areas, the problem being is you can’t be effective at everything but having experience, I know what qualities are required in each area to employ people.

  4. Tri says

    Good Article, but at the point of”Communication skill” I wanna ask a question, How if designer understood what client wants, and have built that design, but he confuse to translate from his language to english language cause his language is it matter? or may be there are another wayout to help that designer. thks.

  5. Michael Francis says

    All true! These skills and abilities will definitely separate you from the rest! Especially if you are self-employed/freelance.

  6. Marc-André says

    I can agree with many points, but the title should say “Do You Have What It Takes To Be A FREELANCE Web Designer?”

    In agency, you’ll have plenty of colleagues with these skills. I really don’t think web designer should write the content and develop the code. And very often, it’s not the designer who manage the project. I’m also not sure about the “unique style” theory. It can be true for some people, but the majority will seek someone who can solve the problem in any style, if the projects needs it, not someone who forget the brief and put the same style over and over, on any project. You can’t design an application for nurses the same way you design a web game for kids.

    But it’s true that a web designer needs more skills than just knowing the software, or being creative.

  7. says

    Although you raise some good points, I do feel your title and article doesn’t match. Maybe a freelance web designer needs all these skills, but I don’t require all of these from my employees. If they do have all these skills it’s a bonus! Know plenty of designers that don’t have all these skills, and still made a rocking success! You can’t always be a jack of all trades! But good article none the less.

  8. says

    This is exactly true, I was speaking with some trainee web developers the other day and they were surprised the amount of stuff we do, they thought it would be just coding. Turns out coding is about 30% of what we actually do.

  9. Elisee Ntaba says

    My mentor, Im following you and you’re making me more and more aggressive each day, it’ll be your fault when some Congolese boy becomes a Bill Gates, Congrats mentor, am following you Great Dainies Graveries!!!