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6 Best Web Design Side Hustles

VitaliyKolos Inspiration Apr 28, 2021

The term 'side hustle' is used quite loosely to describe anything that a person does in addition to their primary job or source of income in order to make a little extra money. A side hustle can be related to what a person does for a living, or completely unrelated, though typically it makes more sense to focus on what you know and what you're good at.

In this sense, web designers have an advantage over many other professionals because what they do is in high demand, commands top dollar and the learning curve is steep. With that in mind, below are the 6 best web design side hustles.

Teach Web Design Online

If you are an experienced web designer who has been doing it for a while and you have a large portfolio of work to your name, consider spending a few hours a week teaching online classes. There is no shortage of people out there who want to learn the basics of web design, or even just those looking for walkthroughs and breakdowns of the common hosting and building platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and others.

If you are a pro and know any or all of these like the back of your hand, there are many opportunities for online work, which you do from the comfort of your home, and which you can use to make extra money throughout the month. Many of these online courses are pre-recorded which means you don’t have to interact with live virtual classrooms of people, although you may be expected to answer questions from time to time.

Creating WordPress Themes

The WordPress themes market is massive. Websites like WooThemes, Theme Forest, Navigation and Themify host premium WordPress themes built by talented and experienced web designers who simply sit back and collect money wherever someone decides they like a particular theme for their website. While many people, especially bloggers, still opt for free themes, there are independent web developers who spend time building great premium themes and end up getting hundreds and even thousands of downloads/purchases throughout the theme’s lifetime.

Keep in mind that when you build a theme for sale on any of the aforementioned websites, in order to remain highly rated and in good standing with your customers, you will have to accept that you will need to regularly release patches and updates for your themes. You will also need to be available to respond to customer questions and queries which, if your theme is popular, could mean hundreds or more.

Creating WordPress Plugins

Creating unique WordPress plugins is another popular side hustle for web developers who already work a full-time job. If a person owns a WordPress website, they essentially can’t run even the most basic blog unless they make use of at least a couple of plugins, and that number tends to only increase the more sophisticated a site gets, especially if it’s for business.

If you sell plugins, you can either do it directly through WordPress and WordPress-affiliated plugin sites, or you can start your own website that is exclusively dedicated to marketing and selling your plugins. A good plugin that solves a major problem or creates new opportunities for WP users can make a person a considerable amount of money over the life of the plugin.

Write Articles on Medium

If you have a wealth of web design knowledge and something to say about current trends and news, why not start a blog? Medium’s partner programs and paywall mean that if you are writing things that end up being picked up by big publications in the industry, you can earn decent money just from pouring your thoughts out. Programming and entrepreneurship are two of the top-performing niches on Medium, within which web design and website ownership (i.e., digital entrepreneurship) are foundational elements. All you need to turn this idea into a viable side hustle is a Medium account and some decent writing skills.

Affiliate Marketing for Digital Products

If you are interested in or passionate and knowledgeable about digital products related to web design, consider starting an affiliate marketing website dedicated to these. As a web designer, you already have the skills necessary to put together a great-looking affiliate marketing site and the rest is quite easy.

Find some digital products that you want to focus on and/or know a lot about, choose an affiliate program with which to earn commissions for recommending and selling these products online, and set about writing review and ranking articles helping people make their purchasing decisions. If you are a web developer, you also likely already have a strong understanding of SEO principles and best practices, which will help you start to build early authority and page rank.

Piecework on Fiverr

Fiverr and places like it have developed a reputation as part of the online gig economy’s 'race to the bottom' but if you have a specialized skill set, you can advertise your services performing piecework tasks for people who are setting up and building websites. These are often things that experienced developers would be able to do blindfolded, but which inexperienced digital entrepreneurs and bloggers are unfamiliar with. You might be asked to help install a plugin, customize a widget, get rid of a superfluous line of code, or insert a few lines of HTML.

Even if you are only taking on a handful of micro-projects each week, it could still add up to a couple of hundred dollars per month and you never know what kind of contacts you might make on a place like Fiverr. What begins as a single small task, done well, might evolve into a full custom web design worth thousands of dollars.

Conclusion

Web design, especially if you do it in-house, is already a well-paid gig and many people may not even have time to take on any of the above side hustles. But if you have an in-demand, value-added skill that people are willing to pay top dollar for (and web development definitely falls into this category), why not put it to use and make a little extra money if you have the time to spare? The above list of side hustles is by no means exhaustive, but they are some of the most popular forms of supplementary income for experienced web pros and there is definitely money to be made for a comparatively small investment of your time.

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