Freelance Web Developer and Designer Success

Freelance Web Development / Design

Freelance Web Developers and Designers create the Web as we know it!
Freelance Web Developers and Designers create the Web as we know it!

Freelance Web Develomper / Designer

Freelance Web developers are the leading form of internet entertainment and business. Harvesting extremely accurate design skills, coding knowledge, and various knowledge of hosts, terms, and seo make freelance web developers a fierce position creating new cutting edge sites. Other than being able to change the whole success rate of their customers, this career can really bring in the dough. Effective web development and design isn’t easy by any means. Nowadays anyone can sign up to companies and make their own cookie cutter designed sites, but these aren’t really effective and are often bland. In order to really get sales, high ranking, and traffic you must have a powerfully created site that is appealing to both people and search engines alike. Depending on where you are in your knowledge of web development will determine your pay, your hours, and your workflow. It also will set your capabilities and limitations, even though they aren’t really that limiting. Lots and lots of knowledge is required for most developers and more and more of todays sites require multiple people working on different elements of the site.

Knowledge of Applications

Being a Freelance Web Developer, or any kind of online designer you need to know how to use different kinds of software to get the job done. There are thousands of options out there to choose from with many different versions, but you should always aim at knowing how to use a few of them. Examples of key applications you should know are; Adobe DreamWeaver, Photoshop, and Flash. Also a working knowledge of Microsoft Office or equivalent should be automatic. Depending on exactly what you’re doing there might be more helpful targeted software.

Knowledge of Languages

A Freelance Web Developer needs to know how to use coding languages. The automatic must know no matter what is HTML. Not knowing “any” html is like going into a lab to make a chemical mixture without ever setting foot in a lab before. Your success rate of doing anything will be close to zero. The special features that often make the most money for freelance web development are normally in different languages. Just like for translators knowing other languages gives you an advantage in communicating, well knowing different computer languages helps create a difference between you and others. The more languages you understand the more that can be created. Other languages include:

Java
Javascript
Php
C#
C++
A+
Ruby on Rails
the Facebook App Language
.NET 2.0 and 3.5
ASP.NET
XHTML
CSS
XML
AJAX
jQuery
SQL 2005/2008
MySQL
and there are a ton others.

Knowledge of Business

Knowing how businesses work and operate help you create the best site for what type of business it is. Most importantly, you must know if they are selling a product or a service or both. A lot of designing differs between the two to make people more likely to buy one or the other. The most important part of knowing about business is setting up E-Commerce, one of the largest growing parts on web development in the world. Being able to effectively implement e-commerce is key to becoming large with companies. You need to know how to set up catalogs and shopping carts like google checkout. The most important one to understand how to implement is PayPal as it is the world leader in money exchanging online. Not knowing any of this stuff will also dangerously cut off tons of jobs. Under business its also wise to know how to give your client the option of monetizing the site itself. Many clients look at their website as both a source of sales and an additional source of income. This would require a working knowledge of advertising affiliates and how to product the highest CTR for Pay-Per-Click ads like Google Adsense, Kontera, and many others. More and more people are wishing to have this so the website will pay for itself over time, or at least help offset the costs of hosting and upkeep at least.

Knowledge of Hosts

Everyone knows websites and webapps don’t magically just exist online, they must be hosted. As a freelance web developer it should almost be your duty to suggest the best hosting company or plan for your client if requested. This can add extra income in more than one way! First of all, this is a service that can be charged extra to your client (or even thrown in as a *FREEBIE*) and it could also get you a referral fee from the host if you set it up with them! The host themselves aren’t the only thing you should recommend to your client, you should also recommend a Domain Name to them. This can also be a charged service allowing you to make a little extra money for something so easy a kid could do it.

Knowledge of Search

Knowing things will never stop will it? Just when you don’t want to hear that you need to know anything else, this one is vital to your success of being a developer. Knowing how search engines work, you can help your client with built in SEO tactics. I am not saying go over the top but in the list of what you offer you can put “Basic Seo” so that they know the site will have a chance of bringing success. Knowing how to do advanced SEO on websites without using software or getting it blacklisted for automated backlinks would be a great service to add (for a fee). A website is useless if no one can find it!

The Freelance Web Developer / Designer Portfolio

A strong Portfolio is GOLD to a Freelance Web Developer / Designer. Without a good example of your works you will never get any clients. Building a successful portfolio is the best thing you can do. Try to have many different examples you can show for the kind of development your client is looking for. There should be at least three examples for what kind of service you are trying to get them to buy from you. It would also be a great idea to have the designs you show them to be actively working for the person/company that last bought your service. As soon as you get a great client and satisfy them, remember to follow up or make sure there more than happy. The happier the client, the more likely they will recommend you to their co workers or friends. There is nothing more powerful than a well satisfied customer.

