6 Web Design Specialities to Get Excited About

View Comments by Andrew Coyne on 19 June 2014

If you’re one of my ProPartners, or a designer who’s passionate about supplying great web designs to their clients, you’ll agree with me that getting your business out of first gear is one the hardest things to do.

In fact if you’re still new to the web design game, you could still be stuck in first gear. 

Heck, I know some guys who are still stuck in first gear and they’ve been in the game for two years now!

What do I meant by ‘first gear’?

Once you’ve built that portfolio of great examples of your work and gathered a number of satisfied clients who give you raving reviews... you’ll find that your work will speak for itself and the work will continue to flow in.

‘First gear’ is the period before you get here. This is where your scraping by, both financially and creatively, as you struggle to find work. You don’t have that hard hitting portfolio yet that’ll make your client’s eyes glisten in anticipation yet, and still need to prove your worth to your clients.

There’s only one thing for it, and that’s to get out of first gear and grab your career by the horns. So how do you get out of first gear?

Specialise and dominate in your own niche!

Specialising in a certain niche of web design is a great strategy when starting out. I know it doesn’t sound like the ideal situation... after all... you’re a passionate designer who loves all aspects of design. You want to take all and every job and continue to develop all of your skills.

Well before I continue let me just say... I’m not expecting you to put yourself in a creative corner.

However what I am saying is that if you can dominate one niche, you’ll find it much easier to move into another design niche at a later date.   

So which niche do you want to start in? Let me give you a rundown of the most popular web design niches that are out there today, and hopefully one will take your fancy.

Niche No.1: Photography

Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll of notice that several trends have begun to emerge in web design over the last few years.

One of these is the emergence of beautiful websites which are supported by large hi-res images. A part of me feels like it’s cheating (don’t worry it’s not really) but you have to admit, some web designers utilise photos beautifully.

If you have a flair for photography, you too can implement this skill of your into your web designs, and set yourself up as a designer who takes beautiful photos for your clients AND builds the perfect website to go around them.

It’s certainly a great option to take, especially when you consider that photography equipment is not only improving in quality, but also becoming more and more affordable for designers to invest into.

You can see a beautiful example of this from one of my ProPartner’s websites Bruno Photography, which sees stunning photos being implemented as a key focus of the website design.

Niche No.2: Explainer Video

Ah videos! They started as a slight irritation on websites (in fact they still can be), but over time they’ve become more accepted on sites and now they’re the bomb!

In fact, they’re now so effective, it’s one of the best ways to increase a website conversion rate. There’s a belief that as website readers, people are getting lazier and busier.

This is debatable (though probably true) so having videos is a great way to compact a website’s entire message and it’s product’s benefits into a neat and tidy package.

I’ve heard many terms to describe them, but ‘explainer video’ is probably one of the more apt description as this is exactly what it does, explains what’s going on.

A nice example from our ProPartner network is RealEstateInsider; it condenses the entire website message into one video, meaning that you can successfully sell the prospect coming to site without them even scrolling down the website.

If you want to specialise in this area, then taking a basic video editing / animation course can give you the edge and allow you to bundle up a video with a new web design. Alternatively you can team up with an videographer and concentrate on just building the website part of the equation whilst they pull the video together for you.

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Niche No.3: Industry Design Specialist

One way I regularly get work from new clients is through word of mouth; basically a happy client is a chatty client who will praise you and your design skills if you nail their web design just right and produce awesome results for them.

So obviously, if you create a stellar five star website for a client, chances are they’ll praise you to people who reside within their industry, as well as become noticed by their competitors.

Because of this, you tend to find that designers often find themselves specialising in designing websites for specific industries.

A company I used to have a working relationship with, found themselves in this position. After creating an exceptional web design for an agricultural company, they managed to get more work for more agricultural websites through three sources:

  • Through recommendations from their satisfied customers.
  • From competitors of their clients.
  • By approaching other agricultural companies and using their previous work in the industry to show them what their future website could do.

So although many designers will often “fall” into the role of an industry design specialist, there is no reason why you can’t maneuver yourself into the same position.

And the best bit? Once you’ve designed a handful of sites for companies within the same industry, you’ll begin to understand exactly what features their websites need, what features they want, and how to get them the best results, making it easier to sell websites to that industry in the future. 

Niche No.4: eCommerce store

When looking for a website company, a prospect will have a hard enough time trying to find a designer for a standard website… let alone an eCommerce specialist. It can be stressful!

Not only do they have to find someone who can do the design to the high standard they’re expecting, but they also need handholding to make sure that they setup the payment system *just right* (and yes this is something that is available for our ProPartners). For clients its a stressful and complicated process, so what better than finding a designer who can make their problems go away?

So if you are experienced in creating effective eCommerce websites, then shout about it and show off examples of your ace eCommerce design skills, because they are in high demand.  

Niche No.5: Feature Specific

Often web design clients have something very specific in mind. For example, they want a website that can include videos, a calendar, or maybe even a booking system as a key feature of the website.

Similar to how you could specialise for a particular industry, you can also specialise for a key feature for a website. After all… if a client is searching for a website with an incredibly specific feature, then why not present yourself as the perfect specialist for their needs?

  • Social media integration.
  • Easy to edit content management system (CMS)
  • Event calendar
  • YouTube / video integration
  • Hotel and event booking systems
  • Blog / news item platform
  • Video integration

In fact, the Web123 ProPartner program purposely developed an easy booking system purely because there was such a high demand for it. Now we have ProPartners who specialise in setting up websites for small hotels and guests houses, and making a huge success out of it too!

Niche No.6: Be a Branding Guru

Sometimes you won’t just come across a client who needs a website, but an entire business identity! And if you do, cha-ching :D, because they can be worth a LOT in the long run. Nail a perfect website, a new brand and brilliant messaging and you're onto a long term client who will come back to you with more work.

There are a number of ways you could tackle this niche. I’ve known designers to:

  1. Approach companies who have an outdated look and offer their services to give them a brand new modern brand and a website to go with it.
  2. Promote themselves as brand or logo designers, and then upsell themselves as a web designer afterwards.
  3. Approach businesses who don’t have a web presence at all, and offer them a new website which will reinvigorate the look of their business at the same time.

Specialise today and see your enquiries increase as a result.

Ultimately regardless of what speciality you do choose, it can be the perfect way to increase the number of enquiries you ultimately receive, especially if you’re starting out.

Whether it’s for a specific industry, for eCommerce sites, or as a branding expert, prospects generally feel more confident offering their work to people who show themselves as a specialist in a certain area.

Do you present yourself as a specialist in a certain area? What cheeky strategy do you use to acquire more leads for your design work? Let us know below! I’d love to exchange ideas. 

What do you think? Share your comments below.


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