Starting a Web Design Agency: 5 First Steps to Take

Posted by
David Appleyard in Business category

So, you’ve just finished learning all the necessary skills for designing websites, saved up some money, read some articles on entrepreneurship, and now you’re all pumped up to start your own web design company. But, the only problem is… where do you start first? Does that sound familiar to you?

Well, don’t worry. We’re here to help. In this article, we’ll show you the first steps you need to take to successfully follow through the process of starting a web design agency.

Starting a business from scratch may seem a bit terrifying at first, but if you follow the instructions we’re about to share you’ll be able to go through the initial process and have your own web design agency up and running in no time, one step at a time. Now, let’s get started, shall we?


Step 1: Decide Your Business’ Approach

Doing something that you’re really good at won’t be enough for you build a successful business. You also need to believe in doing great work. A mission that drives you to thrive.

Fooling clients into overpay for cheap designs is a good strategy to “get rich quick”, but you will never build a successful web design business that way.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.” – Steve Jobs

So, decide what kind of a business you’re going to build. Whether you choose to build a web design company targeting a niche or go big by offering services related to all-things web design, make sure you have a clear vision for your company. A vision that you’ll stop at nothing until you accomplish.

Step 2: Create Your Business Model

Once you have figured out how you’re going to approach your business, you can move on to the least fun part of starting a company: Doing research and legal work.

Start by applying for a business license for your web design company. You’ll also need to get a business insurance for your company. This process will differ depending on the country you live in. If you’re building a business in the US, you can learn more about acquiring a business licence through the SBA website. Or you can seek advice from an attorney.

Now it’s time to do some digging and see what your competition looks like. It doesn’t matter if you target local or international clients, you’ll always have plenty of competition in the web design industry. Make sure to do some research to find out how your competitors do business, what type of work they do, how they acquire clients, and then find ways to do it better.

Learn what kind of problems clients are having when building websites and offer a way to fix it. You can never go wrong with a solid business strategy like that.

Step 3: Build The Perfect Team

You’re building a company, not a freelance business. Don’t even think about doing everything by yourself, no matter how good you are. And don’t try to build a company with a team that’s too small.

Instead, build a team with members who bring expertise to cover each aspect of your web design business model. Don’t settle for average or amateurs either, find the best of the best for your team.

If your budget is too small to employ expert designers, you can always build a remote team for your business at an affordable cost. Plenty of startups are using this strategy combined with outsourcing to do amazing work.

According to a analysis by Global Workplace Analytics, “a typical business can save $11,000 per person per year simply by letting them work from home 50% of the time.”

Step 4: Get Your Website And Portfolio Online

Now it’s time for the fun part: Designing your agency website and building your portfolio.

Creating a web design agency website is all about expressing the company identity. Put all your skills and experience to work and design a website that shows how you’re different from other mediocre companies. And shine bright, like the website of Pulp Fingers .


Another thing you should start doing early on when starting your business is building your portfolio. When approaching prospects, they will ask to see examples of your work. You need to be ready to wow these clients with amazing designs.

Do some free work to build momentum. Find clients and offer to do redesigns of their websites for free in return for mentioning your company on their website. Create a beautiful website templates and release it online for free. Or do some work for family and friends.

Step 5: Create A Marketing Strategy And Start Promoting

You will never get design clients if you sit around at your office hoping for prospects to come find your company. You need to promote your business to get noticed.

You can start by launching a blog and creating a unique voice for your business. Get involved in web design and development platforms, like StackOverflow and Github, to get noticed for your work.

Then create a content strategy and choose the right social media platforms to promote your business. Instead of trying to conquer all platforms, find the one that’s most suitable for your business model and invest in it.


Sites like SnapChat and Instagram may not be of any help when targeting the right audience for your business. Try joining sites like Behance and Dribbble to show off your design skills.

Remember, launching the business is the easy part. The hardest part is finding prospects, landing clients, and surviving in this highly competitive field. Just stick to your business model and do great design work for all your clients.

Don’t worry if you hit a few bumps along the way. It takes time to build a reputation and it will only be a matter of time before you have clients knocking at your office door.

Headquartered in San Francisco, our team of 50+ are fully distributed across 17 countries.