With the mass number of web designers available online, it’s hard to get recognized for your work and expertise. It often takes web designers years to build a following and start getting recognized as a trusted authority in the industry. However, there are many things that you can do to get ahead and build recognition quicker in 2017. Here are some strategies that you can use to get your name out there and become a leading industry expert.
1. Create and Distribute Quality Content
The best way to show your expertise is to teach other people what you know through your content. Quality content will go a long way whether it’s something simple as a web hosting setup video or something more challenging like a header design tutorial. You want to publish content that targets your ideal client as well as your peers in the industry. That will help you bring in more business while helping you connect with other industry leaders and influencers.
But you have to do more than publish great content. You want to promote your content using social media, guest blog posts, viral campaigns, giveaways, etc. Content marketing tactics like infographics, contests and web design template giveaways can really give you the exposure you need to build an audience for your site and stand out in the crowded space.
2. Create Case Studies
A case study is one of the best ways to establish your expertise. What you want to do with your case studies is to do a ‘before and after’ example of a website design project. Show the reader what the website looked like before you worked on it and show what it looked like after you’ve made your changes. Case studies are popular because people often look for real life web design projects they can model.
You want to make these case studies as detailed as possible. Include photos, screenshots, rough drafts, test results and anything else that can explain your thought process. You want to walk readers through the problems and challenges of the original website and talk in-depth about how you resolved them. This kind of content tends to do well as it often gets shared by enthusiasts, influencers and experts who’ve found it to be helpful.
3. Build an Extensive and Diverse Portfolio
You’re probably already aware of the importance of having a portfolio on your website. Your portfolio shows potential clients what you’re capable of and is often essential to landing the job. The problem is that many web designers have a portfolio but don’t put up enough of their past work to showcase their talents. You want to display a respectable amount of work to show potential clients that you’ve had an extensive work experience.
Another problem is that many web designers focus on the same types of websites/projects and their portfolio is very two dimensional. You want to show that you can handle many different types of projects as you never know what the client is looking for. If you don’t have experience with different projects, then branch out and try to get projects that are outside of your comfort zone. It’ll give you the experience you need while also helping you diversify your portfolio.
4. Diversify Your Expertise
At this day and age, you need to more than design websites. If your knowledge only extends to designing a great looking site and setting up web hosting, you need to gain other web design/development skills. This can include anything from user experience design, SEO, storytelling oriented design, web branding, to responsive design. Having expertise in other aspects of web design helps you set yourself apart from other everyday designers and conveys that you bring more to the table for your clients.
One expertise that is often sought after is conversion rate optimization. People often need help getting their site to convert more traffic into leads or sales. By honing your skills in conversion rate optimization, you can attract clients that are looking for conversion focused design and even charge for additional services.
5. Collaborate with Industry Influencers and Leaders
One of the best ways to quickly get your name out there is to associate yourself with established influencers and industry leaders. There are a wide variety of ways you can work with other professionals. This can include anything from podcasts, interviews, content exchanges, to speaking at industry events.
You want to be on the look for opportunities to get involved with the community and other professionals in the industry. When somebody reaches out to you, don’t turn down the offer because it isn’t compensated. Use it is a platform to get your name out there. At the same time, don’t wait for people to reach out to you. Come up with creative ways you can work with others in your industry.
6. Aggressive Marketing
Nothing cures slow sales like marketing. You have to make sure that you invest a good amount of your time and money into marketing. There are many ways to market yourself as a web designer including content marketing, social media, display advertising, site sponsorships, to offline events. You have to be aggressive with your marketing if you want to grow.
At the same time, you need to be focused with your marketing. You want to focus on one strategy until you’ve figured out a way to make it work. For example, if you’re working on content marketing, figure out how to get results from your efforts rather than trying to working on other strategies simultaneously or jumping ship if you don’t see results quickly enough.
This is a short list of some of the most solid strategies to get your name recognized as a web designer in 2017. The process can be challenging but you’ll start to get some traction and leverage that into results with enough persistence.