How to Start a Productized Web Design Business in 2024

Learn how you can start a productized web design business, offering your clients a complete solution to their digital marketing without the hassle of outsourcing the work.

by Mizanur Rahman • 22 April 2024

A productized web design business creates recurring revenue. And recurring revenue happens when you offer recurring value to clients. For that, you need a systematized and repeatable product. A product that is focused on a niche. It is the difference between "I am a web designer" and "I provide web design services for startups."

Instead of treating your web design business as a service, you should look at it like a product that solves a specific problem for a particular set of clients. The benefit here is that it reduces the effort on your part and eliminates the need to constantly sell your services.

9 Steps to Launch Your Productized Web Design Business

Setting up your own productized web design business is exciting and challenging in equal parts. To help you succeed in this commitment, here is a 9-step process you should consider.

1. Begin with a Plan

Productized Web Design Business Plan

The foundation of a web design business is a solid plan. Create it in phases, beginning with an executive summary that explains your:

  • Organizational structure (if you are building an agency)
  • A general overview of your services and their features
  • The vision and mission of your brand

The executive summary is important for two reasons. One, it acts as a bumper that keeps your web design business in the right lane. Two, since it outlines the business's purpose and services, it is an excellent document to share with investors in the event of expansion.

The next phase of your business plan is market research on:

  • Competitors: the services they offer and how they promote them. 
  • Segments and Trends: use tools like SEMrush and Google Trends to discover the untapped or underserved markets.

The research would help determine the services and specialties you deem most profitable. For example, website redesigning, site development, maintenance, or related services like search engine optimization and content creation.

Finally, create a list of short-term and long-term goals you want to achieve. Ensure the list is SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Why is it important to set goals? They put explicit targets in front of you, which helps set the right course for the business. For instance, financial goals can support decisions like spending on setting up the web design business and how much to charge clients to break even.

2. Define your Client Segment

The trick to productizing your web design business is choosing a niche. When a design business caters to different types of customers, the projects vary, which means processes cannot be repeated. There is barely any commonality between clients, as each has different feature requirements.

However, when you pick a segment, the requirements remain the same. For instance, if you decide to create landing pages for artists, you know they will need the following:

  • A gallery highlighting their work
  • A form for inquiries and bookings
  • An integrated payment system
  • A section for customer testimonials

By identifying the customer segment you want to cater to and their fundamental needs, it is more manageable to productize your web design business. And that is not it. It is easier to build sites, complete projects on time, and market your business. A generic statement like "We build stunning sites for all" is not as effective in selling your product as this: "We build sites for artists that highlight your creativity and boost commissions."

How do you narrow it down to the right customer segment? You conduct a market analysis and identify which client base will benefit the most from your services and skills. Creating a buyer persona that includes metrics like income, age, and interests can help ease the process of defining your potential clients.

3. Create your pricing strategy

One of the hardest challenges of starting a productized web design business is determining the cost and pricing. If you are a relatively new web designer, you are likely to undercharge clients because impostor syndrome is accurate, and it is the first misstep you can make when setting up a business.

When you pick rates less than what you deserve, you set the business up for failure, and it will take a long time to be profitable. So, ensure you reach a fair price by researching how much your competitors charge and what your monthly expenses will be.

For example, assume the going rate for designing a website is $5,000, and you expect to complete 3 projects monthly. You pay software fees, rent, utilities, web hosting fees, marketing costs, insurance fees, employee salaries, and estimated taxes every month.

The figure that comes from deducting these expenses from your total monthly revenue is your profit margin. You need to be comfortable with that number. Remember that it need not be a precise figure; a ballpark estimate is enough to build your pricing.

4. Formalize your web design business with legalities

Productized Web Design Business Legal Documents

Setting up a business means dealing with legal and administrative responsibilities. First, establish your business identity by buying a license and registering the web design company for local and state taxes. You can register as a sole trader or a limited liability company.

Then secure a business insurance policy based on how much you charge for your services and the kind of clients you cater to.

If needed, hire an attorney to do due diligence and protect your web design business. Also, conduct research using the state government website to ensure you are in complete legal compliance.

If you plan to run an agency, the administrative tasks will include setting up employee contracts, salaries, perks, and benefits.

If you plan to run the ship solo then bookkeeping would be crucial to managing cash in and outflow.

While you can hire a professional accountant to manage your expenses and taxes, tools like Xero, FreshBooks, and QuickBooks are excellent.

Once linked with your business's bank account, they automatically keep a record of all transactions and are also useful in generating invoices.

One last legal step you need to take care of is a business contract. Delayed or no payments, as well as scope creep, are very real drawbacks of running your own web design business.

An iron-clad agreement ensures that both parties are clear on the scope of the work, timelines, and payments.

So, get a web design contract in place and keep your sanity and reputation protected.

