Building A Social Following as a Web Designer

Working online provides a lucrative life schedule which many people have never experienced. Freelance web development, Internet marketing, and design jobs allow any industry professional to work from the comfort of their own home. But this also requires more dedication towards building a name for yourself and getting recognized by others in the field.

In this article I want to provide some tips for building an online social following. Being a web designer is tough and requires a lot of experience just to complete freelance jobs. But throw in the marketing side and you have a whole new set of issues. Hopefully these tips can alleviate the initial steps.

Setup a Common Brand

People want to find you in Google by looking through the same name and references. This could mean googling your real name, company name, or past project works. But whatever the branding you choose it should be common amongst all your networks.

Be sure to create a few social networking profiles for your brands. There is no need to join every new hit website as it launches. But take the time to consider where your target market can be found. I always use Twitter as a means of communication between other designers and developers.

paper design origami Twitter bird

But you may feel that smaller forums or bulletin boards are an easier way of networking. The importance lies in how you create these profiles and present yourself to the world.

Offer Some Goodies

It never hurts to build a few demo projects and release them onto the web for free. Other Internet users love working with custom built PSD and AI files. Graphics are a huge component to any successful website and this will definitely garner some attention.

Once you are using other social networks it is very easy to get your freebies out to the world. 365psd.com is one such example I can think works very well. But larger networks such as Twitter or Facebook will help through viral sharing methods. These types of freebies can really jumpstart credibility and building your name online.

365PSD free Photoshop downloads graphics

Aside from graphics you could also offer fully-coded website templates. There are some popular business models surrounding this product. But with the popularity of HTML5/CSS3 and many WordPress themes becoming open source, it’s really a huge market. The demand for free web templates is through the roof.

If you can’t publish your own work then try contacting some web design blogs online. Many bloggers or editors will be happy publishing your freebies to the site. It’ll bring in traffic and also help to build your name as a content publisher.

Provide Conversation

Other web designers love to learn new things and share their knowledge. If you’re getting into building websites either freelance or full-time, keep in touch with the community. This is a great way to expand your own knowledge and meet some really great people along the way.

The most straightforward way to meet others is by asking great questions. Thought-provoking questions will enhance the many different web communities and also give others a reason to help. You’ll notice that more specific questions will yield greater results.

Ask plenty of questions!

Plus with Google it’s now easier than ever to find answers for many difficult problems. Advanced web development techniques can be put together through Stack Exchange and similar web forums. And all of these questions are not of robot origin – they have been asked & answered by real human beings! It goes to show how exciting our modern Internet era has become.

Speak your Mind Truthfully

I have gotten a lot of positive and negative feedback from readers over the years. But I feel that all this feedback is helpful for me to learn the lessons of being a web designer. Nobody is right 100% of the time, and we’ve all got lessons to be learned.

However this doesn’t mean you should hide yourself behind the normal trends in design. If you have passionate opinions get them out there! Other web designers will delightfully read your words and maybe even offer their own ideas in rebound. The feedback component is essential so that you can reflect on your thoughts and determine just what your message should be.

Over time you will build confidence in yourself and your artwork. Nobody starts out in web design making it big within 1 or 2 years. Dedicate yourself to the areas you find most passionate – Photoshop mockups, interfaces, mobile apps, marketing, web analytics, whatever gets you motivated to start working.

Top view of San Francisco sunset in the valley

If you don’t know enough about a topic to form an opinion that’s okay too. Your job as a web designer is to keep practicing and learning new techniques. You’ll be surprised how much you can pick up within a few weeks of studying.

Share Helpful Links & Resources

Aside from graphics or code freebies you can help other designers by sharing great articles. There are hundreds of new blog posts, galleries, and tutorials published online every day. Web designers are always itching to check out the latest HTML5/CSS3 techniques.

By using any of your favorite social networks you can share links from other design blogs. It’s a great reason for like-minded designers to follow you and keep up with your feed. Even in more recent startups like Pinterest you have a tremendous user base focused on web design.

Conclusion

Building an online following is something which happens over the course of a couple years. I cannot think of anybody who has literally risen to fame in just a few weeks or months. It will take a lot hard work, but this time will build your skillset and confidence. The best way to get yourself recognized is to persevere through all obstacles and keep your spirits up!

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