Competition within the web design industry is fiercer than ever, with more and more designers emerging every day. The need to stay one step ahead and offer something different represents a significant challenge to the industry.
Web designers need to think more about being multi-disciplined in order to ensure recurring income and supplement the design side of their business. Designers have a great opportunity to utilise their experience in areas such as copywriting, SEO, site maintenance and web hosting to offer more services and try to get customers to spend that little bit more (see our guide to the best web hosting for more on this). Web designers will have undoubtedly seen enough examples of all of these to give them an opinion on how to execute these services with most, if not all, having had to consider them when building their own site.
It’s not at all surprising that we’re seeing these changes, the economy is still stuttering and people are looking to save money wherever they can. We surveyed 1000 web designers, through designshack.net, about the state of the web design industry, and found that 78 per cent are finding work either more difficult or just as tough compared to last year.
Putting the economy aside, there are other reasons for seeing a statistic as negative as this one. Our survey echoed this: web designers agreed that not only has the overall quality of web design improved, but prices have fallen due to increased competition. Knowing this, designers are pre-empting a possible saturation point by expanding their business into other areas and looking to appeal to customers who want more than just a website.
A significant number of 'website management' companies have appeared, offering services such as site maintenance as well as SEO, marketing, copywriting and more. The very existence of these companies proves there is a market out there for customers who want the burden of running a website off them and onto the shoulders of more skilled individuals.
In the same vein, hosting clients’ websites through a reseller account has become more popular, with designers able to develop long lasting relationships after the initial job, as well as being in a prime position to additional services, like site maintenance.
Strangely, web designers who are looking to expand and offer more varied services to their clients are in the minority. Over half the individuals surveyed admitted to doing nothing to supplement their income, leaving a gap in the market for versatile designers who can provide more for their clients.
Some would argue that competition is healthy, and that the industry can become more valuable as a result. While to an extent this is true, it will continue to drive down prices. Those who can see the advantage of expanding into other markets and supplementing their business will find that they can compete on several different levels.