The Secret to Freelance Web Developer / Designer Success

There is one very large unknown secret to new freelance web developers that is largely unknown. Even if you’re brand new to being a developer, if you think you can handle a job take it. You don’t need to know how to do everything, you can learn while you build. There are many sources to find how to do things, including other developers who will help you on online forums. When in doubt, you can also use our good ol’ friend Google. Most things a customer will want will have been already created because not everyone is so creative or they might think “well that can’t be done”. Not only should you take some jobs you don’t know how to do fully, but the secret is you’re the Authority.  Your client will listen to what you say and should value your suggestions because you do it and they don’t. More and more people can talk the talk, give a good service, but sell it for more than a person would be willing to spend for it. A great example is an already built computer from Dell. They have custom built machines for sale for college students that are so much of a rip off it isn’t even funny! If the person built the custom machine on their website instead of taking the bundle they could make a better computer for less money that would still do all they need it to do! When you suggest adding flash buttons to a site and then start going on talking about technical advantages and anything you can say that isn’t lying but isn’t really necessary people will go along with it. Normally, even adding a lot more money than they should be. This isn’t a problem at all as long as they get a product that looks and works how they wanted it to be. If you could get say $29.99 to use flash buttons that would take all of 5 minutes to make you can see why its so important to act like “The One” when it comes to the field. The more knowledgeable you are and the more you make them feel that way the more money you can request for your service and the more likely they are to hire you to do their task.

To Wrap It Up

Hopefully you become a successful freelance web developer / designer! A last tip is to only focus on two or three languages and one or two applications. Anything else you need outside of that zone you can learn as you go, or you can learn a general understanding and a workable knowledge of it. If you enjoyed this article then please share it!

Thanks again for reading!

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Comments 9 comments

Dave 6 years ago

Excellent article, I would like to add that eCommerce and Web 2.0 technologies are also pretty important when it comes to choosing a professional web designer for any relevant project.

There are many companies and businesses which want to turn online and setup virtual shopping carts where customers can place their order and buy whatever stuff they need. Therefore, it is crucial that the web developer has good knowledge of eCommerce and Payment Gateways. eCommerce websites have their own challenges of security, performance and transaction management which is best handled by professional web designers who know the in and out of eCommerce.

As for Web 2.0, websites and web are all about user experience. Therefore, it is handy for a web designer to master Web 2.0 technologies in order to provide a unmatched smooth user experience on any websites that they develop.

Cheers,

Dave


James henderson 6 years ago

agree...Excellent article. I also want to point out that advertising - Rich media is playing a crucial role and changing way people think about traditional advertising.


Dain 6 years ago

Awesome article.


TheGlacier 6 years ago from USA/INDIA

Nice article. I have good knowledge in Java. But developing websites need php programming knowledge. Does my knowledge in java be helpful if I take up any job of designing websites? How long does it take to learn to build good websites?. I have some knowledge about wordpress CMS but not about PHP.


thranax profile image

thranax 6 years ago from Rep Boston MA Author

@TheGlacier

Website content often contains Java to add widgets and things to the site. Java also is the main platform for some video games, the largest I know thats java based is Runescape. Websites can be built with knowledge only of HTML - but these sites can be somewhat boring without php and other elements. If you wish to make websites quickly (but with difficulties) programs like Adobe Dreamweaver are available - this program lets anyone make a website knowledge of html or not.

Hope that helps,

~thranax~


Web Developer 6 years ago

I have been a freelancer for the past 5 or 6 years and I can tell you it isn't easy. What's helped me a lot has been Joomla. Even forced me to learn quite a bit of PHP. It's easy enough to download templates, but in order to customise them to any degree, you need decent knowledge of PHP as well as graphic design.


exchangerecovery profile image

exchangerecovery 6 years ago from India

It's a good hub. Nice Very useful. Thanks Dear


Fleurfavs 6 years ago

This is an excellent job. I been a web developer since i was 20 and now that I am 27, I could really tell that this job isn't easy.Well thanks for my knowledge and dedication. I was able to create Joomla websites successfully.


kjart profile image

kjart 4 years ago from Cincinnati, Ohio

Good article, but I think that you are missing one vital point: dedication and hard work. To become a successful freelancer, you need not only the training, but willing to work 50+ hours a week learning, networking and designing.

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