Are you looking to start your own WordPress web design business? At WPBeginner, we often get asked for advice related to starting a web design business. Aside from a lot of hard work, patience and dedication which are all needed for starting your WordPress web design business, here are the top 7 things you must do.
If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.
1. Business + Accounting Setup
Keeping a record of all your financial transactions is crucial for the success of your business. However you don’t want to spend your time on managing spreadsheets and balancing books because you need to be focused in your business.
Thankfully there are tools that help you automate your accounting and save you money.
We recommend using Freshbooks. It is the most user-friendly accounting tool for non-accountants. You can easily send invoices, receive payments, connect it with your bank account, and automatically track every transaction.
Freshbooks also allows you to track time and bill clients for the number of hours you worked. This feature is particularly useful if a client wants to hire you on hourly basis.
2. Choose Your Framework
Choosing a theme framework to work with will help you reduce your work and speed up your overall development process.
There are several WordPress theme frameworks available. See our detailed guide on what is a theme framework (pros, cons, and more).
It’s also good to have a set of WordPress plugins that you install and keep them as part of your blueprint. Finding plugins that do specific tasks will help speed up the process as well.
3. Always Backup Everything
Losing data is costly and it’s even worst if the data belongs to a client. You should invest in setting up a comprehensive backup system for your entire development environment.
If you plan on hosting your client websites, then you need to invest in backing up client data as frequently as possible.
You should also make backups of your development environment and enable autosave on all your code editing tools and software. Using revision control system like Git can save you from a lot of trouble in the future.
4. Choosing The Best Hosting For Your Web Design Business
Your clients will need your help and advice on choosing the best WordPress hosting. Often smaller web design agencies host client websites by themselves which can provide an extra revenue stream, but it comes with it’s own hassles.
We strongly recommend against hosting your client websites on your server. Instead you should partner with a hosting company that you like to work with and ask for an affiliate deal.
This can turn out to be quite lucrative because certain WordPress hosting companies offer a great affiliate program.
InMotion Hosting pays up to $125 for each sale. They offer business hosting, VPS, dedicated server, and even managed hosting. Join InMotion Hosting Affiliate Program
WPEngine pays up to $200 for each sale. They are a specialized WordPress hosting company and only offered a managed solution which is a bit pricier. Join WPEngine Affiliate Program.
Partnering with a reliable hosting provider allows you to delegate tasks that you are not good at, managing servers, while still earning the extra money.
As the number of your clients grow, you will thank us for this advice.
5. Surround Yourself With Great People
At first it might feel like you can do most of the work on your own, and you probably can. However as your business grows, you will need more people. Our founder and CEO Syed Balkhi often says:
If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.
You can hire someone to work with you permanently, or you can build strategic partnerships with freelance contractors and other agencies.
You cannot be a master of everything, so trying to do everything on your own can ruin your web design business before it can even start. Find the people who have the skills and knowledge that you lack and delegate work to them.
Specialization is key for the success of your web design business.
It may take some time to find people you can count on, but in the long run it will be totally worth your patience and time.
6. Returning Customers
Build relationships with your clients on a more personal level. Take interest in their business, their ambitions and try to go out of your way to find out how you can help.
All businesses are about people and valuing people makes them feel good not only about you but also about themselves.
You should always be honest, generous, kind, respectful and graceful in the way you conduct your business. Once a job is done, don’t become a stranger. You should follow up with your clients to see how things are working out for them. Stay connected with them on social media and show genuine interest in people.
These small acts of kindness will bring back more business for you than you can imagine. It will also encourage your clients to help you connect with possible leads.
It is a win win for all, and it will cost you nothing but a few minutes of your time every day. You can also send your clients gift baskets on holidays because everyone loves gifts.
7. Build an Email List
Believe it or not, email is the most powerful and cost effective marketing tool. 70% people visiting your website will probably never find their way back to your site again. This means you have just a few seconds of their time to convince them into hiring you.
Sometimes a user might be interested in your services because they are not yet ready to make a decision. You can offer them a chance to subscribe to your email list by giving them an exclusive resource that can help them make the decision.
See our guide on why you should start building your email list right away and start converting your site visitors into paying customers.
Once you have built your email list, make sure to engage with your subscribers on a regular basis by providing them valuable insights and resources.
We hope this article helped you start your web design business with proper tools and high spirits. You may also want to check out our guide on 23 top tools for WordPress freelancers, designers, and developers.
If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.
Hi I just want to know regarding the domain. I work primarily in WordPress. My client has a domain but isn’t on wordpress. How do I get them on wordpress so I can actually update their site?
WPBeginner Support says
It would depend on what their site is built with currently, as an example: https://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-properly-move-from-weebly-to-wordpress/
Kanishka sahu says
Thanks for that’s amazing knowledge
I am wordpress website design or dev I want part time job but problem isi dont know where I go for that plz help me
Mark Smith says
Thank you for the post. It will be very helpful while doing.
Wow! Thank you very much for sharing this insightful information. I am now building my own WordPress Web Design team and your information really helps a lot. I am looking for more.
– NZT Interactive
Jon Coppock says
Thanks for the outline. I’m starting to develope my wordpress skill set for the very purpose of freelancing, so this article holds a lot of value fo me.
Core Overload says
Great post! Two questions for you.
-How do you manage email for your clients?
-How do you manage domain registration for your clients?
Currently, the client has either registered their own domain OR needs me to do it for them. I am using BlueHost for WordPress hosting. Email I am using BlueHost right now, but I’m not exactly clear on how the hosting + email + domain registration all ties in.
Nice article, much appreciated tips.
Wow!!! Nice post. About the hosting plan you talked about, how about acting as a reseller to a hosting company, is that also okay?
WPBeginner Support says
Depends on your business goals.
Thanks for the tips.
I guess they are a reminder for me, especially at this time
am thinking of starting up web design business.
Nancy Hildebrandt says
This is really helpful. Would you have a recommendation on how to handle domain name registration? I’m going to explore a niche market of really small businesses who don’t really want to touch a computer. Do you advise billing them for the domain registration but make them the domain registrant?
I think 3) and 5) are essential
Though I’m against freshbooks as it leaves its brand name, I think you should suggest the best wordpress plugin to do this job.
Then I wonder why most clients don’t want to invest in marketing after a design is complete, some think that marketing is a part of designing!
All in all thanks for your post.
Azman Nabi says
I was looking for a similar guide and then your newsletter popped up. Great timing! As I just set up my new domain for a WordPress based web design business.
And One thing, how is “DazzlingDrop.com” looks for a web design based business.