If you have experience building websites, you have the potential for a great side hustle or even the ability to leave your traditional 9-5 job behind for flexible, enjoyable self-employment.
But the biggest question for most people when evaluating how to make money building websites is how to get started. We’ll explain step-by-step how to get started and make a profit with building websites.
How Does Making Money with a Website Work?
In today’s digital age, just about every type of business needs a website. An astounding 88% of consumers research online before making a purchase. This is true for even in-store purchases, which means having a website is essential.
People skilled in website design can make money because not every business owner has the time or ability to create their own website.
Generally, the cost for building a website is a flat fee that you charge for setting everything up for the customer. Then you hand off the final product for them to manage or you can charge a monthly fee to manage the website moving forward.
Alternatively, you could build a website and use it to generate side income. The best way to do that is to set up ads and referral links that pay you for driving traffic and sales to third-party websites. This is known as affiliate marketing and can be lucrative if you can generate relevant traffic to your website. Many blog managers make money using this method.
Other ways to make money online include dropshipping or other forms of e-commerce. Dropshipping is when you partner with another organization to sell their goods on your website and they ship it to the customer. You don’t have to manage inventory or shipping methods on your own.
An e-commerce website that isn’t focused on dropshipping could sell a product that you create or crafted goods.
Why Should You Make Money by Building Websites?
Building websites is an extremely flexible and simple way to make money online. It’s a simple and enjoyable process that doesn’t require lots of equipment or expenses.
Doing it as a side job is easy because this type of work doesn’t require that you do it during normal business hours or spend tons of time on the phone with clients. Of course like any side hustle, it will take time away from leisure. But it could provide a way to save up for a large purchase, pay off debt or build an investment account.
Here’s a look at some of the main reasons to make money building websites for others.
Website building is a remote activity, which means you can do it from anywhere, any time. You are in total control to build your schedule and set timelines with your clients. If you choose to build websites as a side hustle, you might allow yourself a month to build a website. Or if it’s your main income, you might be able to work a bit faster, depending upon the number of clients you are working with.
And you can quote timelines based on events in your life, such as a vacation, moving, favorite sports season, etc. You’re in control to dictate how fast to work and how many projects to take on.
Less capital required
All you really need to build websites is a computer and internet access. If you already check this box you won’t have to spend any money getting started. If you don’t have a computer, you can get a good one for less than $1,000. Internet access typically ranges from $50-150 per month depending upon your provider.
Building websites is a much cheaper way to make money online compared to some other options that require building inventory or undergoing expensive training.
Demand is high
Currently, only 64% of small businesses have a website, but the total number of websites on the internet continues to grow at a steady rate. For website builders, that’s great news because it means a steady demand for your expertise.
An astounding 547,200 websites are added to the internet every day. That means that 380 new websites join the internet every minute. There’s no reason you shouldn’t make a profit off of that if you have the skills to do so.
7 Steps for Making Money Building Websites
Now that you know why building websites is a great way to make money online, we’ll explain the steps for how to make money building simple websites.
Step 1: Brush up on your website-building skills
Satisfying customers means delivering on promises. So before you start marketing your services, you’ll need to make sure you know what you’re doing. You can choose to focus on one specific platform and become an expert at that, or you can learn them all. This might require you to take specific training for platforms like Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, WordPress, etc.
Step 2: Build a portfolio
Before you can start charging money for building websites, you’ll need to prove your expertise. This means having a portfolio of previous work to showcase your skills. You might start with building a website for your new side hustle to showcase your skills.
Otherwise, you might need to offer your services for free or highly discounted to build your portfolio. If you can’t find someone willing to allow you to provide this service, set up sample websites. These sites might not drive any traffic or serve any purpose other than being a link you can send to potential clients when they express interest in your services.
Just be sure that the websites you showcase in your portfolio are modern, quality websites. Consider setting them up with key functionality like contact forms or pop-up boxes to show your breadth of expertise.
Step 3: Set your rates
Decide what you’ll charge for your services. You might start with considering how much you want to make per hour. On average, website designers charge $75 an hour. After you’ve determined your ideal hourly cost you can then evaluate how long it takes you to build a website to provide your clients with an accurate quote.
If you’re choosing to charge a flat rate, you might have different tiers for your services based on the complexity of the website.
The average price for building a website is $5,000 but factors such as e-commerce setup, numerous content pages or high-end features could make the website more expensive.
When you’re just starting out, you don’t want to be the most expensive option. Ideally, you should price your services in the median range for your area without skimping on the total amount you’ll take home for the work. As you build your portfolio, you can adjust your rates accordingly.
Step 4: Consider collaborations
Finding a local copywriter, designer or SEO specialist to collaborate with could expand your client pool and help you bundle services. Being able to offer a suite of services that satisfy the business owner’s total needs could help you earn more business.
When you collaborate with other local professionals, you also increase your chances of finding new business because you’ll all be prospecting for one another. This is a great way to get started with your first few customers.
Step 5: Build contracts and set clear expectations
Before you start taking on clients, you should consider how you’ll set project expectations. A contract can help outline what you’re agreeing to do for the customer, in what timeframe and for how much. But if you don’t want to invest in working with an attorney for this service, you might create your own document that outlines these terms simply.
This could be in a proposal template that you update for each new client you pitch your services to. Just be sure you showcase what functions the website will have, how many pages you’ll be creating, who is developing the content and when you’ll deliver the final project.
Outlining expectations and project exclusions early will help you avoid administrative nightmares and problems later.
Step 6: Start attracting clients
Getting your first clients is one of the biggest hurdles for getting started making money building websites. You have several options for seeking out new customers.
- Post on social media: Share with your social network that you’re now building websites. Post links to your portfolio to showcase your work. Consider becoming active within small business groups on LinkedIn and Facebook to reach beyond your existing network. Many people will express interest in needing a website within these groups, in which case you can post your portfolio and offer your services.
- Tell friends and family about your new service offering: Start sharing information about your new website-building business with your friends and family. While they might not need your services, they’ll know plenty of people who might. Word of mouth references are a fantastic way to get started.
- Find local businesses without websites: Look at Google listings for local businesses. If they don’t have a website associated with them, reach out to the business owner to share your expertise. For your first few clients, you might need to offer discounted rates for your services until you can build a referral network where business comes to you more easily.
- Networking events: Visit local networking events to meet other business owners. Go prepared with business cards with your portfolio website URL on them so that you can offer a memorable experience to people you meet.
- Join freelancing websites: There are plenty of websites that make it simple for small business owners to connect with freelancers with expertise in the realm they need help with. Just know that these websites will decrease your bottom line on projects because they get a percentage of your income or a fee for helping you connect with these new clients. Some great options include Upwork, Thumbtack, and Fiverr.
Step 7: Request reviews and referrals
Once you’ve completed your first project, request that the customer leave you a review. And encourage referrals to help you grow your business without spending money on advertising.
A simple way to allow for reviews is to create a Google My Business listing. This will also provide you good local visibility for business owners seeking your services.
Start Making Thousands of Dollars a Month
Building websites is an extremely lucrative business right now. You can easily make $5,000 a month as a side hustle, or leave your day job to become a full-time website builder to have a flexible career that allows you to work from home. It’s fast and simple to get started. Follow the steps listed above and start enjoying this fulfilling work.