Freelance Website Design Job Search Tips

To start finding freelance website design jobs, create a professional portfolio that is accessible on the Internet, decide the services you will offer, bid on projects and network.

Move Your Portfolio to the Web

Designers need a portfolio. A portfolio, even a few initial samples, is the way for a freelancer to get work. Submitting samples and creating a very basic portfolio is essential for making the most of the online freelancing job boards. The link to your online portfolio should also be added to your business card, which you will distribute to potential clients while networking or as a follow-up to an interview.

A personal portfolio also allows you to control which samples of your work are public and belong to you. In other words, the identity of a web designer is usually unknown. There may even be some work in your past that you may not want to have prominently displayed on your professional portfolio, such as completed projects that don’t come out as designed, or which have been mismanaged by the organization that ordered the site. By creating your own personal portfolio, you exercise some control over the work associated with your name.

Specialist or Generalist?

There are hundreds of different skills, programs and techniques that web designers will tinker with or master in their career. Some can even make a career out of wed design fixes, such as retouching or standardizing images and files for inclusion on websites, or debugging forum boards. Other designers try to offer as many services as possible with the hope that this will give them to the most contracts and keep the wolf, as well as boredom and burnout, away from the door.

Those that go the generalist route will have the asset of many different skills, less likely to dry up if there is a sudden transition from a service or program offered by web designers that no client wants to buy. On the specialist side, a master in one skill can begin to turn out projects in their sleep because they are so efficient. Deciding to go specialist or generalist early in a freelance career is not effective: as you begin freelancing, explore, learn as much as you can and refine your practices based on the strengths that you possess.

Bidding on Projects

Freelance website designers can start by bidding on projects on a freelance design site, such as ifreelance.com. On this site, and others like it, the freelance website designer builds a personal profile that describes the services that the designer offers, their locale and if they are available for onsite work or freelance only. iFreelance allows offers space to upload an online portfolio, as well as links to projects. Like most freelance sites, clients that use the services of the designer can also post reviews of the work received, which should encourage more employers to consider that designer when the designer bids on projects.

Many designers will list themselves on a variety of freelance web work sites. Gather these different profiles together on your portfolio site to stay organized. It will also drive traffic to your freelance profile listings.

Networking for Freelancing

Not all website design projects will come as an email request or a bid: some clients will come because they have heard of you or met you in person at an event. Partnerships with designers, or other specialists in the field, such as programmers, graphic designers and project managers, will lead to additional work. A profile on a professional networking site, such as LinkedIn, as well as participation in online professional groups and face-to-face meet-ups will help other professionals think of you first when they are looking for a capable designer. Make sure you attend relevant professional events, take friendly professionals out for coffee and engage in professional exchanges so you stay at the top of their “call first” list when a client has a new project.