Web Design for Graphic Designers

Web Design for Graphic Designers

Hey all!

Marc from Pagemend here –

In my career as a web developer and designer, I’ve met a lot of graphic designers who freelance or own their own small agencies. I actually partner with a lot of them because they don’t have the capabilities to make websites – they can usually design them but that’s about as far as it goes.

And that makes sense. The skills needed to design a website are very different from programming one. It’s different sides of the brain – creative vs logical/analytical. So, it makes sense that most graphic designers stay in their lane of design.

But what about the graphic designers who want to do web design? There are a lot of options out there and now is an especially good time with so many DIY website builders and no-code options coming out. Just about anyone can make a website – even a designer.

Let’s cover some of the most common things my graphic designer friends ask me:

What to do if a client asks you for website design as a graphic designer

So, you’re a graphic designer and your client just asked you for a website? Well, you should take them up on the offer (assuming you know how to do it).

First, celebrate that your client wants to give you more money and more work! Yay, that’s great. I love when clients ask me to do more things for them. It means we have a great relationship and they trust me/you.

But what happens if you’re not the best at web design but still want to take on the project?

Well, that’s what this article is for. It can be a guide for what to do when a client asks you for website design.

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In general, you’ll probably want to make sure that the website they want is simple enough that you can do it. Something that a website builder can handle that doesn’t have a lot of custom functionality.

If you know how long it takes for you to make a website, you should be able to accurately give them a quote and get the project started.

If you’re a graphic designer and you don’t know how to make websites or the client has asked for something too complicated, then maybe it would best to find someone else to make the site.

You have a lot of options here for when it comes to making website as a graphic designer.

How to sell a website as a graphic designer

As usual, you’ll want to sell the benefits of a new website. Just like how I do it with my agency. Being a graphic designer, you’ll already be working on the print or other design stuff so it’s highly likely your client will already ask you if you can make them a website. If you’ve practiced with the above website builders, the answer should be yes.

But how will you know you’re ready? Well, you should probably practice a lot. Find websites you want to try to make and make them! Just make a bunch before you actually sell one.

If you’re already well versed in how to make websites as a graphic designer, then you can just focus on the sale.

There are a few ways you can sell a website and I’m going to give you a few specific points you can bring up during a chat with a client. The benefits of a new website, the issues with their current one, and why they need one (if they don’t have one).

The benefits of a website

You’ll want to talk about how a website is their 24/7 business card that can bring things like credibility, trust, and important information. The main benefit is that the website is a tool that can help bring more business to them. It really is the best marketing tool out there.

A website provides your business with a powerful online presence. It allows you to show off your business, products and services and make it easy for customers to buy. It helps you to build your brand, grow your customer base and increase sales.

The issues with their current one

If they already have a website and you’re designing new things for them, maybe the new things don’t match the current website. That’s a perfect time to suggest a new website!

Otherwise, there are a bunch of other things you should check to make sure the website is the best it can be. Pagemend can help identify these things, but here’s a brief list:

  • Mobile Responsiveness
  • Broken Images or Links
  • Slow Loading Times
  • Outdated Design & Code

As a business owner, I wouldn’t want a website with any of the above issues – and hopefully your clients wouldn’t either.

Why they need a website

If your client doesn’t have a website, give them a few reasons to have one! I already went over a bunch of these reasons in the benefits section, but here are a few more.

A website is a digital storefront, customer service center, and online storefront. You need to be there whenever your customers are online. Having a website gives you a one-stop-shop for everything you need to promote your business online – so it’s a no-brainer to have one.

You need a website to get your products and services in front of people.

But how do you actually sell one?

Let me go over the basic logistical aspects of selling a website. How my agency works, is that we get detailed information about what the client is looking for. We list out all the pages they want and then have a general plan of what should be on each.

We then price out the project based on the tie we think it will take to make the site. We send over the list of pages with a price quote in a proposal and then send a contract. If the client agrees, then they sign and send us a check for half the cost.

We have a timeline with milestones that we stick to and strive to meet. Sometimes, the client is slow to get us things so it takes longer – but being a graphic designer, you already know about that…

Once the website is complete, we push it live by connecting their domain name to their hosting (or, website builder in your case).

And that’s it.

How much to charge for website design as a graphic designer

I get asked this a lot. But, “how much should I charge”? “If I’m a graphic designer, how much would I charge for website design?”

Well, I’m not going to tell you exactly how my agency does it, but I can give you a guideline for what I would do in your position.

