9 Ways to Make Money as a Web Designer or Developer

This page may contain links from our sponsors. Here’s how we make money.

Ways to Make Money as a Designer

If you love design and want to make money as a designer, there are several options (part-time and full-time). This article covers many of the most popular options you can pursue. Read through the details of each and see what may be a good fit for you.

How to Make Money as a Web Designer or Developer

Thankfully, designers and developers have lots of options when it comes to monetizing their craft. We’ll start by looking at the most popular or common ways to earn money in the industry, and then move on to some more creative ideas.

1. Work for a Design Agency

You could work as an employee for a design agency and spend your time designing websites for clients. As an employed designer, you’ll focus on the design work without the need to deal with business-related issues like landing clients. This is the most common way to make money with web design.

Working for an agency would likely pay you a set salary, and (depending on the employer) you’d have benefits like paid time off and health insurance.


  • Consistent income as a salaried employee.
  • You’ll spend the majority of your time designing.
  • You’ll get to work on projects from a variety of different clients.
  • You’ll interact with co-workers and (hopefully) learn from them.


  • You’ll have no control over the projects that you work on.
  • You won’t have the same freedom and flexibility that you would have as a self-employed designer.
  • You’ll be dependent on someone else to give you a job.

UNLIMITED DOWNLOADS: 50+ Million Add-Ons & Design Assets

Envato Elements Ad - Unlimited Downloads of Creative Assets

2. Work as an In-House Designer

Another option that allows you to work as an employee is to be an in-house designer or developer. In this case, instead of working on projects for clients, you would be working on the website of your employer. For example, you could be an in-house designer for a financial company, and your job responsibilities would involve designing and maintaining the company website.

Working as an in-house designer or developer offers some of the same pros and cons as working for an agency, except you won’t be working on various client projects.


  • Consistent income as a salaried employee.
  • You’ll spend the majority of your time designing.
  • You’ll work on one project that you get to know very well.


  • You won’t have the same freedom and flexibility that you would have as a self-employed designer.
  • You’ll be dependent on someone else to give you a job.
  • You won’t get the same variety in your work as you would if you were dealing with client projects.

3. Freelance Web Design

Freelance Designer

Now, stepping away from the first two options where you would be working as an employee, freelancing is an entirely different ball game.

If you work as an employed designer for an agency, you’ll spend almost all your time designing for clients. As a freelancer, you’ll spend most of your time on client projects, but you’ll also have responsibilities related to running the business. This includes finding potential clients and securing projects, dealing with contracts, bookkeeping (although it can be outsourced), and all aspects of client communication.

One of the nice things about freelancing is the flexibility that it offers. You’ll have some control over the types of clients you work with and the projects you accept. You’ll also have more control over your working hours, although your projects will still have deadlines to meet.

The flexibility of freelancing also allows you to earn money from web design part-time or full-time. Maybe you have a full-time job as an in-house designer, and you freelance on the side because you like to work on different projects.

Or maybe you have a job in another field, and you’re looking to transition into a design career. As a freelancer, you don’t need to rely on an employer to hire you. If you can land clients, you can make money as a designer.


  • You’ll have control over the clients and projects that you accept.
  • Benefit from a flexible schedule.
  • Work part-time (side hustle) or full-time.
  • You can work on a variety of different projects.


  • Inconsistent income.
  • It’s up to you to land the business.
  • You’ll need to handle other business-related aspects like invoicing.

Wondering how to get web design clients fast? See our list of ways to promote your business.

4. Start Your Own Agency

If you enjoy the business aspects, starting your own agency is an option. Instead of working as a solo freelancer, you could hire other designers and web developers to work for you.

If your ultimate goal is to start an agency, a low-risk approach would be to freelance first and build up your business slowly. When you have enough of a workload and income to justify hiring someone else, you could expand.


  • Potential for a high income.
  • You’ll have control over the clients and projects that you accept.
  • Freedom to create and grow your own business


  • Inconsistent income and financial risk.
  • You’ll probably spend less time designing and more time running the business.

5. Create a Web Design Blog

Another option to make money as a designer is to start and run a design blog. You could use the blog to promote your own design services and take clients while also running the blog, or you could focus on making money with the blog in other ways (like ads, affiliate programs, or selling products).

The Vandelay Design blog was originally started to attract traffic and land more client work. As the blog grew, it became a business of its own, and the client work took a backseat.

Growing a blog takes a lot of work and some patience (you probably won’t make money for a while), but the long-term payoff can be great. Overall, it’s an excellent way to earn money online.


  • Anyone can start a blog (low barrier to entry).
  • Potential for high income.
  • You can use the blog to promote your design services or make money in other ways.
  • Flexible schedule.
  • Freedom to run your own business.


  • You probably won’t make much money for the first year.
  • You might put a lot of time into it and never make money.
  • Your primary responsibilities will involve writing the content and running the blog, which may leave little time for actual design work.
  • Inconsistent income.

