How Can You Become a Freelance Web Developer in 2023?

If you have experience in web development, becoming a freelancer for website development can be an easy way to make more money, more time on hobbies, become your boss, and spend worthy time with your loved ones. 

Being a freelancer, you can code for cash as a part-time job, side hustle, or full-time freelance business.

However, whatever the reason for your becoming a dev freelancer, it is better to go about it correctly to achieve your desired goals.

While doing it “wrong” can leave you counting pennies.

To help you out, in this guide, we have listed key areas which will help you jumpstart your web development career and become a successful freelancer.

What Is a Freelance Web Developer?

Freelance web developer offers their services for a fee, and usually, they don’t have expectations of working with the same client permanently; however, the relationship can be ongoing.

Additionally, they are responsible for delivering end products after discussing ideas with a client.

The typical web developer offers services like creating software, designing websites or applications, managing complex data, and ensuring that developed apps or websites are compatible with browsers and devices.

Since you are employed independently, you can work from anywhere, from a coffee shop to a hotel or even while traveling. You only need a reliable internet connection and a personal computer.

You can work on multiple projects and cater to local and international clients. Becoming your boss allows you to choose your rates and work schedules and select the clients you want to work with.

How to Become a Freelance Web Developer

Developers must remember that making money means providing value to others. That is why a web developer should possess both technical and design sensibility. Here are the 7 tips that will help you start web developer freelancing:

1) Find Your Niche

The first step while starting is to find the niche. It will help you know what type of projects you work on so that you can work on the required skills. Next, you need to find out what skills are useful. Web development has been categorized into the 3 sectors.

  • Front End Development
  • Back-End Development
  • Full Stack Development

Let’s understand them one by one.

Front End Development

Front End Development gives a structure to the data that appears in a graphical interface to optimize the user experience. They are in charge of defining the information displayer’s hierarchy and distribution: margins, colors, audiovisual resources, animations, etc. The result is what we all know: a web page.

Front-end developers ensure that visitors have a great experience. In addition, the front-end dev is responsible for the look and feel of the website that meets the client’s expectations and preferences.

To become a front-end developer, you must have good knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Apart from this, it is essential to know UI elements like buttons, and icons, to choose the right colors and pictures.

Back End Development

For some, backend programming is something that the end user does not see. Backend web development covers the logical aspects that power the front end. It is mainly responsible for access to the databases, processing the data entered by the users, and executing the scripts. It primarily deals with server-side activities such as APIs, databases, and logical codes.

A backend developer must be proficient in PHP, MySQL, Java, Python, and the framework associated with the language. Apart from staying above technical skills, a backend developer should also have good communication skills to communicate with front-end developers effectively.

Full-Stack Development

Within the technical profiles, full-stack developers are currently in demand. A full-stack developer works on the software’s front and back ends or applications. In a few words, full-stack developers are the one who gives life to the applications and web pages of the company; they create a connection between the user experience (UX) and the internal part of the servers.

2) Must Have Skills to Become a Freelance Web Developer

Apart from mastering technical and programming skills, it is always better to equip yourself with other skills to understand the client’s expectations and deliver excellent services. Therefore, here are some additional skills you work on to improve your credibility.

Technical Skills

Technical skills reflect your skills and make you more versatile and edge over competitors.

  • Responsive Design: Responsive design is creating web pages that fit well on all devices. For example, a web developer ensures that website pages can adjust screen sizes and viewports.
  • Testing And Debugging: Testing is performed to find errors, and debugging ensures removing or correcting the error in the testing process. As a web developer, you must ensure that websites and mobile apps are always fully functional.
  • Backend Knowledge: A developer’s job is to ensure that a program can deliver any requested data or information. Therefore, even if you are responsible for handling the front end, knowing the fundamental of servers, databases and cybersecurity are essential.
  • Search Engine Optimization: Apart from technical skills, developing marketing skills like SEO is also important. SEO ensures user easy navigation, mobile-friendly keeping the load time low, and adding site maps. All these efforts can help to improve the site’s rankings in search engines.

Soft Skills

Soft skills include interacting with colleagues, solving problems, and managing your work as a freelancer. You need to make good relationships with your clients, thus making soft skills efficiently understanding the client and their expectations. The are 3 key soft skills are analytics, interpersonal, and strong work ethics. Building these skills will help you fix problems and be a good listener and disciplined professional.

Business Skills

Understanding essential business concepts can benefit all professionals. For example, a freelancer web developer must possess critical thinking, time management, and strong communication skills. In addition, marketing yourself as a solid personal brand can help you get the right price and expand your network.

3) Build Up Your Experience, Project by Project

When you already have the skills required in a future freelancing programming career, now is the time to get experience. Experience helps you hone your skills and fill your portfolio. Experience will also help you judge your capabilities to know what you can do efficiently and what you cannot.

You can start with simple gigs to gain experience. For example, you can start by developing a simple website to local website for your friends. These free gigs can spread the word about your talent and convince your clients to hire you. 

