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Freelance Web Designer - Quick Start Guide Step 1 | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

Freelance Web Designer - Quick Start Guide Step 1

Date January 28, 2008


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Choose a Niche

The single most important factor in your Web design success is your target market. You can’t market Web design services to every business or consumer.

What’s the point of having the best software, computer, and design skills if nobody hears you? It’s like forgetting to hitch the horse to the wagon. Everything else can be perfect but you’ll never get started. And you risk losing the passion and desire that got you to this point in the first place.

The bottom line is that you have to choose a niche and stick with it. Another mistake budding designers make is choosing too many niches to serve or no niche at all. Focusing on several niche industries at once will likely spread you too thin. Choose a single niche, then market, market, market. To get your creativity flowing, I’ve included these five design niches:

1. Real estate Web designer
2. Literary (Author) Web designer
3. Law Firm Web designer
4. Church Web designer
5. Government Web designer

How do you find an industry that’s worth targeting? My first stop is the Yellow Pages. While not all inclusive, the phone book will give you a general idea of the industry demographics in your community.

My city phone book has more than 50 pages of attorneys. Likewise with doctors. Used car dealers, specialty manufacturers, and boutique gift shops are all prime niche markets. Another option is to choose a micro niche—a niche within a niche. Instead of doctors, try pediatricians, or cardiologists. Instead of gift shops, try specialty florists, gift basket shops, or toy stores.

I also buy the Sunday paper and a weekly tabloid. At this point, I’m looking for advertisements. If a business or nonprofit has a Website, they’ll include it with the ad. I write down every Web address I find for reference and study material. You can learn a lot about your competition using this method and what your clients might expect in terms of design style.

Repeat this step as necessary—it will develop your niche mindset and it’s fun!

Choose a Name

Contrary to popular belief, choosing a business name, and matching domain name, is a very important step in starting your business. In the Web design world, your online image is your most critical branding mechanism—at times your only branding mechanism.
Since you’ll be starting a niche freelance design business, your name should reflect this niche. Must your domain name be the same as your business name? Absolutely! Always try to find the domain that matches your business name—exactly. If the domain is not available, try another business name. If you choose a catchy business name, chances are, it’s already been snagged by someone else.

If you can’t find a good, matching domain, consider shortening or combining the business name to come up with several domain possibilities. This is critical. Whatever you choose, don’t make the domain name longer than your business name. Avoid common business titles such as “Inc”, “Co”, “Enterprises”, or “Associates”. Strive to make your domain name your business name, and vise versa.

Go to Step 2.


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Related posts:

  1. Six Tips for Choosing the Perfect Freelance Domain Name
  2. Freelance Web Designer - Quick Start Guide Summary
  3. Freelance Web Designer - Quick Start Guide Step 5

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