Related reading: How to Start a Blog in 5 Simple Steps

6. Be a Freelance Writer for Design and Development Blogs

Freelance Writer

If you like the idea of writing blog articles on design but you don’t want to start your own blog and wait a long time before making money, working as a freelance writer can be a great option.

Several design blogs hire freelance writers, and if you have some design and writing skills, you can get paid to do it. Most likely, this would be a part-time thing, but it’s possible that you could scale up to full-time work.

Way back in 2007 – 2009, I did a lot of freelance writing for other blogs like Smashing Magazine, Tuts Plus, and Webdesigner Depot. I enjoyed the work, and it was very flexible.


  • Get paid for your writing now instead of starting a blog and waiting to make money.
  • Very flexible hours. It can easily be done on the side of a full-time job.
  • It can be a great supplement to the income that you’re making from your design work.
  • It’s also great for networking and meeting other people in the industry.


  • Better as a part-time thing than a full-time job.
  • You won’t be spending your time designing.

7. Sell Themes or Templates

Here’s an alternative way to make money designing websites. There’s a lot of demand for website templates and themes for popular content management systems like WordPress and Shopify.

There are a few different ways that you could go about this:

Set up your own shop – Create your own website and sell themes or templates. You’ll need to get traffic and build up the business, but you’ll have full control.

Sell on a marketplace – Instead of dealing with building up traffic to your own site, you could sell at a marketplace like Envato Market and benefit from their huge, established user base. You’ll have to split the revenue, and you’ll give up a lot of control.

Some template/theme creators do both. That way, you can benefit from the exposure of a marketplace, but you’re not totally at the mercy of the marketplace either.

Additionally, you can offer customers the option to hire you to build websites using your themes or templates. Some clients prefer to have someone else set things up for them.


  • Potential for high income.
  • You can choose the themes and templates that you design.
  • Freedom to run your own business


  • Extensive customer service is needed (although you could hire someone else to do it).
  • There is a lot of competition.
  • Selling on a marketplace involves giving up a lot of control.

8. Sell Stock Graphics and Files

If you’re more into graphic design than coding, you could design stock graphics or files like PSDs that other designers can use. It’s not exactly designing websites for money, but you’re using your design skills in a similar way.

This is another approach that gives you a few different options:

Set up your own shop – You could take the approach that we’ve taken and create your own shop to sell your resources. You’ll need traffic and an audience, but you’ll have full control, and you won’t have to split the revenue with a marketplace.

Sell on a marketplace – You could sell your designs at a site like GraphicRiver, Creative Market, or Etsy. You can also sell some types of files at stock photo sites.

Freelance – Another option would be to design resources sold at other shops. There are so many websites selling these types of files, and many of them hire designers to create the products for them.

This approach can also be used to make extra money on the side, or combined with other options on this list.


  • It can be done part-time or full-time.
  • Great way to make some money in your downtime between client projects.
  • Flexible schedule.


  • Selling on a marketplace involves giving up a lot of control.
  • The amount you’ll earn per sale from most marketplaces and stock photo sites is small.

9. Create a Course and Become a Web Design Educator

Course Creator

The last option we’ll look at is to create your own online course about some aspect of design or development. You could create a course on website design, logo design, WordPress development, Photoshop, Illustrator, or other topics.

When it comes to selling your course, there are a few different options:

Sell it on your own website – You could create the course on a platform like Teachable and sell it on your own site. Or you could use a membership WordPress plugin to set up the course area and protect content so only paying customers can access it.

Sell at a marketplace – You could also host your course at Udemy, Skillshare, or another marketplace that will allow you to reach a larger audience. Of course, you’ll give up some control with this approach, but if you don’t have your own audience, it may be a way to get your course in front of people.


  • Potential for high income.
  • Lots of different possibilities, and you could create a course on a topic of your choice.
  • Use your skills and experience to show others how to create websites.
  • It could be done part-time or full-time.
  • Flexible schedule.


  • Your income potential may be limited if you do not have your own established audience.
  • Inconsistent income.
  • You’ll need to provide customer service to students.
  • You won’t be spending your time designing.

Finding Design Jobs

If you’re wondering how to make money with web design, you’ve seen several options in this article. Now that we’ve looked at the possibilities, take some time to consider the pros and cons to see what might be the best fit for you.

When you are ready to start looking for opportunities, see my article on the best websites for finding web design jobs. The websites covered in that article can prove to be extremely valuable resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do web designers make money?

The most common options are working for a design agency, working as an in-house designer, or freelancing. However, other options include starting your own agency, creating and selling templates or themes, starting a design blog, freelance writing for other design blogs, selling stock graphics, or creating courses.

Do web designers make good money?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary of a web designer in the United States is $71,855. This is slightly above the national average salary of all workers, which ZipRecruiter reports as $68,622.

How much do freelance web designers make?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average freelance designer in the U.S. makes $65,000 per year. Many web designers prefer freelancing because of the flexibility more than the income.

Get the Free Resources Bundle