Has your web development job grown a little stale? Are you sick and tired of having to work impossible hours for a company that micromanages you? Then it’s time to consider leaving and venturing out on your own. Freelance web development is a promising field if you know what you’re doing. But how do you start finding clients and developing websites on your own?
Well, in today’s age, there are lots of ways. In fact, it’s easier than ever to become a freelancer. It’ll be even easier if you already know how to code and have worked as a developer.
If you want to know how to become a freelance web developer, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide to get your freelance career off the ground. Read on to learn how you can become a freelance web developer in today’s landscape.
Learn Web Development Skills
If you haven’t got them already, you’ll need sharp web development skills. If you’ve already worked as a web developer, then feel free to skip this step. If you have less experience or are starting from scratch, this step is for you.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to go into debt to get a four-year college degree to learn web development. There are tons of resources you can use online to learn programming languages and design philosophies.
Books are a great place to start. You can find in-depth how-to guides for web development online or at bookstores. Try to find books and online guides that cover:
You can also find resources to learn about more niche programming languages. In addition, try to find some resources that cover web design.
You’ll want to know how to format a webpage in a way that’s intuitive and easy to read. Not only that but there are many design philosophies you can learn about online and in books.
If you’ve never programmed or developed anything before, then you’ll need to spend some time studying. The good news is that if you’re dedicated, you can learn what you need to know in a few months. Remember, practice is everything. Don’t just read about web design; try to follow along with a real example. Write code, make a test page, and try other ways to get hands-on while you learn.
Once you feel you’re savvy enough to start taking on projects, you can move on to the next step of the process.
Select a Niche to Focus On
If you want to start making money as a freelancer, then you’ll need to separate yourself from the crowd. One of the best ways to do this is to target a specific niche. That means focusing on a single area of the market instead of doing everything. For example, your niche could be developing e-commerce pages.
Once you know which niche to target, it’s time to perfect your skills. Spend all your time designing, tweaking, and innovating e-commerce pages.
That will make you an absolute expert on the topic, in turn making your skills more valuable.
Clients will know you as the ‘e-commerce web developer’ that they rely on for online stores. Before you know it, you’ll have clients requesting you to develop and design their e-commerce sites. It’s for this reason focusing on a niche is a more clever idea than being a jack-of-all-trades.
The idea is to give yourself a unique specialty, something that you do better than anyone else. That way, you can start building your brand and marketing what you do.
Build a Portfolio
Okay, now that you’ve got your niche in mind, it’s time to start building up your portfolio. A great way to start is to build a portfolio website. Since you’re a web developer, the website itself will serve as part of your portfolio.
This website is where you host your achievements, accomplishments, and past clients. It should also be a sleek, responsive website that works great on any device. That will highlight your skills as a developer and attract new clients.
Remember only to include your very best work on your portfolio page. Even if you’ve done jobs for thousands of clients, choose only to highlight a few. If you select the best of the best, your potential clients will know that you’re the real deal. One mention of developing an e-commerce store that sold millions will have a lot more impact than listing hundreds of clients.
If you don’t have any projects to show off yet, then it’s time to get to work. Try to find a friend or family member that needs a website for their business or service. You can even offer to do the work for free, as it’s simply for your portfolio. It’ll also give you the chance to get some hands-on experience. All it takes is a few good-looking projects to make a portfolio that attracts clients.
The final step in learning how to become a freelance web developer is to get the word out about what you do. If you’re a total newbie regarding marketing techniques, you don’t need to worry. There are many simple yet effective strategies you can use to attract business. Here are a few of our favorite ways to do so.
Social Media Marketing
Twitter is a great place to start. If you don’t have an online presence, start searching for users in your niche market. Follow them, like some of their Tweets, and reply to ones that interest you. It’s important not to be fake here but genuine. If you’re consistent, you’ll start to get people to follow you back.
You can also reach out to professionals in your niche on LinkedIn. The internet is an incredible place to network, so take full advantage whenever you can.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, will do a lot for your freelance business. Do some keyword research to see what users in your niche market are searching for the most. After that, organically insert those keywords into the copy of your portfolio page. Also, try to get as many backlinks to your portfolio as possible.
A great and completely free way to market your services is through message boards. Take to websites like Reddit and search for your niche. Once you’re on the messaging boards, take in all the information that you can. Ask yourself these questions:
- What problems do they have?
- How can my web development skills create value for them?
- Would they be interested in a link to my page?
You don’t want to go for the hard sell here. Instead, you’re an interested user trying to help the others out. Techniques like this can have a significant impact on your business.
To see our article on how to find more clients visit this link.
How to Become a Freelance Web Developer? ( quick video )
Those are our top suggestions for how to become a freelance web developer. If you’re a web developer looking for a change and a challenge, the freelance world can be an exciting one. We hope that you can take these tips to find success out there on your own. To get more Shopify developer tips see our developer posts here.