The last decade’s internet boom has brought many advantages. Almost everything you can think of can now be done online: shopping, networking, communicating and work. Through the internet, many people now have the option to work at home. In fact, many work-at-home guys I know earn more than those who have a regular 9 to 5 job!
Web Design is a lucrative part of the creative industry. It’s possible to earn thousands of dollars from the comfort of your own home. I will guide you through the most popular options for you in web design.
Freelancing Jobs in Web Design
1. Web Designer
A web designer is the architect of the web site, he builds and lays out the foundation of the web site. The web designer is also an artist, providing design and creative direction for the web pages whilst working to meet the needs, functions and brand image of the client. A web designer requires both programming and creative skills. They need to be well-versed in programming and coding, including the basic HTML, XHTML, PHP and CSS.
A web designer should create a beautiful, eye catching web page design and graphics that are able to meet the needs of the client. He may or may not write SEO content for his client. If not, the web designer may outsource the SEO writing to someone else.
Online Portfolios of Web Designers
2. Interactive Web Designer
An interactive web designer creates an interactive user experience and interface for a website. He specializes in creating interactivity, usability and experience between the web user and the company. This makes the website more delightful, memorable and powerful.
Interactive web designers try to make web sites as unique, fun and user-friendly as possible. They typically make use of various tools in programming; creating scripts and adding features to maximize the web user experience. These sites keep the user’s attention longer, and create a more meaningful engagement. Interactive web sites make the web users feel more involved. The web designer must be familiar with the common tools used for interactivity: Flash, Java, CSS Animation, Java Script and jQuery.
Designing the graphical user interface, or GUI, is one of the most important tasks of an interactive graphic designer. This is the home page of the web site where users navigate the site. The GUI includes buttons, options, menus and directories so that web users can use and obtain information from the site.
Creating an interactive web site takes more time and training. But this is a lucrative freelancing job, since most web sites are now aiming towards interactivity. In the near future, all web designers may already be required to learn interaction design.
Online Portfolios of Interactive Web Designers
3. Flash Designer
The Flash designer is basically an interactive designer that specializes in Adobe Flash design. The Flash designer creates web sites and games using Adobe Flash. With Flash, designers are able to incorporate movement, input and music . Flash designers can also develop educational and learning based games and other forms of multimedia.
Online Portfolios of Flash Designers
4. WordPress Theme Designer
WordPress used to be a simple blogging platform, but is now has being used for all kinds of web sites. Many clients are now using WordPress for their sites; because of its useful features and ease of navigation. WordPress theme designing is a growing and lucrative field in web design.
A WordPress theme designer is responsible for creating a WordPress site and layout, making sure it looks clean, attractive and eye-catching. WordPress is great for clients aiming for a higher SEO ranking. Websites using Flash or Dreamweaver may look good, but they may have slow loading time. Search engines cannot read flash sites, thus they perform poorly in search engine rankings compared to WordPress.
Online Portfolios of WordPress Theme Designers
How to Get Started in Freelance Web Design
Freelancing is not for everyone. In freelancing, it’s important to have a certain skill set. Having a background in the arts, graphic design and layout is necessary. Knowing the basics of programming is important, as well. Although some freelance web designers are self-taught, it’s important to get proper training if you can.
The basic tools to get you started? A laptop or PC and a reliable internet connection. Freelancing gives you flexibility in regards to place and time, but it’s important to set your own place for work, whether it’s a separate office, at home or at a cafe. You will need software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver and Corel Draw–not all, just some that is relevant to your freelance web design field. Other design tools you may need are a camera and a stylus tablet.
A freelance web designer also needs an online portfolio to serve as a vehicle for self-promotion and marketing. This is the first thing your client sees, and you must make a good impression. The online portfolio will showcase the designer’s works over the course of his career. Be sure your website is clean, professional and design-wise–more importantly it should be a representation of you as a web designer.
Of course, you will need a preferred method of payment for your services. For freelancers working through the internet, it’s now a necessity to have a PayPal account, the fastest way to transfer payment. Other methods of payment include check or through bank transfer.
How to Charge for your Freelancing Work
The best thing about freelancing is that you are your own boss. This means you are solely responsible for charging for your services. Freelancers must take into consideration the following factors when deciding on how to charge your clients.
Type of Client
Not too many freelancers admit this, but the services is heavily dependent on the type of client. Designers generally charge major corporations more than smaller companies. It also depends on the value of the design, and how important it will be for the client. For example, you can charge high for branding services–branding for a company will serve to be very valuable to them for many years to come.
Type of Work
Freelancers charge different rates depending on the type of work required of them, even if they are hired by the same client. For example, designing a corporate identity may be higher than designing the company website, or vice versa. Or, creating a web site with multimedia and flash will pay more than a simple, static HTML web design.
Years of Experience
How many years have you been practicing? Obviously, a practicing web designer with 10 years of experience will charge higher than a newbie in the field. A well-known design agency, with a creative team, account handlers and offices, will cost a lot more than a self-employed freelancer working at home.
Freelancer’s fees vary drastically from state to state. Freelance designers in bigger cities tend to earn more than those in remote locations, although this is slowly changing since most of the transactions and services are now done online.
Some clients may ask you to be in charge of other services like printing costs and others. Since that is already outside of web designing services, you can ask 10% to 20% additional costs for other services outside of your job description. Other additional costs your client may look for, but may not be part of your web designing job are: photography, corporate image branding, etc. Give your client estimates on miscellaneous expenses such as research, travel expenses, etc. Be up front with your client about this, have a mutual agreement and put it on paper before starting on any project.