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Freelance Web Designer - Quick Start Guide Step 4 | 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 4

Date January 29, 2008


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Build Your Design Template Stockpile

As you research the different templates sites, consider choosing one or two for your primary template resource . I recommend choosing a site with a yearly subscription. Your initial fee will be low compared to buying templates separately. The bonus is that you will be able to download new designs as they become available.

Before you get download happy and save every design to your hard drive, look at the depth of designs offered. Are some designs the same, only differing in color? You can always change colors. A site that offers the same template with different colors is shorting you what you really need—different designs.

Look for sites that offer a variety of designs for a variety of industries. Have you decided to offer Web design services to floral companies? Do any of the template sites have floral or floral like designs? If not, move on. You don’t need a thousand different templates, or a hundred for that matter. I started with ten simple designs and moved up from there.

I devoted two hours a week researching new templates after I built my initial cache. Be very picky in this process. Choose simple, clean, and “explainable” designs. Your value will be in your ability to explain why certain designs work better than others.

Choose Your Service Offerings

What will you offer? Design? Hosting? If you don’t like the domain search and registration process, stay with design only. A word of caution, though. If your clients are new to the online world, they will at least need advice on how they can perform these functions without you.

My advice is to offer enough service to move their Website completely online. They need to know that you will stay with them until they can type in their own domain.

Keep your offerings simple, and few. Believe it or not, more choice is not necessarily better. The Web design process is complex if you’ve never been exposed to it. Give your clients a break by offering them only what they need.

Choose Your Web HostAfter registering a domain name and choosing a design template, your next goal is to find a reliable host. If you registered your domain at 1and1.com, they have affordable hosting options.For $4.95 a month, you can host a small site in a matter of minutes. If you don’t require databases, special scripting, or an elaborate e-commerce solution, the 1and1 hosting menu offers the best value.

My primary hosting company is Host Gator. I’ve stayed with Host Gator because they provide world class e-mail customer service. They have answered every question or request I’ve had in less than 24 hours. If you need considerable hand
holding, this is the company to choose. Their basic, monthly hosting package is $10 per month.

Go Live!

After you’ve chosen your host, you’ll officially put your site online. In short, you need to “file transfer” your site to your hosting company. Web Strike details everything you need to make this happen (support.webstrikesolutions.com). You will need an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client (check www.ipswitch.com for PCs and www.fetchsoftworks.com for Mac). Testing is the key.

Transferring files is easy, making sure everything works is easy too—just tedious. I’ve made this step short intentionally. Because each hosting provider has a different process, I can’t explain each one in enough detail to make you feel comfortable to tackle the process on your own. I will say that if you decide to use GoDaddy as your domain registrar, they have a seamless hosting option. All you do is select the hosting option when you first signup and register your domain. They take care of a few, back-end details while you take care of uploading your files.

Plan Globally, Market Locally

After your site is live, your next action should be to start your marketing program. Whether you
live in a small town or large city, the entire globe is a potential customer. But, you need to crawl before you walk. Start locally. If you’ve chosen law firms as your niche market, you can probably reach every law office with minimal cost. No need to buy a direct mail list-hit the phone book and Web. You’ll gain confidence as you build your list. The single, most powerful way to market your business is to offer a free newsletter. Your job is to be a one-stop resource for your clients. Delivering a value added, information packed newsletter will certainly build your reputation and your bank account.

Go to Step 5

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Related posts:

  1. Freelance Web Designer - Quick Start Guide Summary
  2. Freelance Web Designer - Quick Start Guide Step 5
  3. Freelance Web Designer - Quick Start Guide Step 2

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