5. Create your own web design business website

Create your productized web design business website

A website is a must-have for any web design business. It allows potential customers to learn more about the services and products you offer quickly and acts as an essential promotional tool to help you grow your brand presence and reach out to new customers. With a good website, you can showcase your work and highlight the unique benefits you offer compared to competitors, helping you build customer trust.

How do you make your potential clients feel, "I want something similar for my site" with your business website?

  • Make it visual.
  • Make it easy to navigate.
  • Make it optimized.

The goal should be to make them willing enough to buy your design at a price point you set. That means focusing on the copy too.

  • Make it compelling.
  • Make the offering clear.
  • Make it absolutely error-free.
  • Make it personal with a logo and tagline.

Besides this, you need to have a detailed pricing section or page and a contact form so interested clients can reach out. Integrating a payment gateway is another option, especially if you want the web design business to grow. There are plenty of payment tools you can consider, like Stripe and PayPal. 

However, if you want to build a professional website, you should check out the following blogs.

👉 Learn How to Create a Website

👉 Explore The Best Website Design Trends of 2024

6. Showcase your portfolio

A portfolio is crucial to starting a web design business because it showcases to potential clients your skills and experience and which gives them an idea of what to expect. So, it’s essential to build one that caters to the niche and customer segment you have chosen.

Get in touch with all your previous customers and get their permission to make the site you designed for them part of your portfolio. Also, ask for testimonials. For those with no past experience, volunteer your services to friends, family, and others or create a personal project.

Once you have got a bank of examples, display the very best, so it makes a strong case of why a client should hire you.

7. Set up your business processes

A productized web design business is one where you don’t have to diverge from services. You can repeat the same thing again and again for each new client.

For this, you need to develop a process for each task, from onboarding to handover.

  • Create questionnaires, timelines, and feedback guidelines and share them during onboarding.
  • Create development process templates to make management simpler.
  • Design mockups and templates for landing pages, sites, and apps.
  • Craft a client site launch process to double-check that everything is ready to go live.

There are more processes and tasks you can "productize." So, keep asking yourself how you can make any part of your web design business repeatable.

8. Network and establish your online presence

The website and the portfolio are no-brainers. Both are essential to converting prospects into paying clients.

However, as a web design business owner, you have to do more, and one of the chores within that is finding new clients.

  • Making sure that your website is search engine optimized and you rank high for keywords like "web designers near me" or "landing page designers" is one step.
  • Another is adding content to your business website. Informative articles, posts, videos, etc. on web design and related fields can maximize your exposure by establishing you as an authority on the topic. They also go a long way in adding credibility to your web design business.
  • Use guest posts on relevant sites to increase traffic to your site.
  • Find forums and web design-related sites and add your thoughts to discussions or comments under posts.

Social media is just as important to increasing the visibility of your web design business as SEO.

  • Share the link to your site on your personal social channels.
  • Create separate LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram accounts for your business.
  • Actively post on these dedicated accounts.
  • Email marketing, especially newsletters, can help establish awareness and promote your business.

Networking in real life is one more step any web design business owner can take to get their foot in the door. Look for communities for your customer segment.

For example, if you plan to create sites for artists, search for local meetups or art workshops. Then actively participate in them to spark conversations and build a network.

9. Learn and grow your skills

Once you start a productized web design business, you need to make it thrive, and its success depends upon your skills.

If your expertise as a web designer stagnates or becomes outdated, your business will begin to slow down.

So, make time to educate yourself, learn more tools, and keep your skills razor-sharp. The world of design changes fast, and you need to change with it.

While no-code website builders have made sure that you don’t need to know any programming language, you still need to build on:

  • User experience skills
  • Visual and aesthetic sense
  • Soft skills like communication and management

Besides these, constantly work on honing interpersonal skills. They go a long way towards earning a good reputation for your web design business.

Make it Easier to Build a Productized Web Design Business with Dorik

There are many advantages to building a productized web design business, from easier selling to having a predictable cash flow.

Since the model is repeatable, you can hire others to do most of the work. Turning prospects into clients is effortless because all the moving parts are already in place.

But in the cold light of the morning, starting any business, not just a web design agency, is tough. Thankfully, with no-code website-building platforms like Dorik, half of the challenge is eliminated for web designs.

With a fully-featured content management system and white-label solutions, you can start your web design business in no time.

You don’t have to worry about custom domains or the price of adding more pages to a client site or learning SEO. The tools offer all of that and more.

Moreover, collaboration is easier. So, you make powerful, responsive sites and landing pages for happier clients.

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AUTHOR
Mizanur Rahman

Mizanur Rahman, the visionary founder and CEO of Dorik, has revolutionized the web development industry with his user-friendly platform. His expertise in technology and commitment to making web design accessible for all have been key to Dorik's success. Rahman is renowned for his innovative leadership and dedication to nurturing new talent in the tech world.

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