Have you been thinking it is time to start earning a side income? Or perhaps you want to work from home and no longer commute? In this article I am going to show you how to start a web design business using the powerful WordPress theme – Divi.
Why start a web design business?
A large advantage of living in the world today, is the fact that we are so well connected – digitally that is. If you start a web design business of your own, it allows you to work from virtually anywhere. Anywhere with an internet connection that is.
In the old days, one would have had to go to college or university to learn how to write programming code in order to build websites, thankfully this has changed. Technology has advanced at such a rapid rate that right now you can have a website up and running within an hour without having to type a single line of code.
How is this possible?
Thank you for asking. This is now possible due to a little invention called page builders. What page builders do is allow you to click and drag elements on to a page and thereby build a website. So basically, if you can use Microsoft Word or Powerpoint, you can build a website these days. For this reason anyone can start a web design business.
There are many page builders on the market right now. I won’t list all of them as I am sure there are some that I do not even know of since they are popping up so often, but I will jot down some of the bigger players in the WordPress community.
Divi is my top choice when it comes to what page builder to start a web design business with as it is very powerful, easy to use and reasonably priced.
Divi comes in at $89 per year. This may sound like a high price especially when starting out but keep in mind Elegant Themes (the creators of Divi) allow you to use this on an unlimited amount of websites. This means if you have 1 client a month, you will essentially pay only around $7.50 per client. The more clients you have the cheaper it will be.
As it is a visual builder and very well documented, you will be up and running building sites for clients within a week.
Elementor is a very good page builder that outputs clean code. It is versatile in the designs that you can build out at speed thanks to their widgets that allow you to drop in previous sections you designed.
Elementor offers a free version that allows you to start building basic sites. Once you want to do more than that, you need to upgrade to their pro version which starts at $49 a year for 1 site. They have other plans if you need more like 25 sites for $199 which puts it at around $8 per client. Unlike Divi, you do not have an unlimited plan so will always have to pay for extra licences. Something to keep in mind as you start a web design business.
3. Beaver Builder
Beaver builder has been around for a number of years now. While their feature set is not as dynamic as Divi or Elementor their strength lies in the code that the builder outputs. It is very clean and robust.
I will admit that I last used Beaver builder a number of years ago and I know they have made many improvements since then so it might be best to head to their website and view the video to see how it works.
Their pricing starts at $99 for the first year (renews at 40%) and like Divi can be used on an unlimited amount of sites.
4. Oxygen Builder
Oxygen builder is the youngest of the page builders mentioned but that does not mean it is the weakest. In fact in some tests done, it out putted the smallest files of all above. If you are not yet aware, small files usually result in faster loading websites.
Oxygen’s pricing is different to the rest of the builders in the fact that they offer the product at a one time fee with no renewal (which is great when you start a web design business) starting at $129 for the basic plan (Divi does this too at $249). You can get their top plan that includes everything for $349 one time fee.
Oxygen takes a bit of time to understand their interface (unless you are a developer – then it is superb) as it is built in a way that technical people think – at least in my opinion. Once you learn your way around it, it works well ….real well!
First steps in starting a web design business
So before you start your web design business, I would recommend to find the following tools to help you;
- Decide on a page builder and purchase it for one year.
I always say get the license only for one year to ensure that this is what you want to do. I recommend starting with Divi as I find it easy to use which allows me to be up and running in no time. Divi also offers 207 layout packs (templates for 207 websites) at no extra cost to you. This speeds up your website production which is good for your web design business.
- Get a great WordPress host.
WordPress host is where your website will be installed and made available to the world. It is very important to get the best host you can afford. Cheaper hosts are great if you are on a budget and building a site for a client that will get 2 visitors a day. If they are expecting higher traffic, a good web host will be able to handle it while the cheaper one will crash. Since many clients expect the web designer to handle their hosting too, a crash will not be good for your business. We recommend hosts like Kinsta (for those with a higher budget) and Cloudways (for those with a lower budget).
- Get a domain provider.
A domain (www.mydomain.com) is like a contact in your phone book. When you want to call someone, you seldom punch in the full telephone number these days. Instead you will scroll to the name and hit the green button. Domains are very similar. As websites are actually identified using IP addresses like 192.168.23.145 it is much easier for us to type the website name in the url. This needs to be purchased somewhere so that they will deal with all the technical aspects. I recommend services like Namecheap to handle this for you.
Let’s start a web design business
Ok so we have the basic tools to start a web design business, now let us look at the next step.
Where do I find my clients?
The easiest is to start asking around your friends and family to see if anyone wants a website. It is very likely there is someone who needs one but has not idea who to ask. Start with small projects and then ask for referrals when the project is done.
Web design process
The typical process for a web design project is as follows;
10 step basic web design process for a web design business
- You approach the potential client.
- Set a meeting to discuss requirements. This would include any materials the client wants on the site; logos, photos or anything else they want.
Do not – I mean NEVER – give a quote on the spot. Even though you will refine this process as you do it more often, I never recommend offering the quote on the spot.
- Go back to your office and work through the project brief. Look for anything that the client may have left out or any functionality that may require an extra plugin and then go and see the cost of that plugin. Add the cost to the quote.
- Send the quote to the client.
- If client accepts, ask for a 30% deposit on acceptance. 30% on acceptance of design and remainder on transfer to client.
- If needed purchase domain name else point client’s domain name to your hosting.
- Purchase a hosting plan from either Cloudways or Kinsta
- Build the website on the hosting – preferably on the staging server.
- Send completed design to client. Usually I just send a link to the site via email.
- Upon acceptance and payment of outstanding fees, make the site live.
And that is it. A basic guide on how to start a web design business using Divi. Hopefully this helps spark your entrepreneurial side and leads to many successful web design projects.