By now, you should know how long it will take you to make a website. You should know that 1 page might take you 2-4 hours (or however long). If you know the length of time, then just multiply by your hourly rate. You do have an hourly rate in mind right?

Well, let’s say you have a 5 page website. The homepage will take you 6 hours and the other  4 pages will take 3 hours each. That’s 18 hours to make this website.

If your hourly rate is $50, then you should charge $900 MINIMUM. Don’t forget to include time to tweak stuff and other time spent emailing and talking with the client.

So, this website would easily be over $1000.

Website builders for graphic designers

If you’re not the type to program and you’re not looking to do CSS or other website language work, a website builder is what you’re going to want to look for. A website builder, in general, lets you build a website without needing to code through a nice visual interface.

There are TONS of options when it comes to this. Like, a ton. So many options. What is best for you really comes down to what you’re comfortable with. Most of them function almost the same way with almost the same or very similar drag and drop options for building a page.

So, it’s probably best to just try a few and find out what works for you. I’ve listed a bunch below that are my favorite. They are not in any particular order but I will say which ones I like more.

Keep in mind, these will only work for your website if you just need static pages with information on them. Most of these will not give you advanced functionality and fancy things. They’re limited to basic websites but that’s going to cover almost any website a graphic designer would need to make. Though, most do have ecommerce capabilities, which is advanced.

Just make sure whichever one you go with has what you’re looking for out of the box. Here are some things you can do to help you choose which is best for you:

  • Check their themes or templates for one close to what you want.
  • Check for functionality – E.G. if you need a calendar, make sure they offer that.
  • Check the price, duh!
  1. Squarespace
  2. Shopify (For ecommerce)
  3. Webflow (Currently my favorite)
  4. WordPress (Always a good option but not newbie friendly)
  5. Wix (Not great)
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Maintenance and ongoing services for websites as a graphic designer

I’m talking about stuff you can do for your client’s website after it has launched. Depending on what platform you went with, there will be different things you can do.

Mainly, for WordPress, you can offer updates, upgrades, and security. WordPress.org is an open-source platform that you are responsible for. They don’t provide support for that version so you have to do everything for it once you launch it. With how fast tech changes, you’ll need to do this – or the website might literally break.

For the other website builder options, they generally take care of it for you so the best thing you can offer there is content updates (and, SEO if you know that).

Say your client runs a blog but they don’t have time to post the article itself – that’s where you come in.

Or, they need a phone number updated…you get the idea.

For some clients, I offer refreshes every year.

It’s really up to you, but definitely keep the relationship going with your client and make sure they know a website is a tool that can transform. It’s different than a print piece that can’t be changed.

When to outsource website design as a graphic designer

If you bit off more than you can chew or you want to make some money as the middle man, then outsourcing is for you.

It doesn’t need to be outsourced to someone overseas – you can partner with another agency that specializes in websites. My agency does that with a few graphic design agencies in our area.

Most web agencies would be more than happy to work out a deal with you if you ask. Or, you can go the easy route and hire someone on Upwork. Please, though, stay away from Fiverr. You’re not going to get quality on there.

The most important times to outsource would be if you’re not confident in your web design skills as a graphic designer or if you’ve never made a website before. Obviously, you’ll either want to pass on the project or find someone you can outsource to.

Another time would be if the client wants something complicated or advanced. Most website builders have advanced functionality for ecommerce, blogs, and forms – but it’s the basics and only the stuff that strictly defines those things. Nothing more.

If your client wants more than that or has specific requests, you’ll want to find someone to help you with that.

Things to keep in mind when designing websites as a graphic designer

A website is a complicated system made up of other complicated systems. Using a website builder makes it as simple as possible by making it as simple as possible. This means they limit what you can do with them.

This means that you are limited in what you can provide to your client. If you’re going to make a website for a client as a graphic designer, you’ll want to make sure that expectations are clearly set. As a graphic designer, you should be well versed in specific scope of works. You’ll want to do your best to do this with any website you plan to make for a client.

Pagemend is a tool that can help you find issues with any website you make for a client. As a graphic designer, I wouldn’t expect you to know everything that Pagemend scans for, which is why I made it!

Find Website Issues Before Your Customers Do

Peace-of-mind website scanning with results shown in plain English for those who don't speak nerd and have other things to do.

Scan My Website. Free!

Author:
I've been making websites since I was a kid and now have over 20 years of experience building them for myself and my agency. I noticed patterns of problems that all business owners experience with their websites. Problems that most business owners don’t even know matter, let alone how to address. I built Pagemend to help people stay on top of their websites.

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