  • Create A New Website: For any newbie, creating a website with the help of a content management system is the easiest way to showcase design skills. But you know the best part is you can start your freelance web development projects at a bare minimum cost.
  • Create Landing Page: A landing page drives the users toward the conversion by allowing them to click through specific actions. Designing a landing page help improve credibility, improve user experience and drive more conversions.
  • Redesign Or Improve an Existing Website: Outdated and unattractive web designs can negatively impact the user experience, thus creating room for improvement. First, search for the client whose website can benefit from the makeover. For your freelancing projects, you need to find a client that needs a website responsive on all devices.
  • Contribute To Open-Source Projects: Platforms like GitHub and CodePen can help you to collaborate and share ideas. This way, you can network with fellow coders and sharpen your skills. 
  • Work On Different Language Projects: To be a successful web developer, you should master coding skills and multiple programming languages. When you have an extensive working knowledge of web development, it is more likely that new opportunities will come your way, thus boosting your income.

4) Create An Online Portfolio

As a freelancer, you need to have a footprint on the internet to show your prospects your abilities, experiences, and achievements. That is why you need to have a portfolio website. 

During job interviews, it will help you track your career progress and show your credibility as a professional web developer. 

The best way to display this information is to create a website from scratch. If you are looking for an easy solution, you can check out a website builder to create a website easier. One of the best-known CMS is WordPress. It allows you to have deeper customization and more flexible content management. 

Here are some tips for building a web developer portfolio:

  • Use A Clear and Responsive Design: It ensures that your portfolio website is accessible on all screen sizes, improving your SEO. Please keep it simple and, most importantly clutter, free.
  • Set The Proper Domain Name: If there is a possibility, choose your name. Otherwise, try to get a unique domain that reflects you as a professional.
  • Link To Your Projects: Instead of describing your work, provide a table of contents with access to each project via GitHub. Be sure to provide context by explaining what you did and with whom or for whom you worked.
  • Show Only the Best Projects: Allowing potential clients and employers to see your work without spending too much time browsing multiple web pages will increase your chances of getting hired. 
  • List Your Specialized Skills: Since your goal is to stand out from the competition, showing off all the programming languages ​​​​and web development skills you have mastered will increase your credibility. Also, don’t forget to include any relevant certifications you’ve earned.
  • Give Your Touch Personality: Take advantage of the “About” page to share your passion, bio, and professional photo.

5) Build Your Brand

You must differentiate yourself from the competition as more people enter the freelance market. That is where personal branding comes into the picture. The more you can differentiate yourself, the better it will be to position yourself.

The easiest way to create a personal brand is by creating a personal website or blogging about whatever you learned. Interacting with the coding community helps you make yourself trustworthy. You can also submit guest posts or write for popular coding blogs or magazines.

You can use free platforms like medium and LinkedIn if you want to avoid setting up a blogging website. However, by showing up on these platforms, you can reach out to a wide audience already on the platform.

Actively helping others on popular programming subreddits or building your Quora profile by answering technical questions in your niche will also help you grow your brand as a coding expert.

You can help other popular programming communities on Reddit or Quora. Making your Quora profile by answering the technical questions in your niche will also help you gain personal branding as a coding expert.

Remember, many social media platforms have big communities and the right kinds of profiles. You can share your interesting content related to technical topics with people who might be interested.

6) Set Up Profiles on Freelance Portals

When you have the necessary skills, your portfolio, and your website, you have an idea of ​​managing the projects and organizing your work. Now it is time to start getting real clients. 

To get started, you need to create freelancing portal accounts to get clients looking for experts like you.

There are many portals where you can hire freelance web developer, but a few should be the first as they are the most popular and have the most work for you.

freelancer.com is the most popular portal for freelancers. The biggest advantages of this portal are secure payments and the large number of jobs posted daily.

fiverr.com is a freelance website where you can search for smaller coding jobs. It can be a great starting point and grow your portfolio.

upwork.com allows you to find freelance jobs from private clients and companies looking for a remote person to support them for some time. 

guru.com is also one of the largest portals where you can search for jobs using advanced filtering.

peopleperhour.com is another great freelancing portal where you need to set up an account first so that you have access to many clients to start your freelancing career.  

When you create your profiles on those websites, remember to make them as detailed as possible. Showcase your projects and skills, so your profile stands out and is easily visible to clients who wants to hire freelance developers.

7) Organize the Way You Work

As a freelancer, you must work independently, meaning you have to organize everything.

To better organize yourself, there are great freelancer tools; some are free, and some are paid. You can use Asana, Trello, or a simple Google Calendar for project management and task creation. Slack is one of the widely used communication platforms. To manage your finances, you can use PayPal or QuickBooks.

You have to figure out a good way to contact the client and show them the progress of your work. On top of that, you would also need anything for deals and billing. Therefore, having a separate account for the freelancing business is always better, which will help you calculate taxes, revenue and expenses easily.

The Bottom Line

Becoming a freelance web developer takes work and demands hard work. But the rewards of all of your efforts can exponentially outweigh your efforts. Remember, you take your time with the projects. However, you can always do a good job when you consistently strive for improvements.

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