The 2020 pandemic has brought about unique challenges for small business owners. Web design businesses have a chance to thrive so let’s dive into the web design business outlook for covid-19.
I’ve been hesitant to post anything pandemic related because to be honest… we just don’t know what’s going to happen in the world on any given day. The world as we know it right now is something no one has ever lived through before (when taking into consideration the pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes – need I say more?). I’ve seen so many blog posts guiding business owners on how to “pandemic-proof” their business and full transparency, I can’t get behind those posts. Sure, I wrote a blog post about what you can do during slow times in your business but the very first sentence of that blog post is “slow times aren’t just during pandemics.” That blog post is applicable to your entire business’ life cycle. But for me, I just don’t see how a business owner that is experiencing a pandemic for the first time ever can guide other business owners toward stability and success. You can disagree with me here – that’s okay, seriously.
But during the last launch of Web Design Business Bootcamp a member of our community asked this question: “Has anyone seen a sharp decline in this business during the pandemic? I’m very interested, but I’m concerned about the ability to build during this time.” I was so glad she asked this question! When investing in yourself, your business, or the idea of owning a business in the future, you can and should ask the person you’re purchasing from these types of tough questions.
My answer to her was simple: Personally, while I wasn’t actively looking for clients since I was in the process of pivoting my business, I still landed a new client during the pandemic. Landing clients during the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t luck – it’s out of a necessity these business owners are now facing.
At the start of the pandemic I went live in the Web Designer Women community and spoke about how I believed web designers would be positively impacted by COVID-19 and the forced closure of many brick-and-mortar stores. I’m pleased to say… I was right! (Pat on the back for you, Kristen.)
In January of 2020 there were 16.07 billion visits to e-commerce websites around the globe. By June of 2020, that number had spiked to 21.96 billion! That’s a roughly 37% increase in traffic to e-commerce websites in just 6 months. To give you some perspective on those numbers, the 2019 holiday season had a peak of 20.08 billion visits. That means in June of 2020, e-commerce traffic surpassed holiday traffic… let that sink in for a minute.
Still not convinced that the web design industry is and will continue to be positively impacted by the pandemic? In July of 2020 e-commerce sales were up 18% while brick-and-mortar sales were down by 14%. Without an online presence, many brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants risked losing a huge chunk of their revenue during the thick of quarantine and lockdown. And while right now it seems like things are slowly getting back to normal, 28% of consumers confirmed that post-pandemic they’ll still be shopping solely online while 39% say they’ll do a combination of in-store and online shopping.
Times are changing. In fact, they have been for a long time. This recent pandemic we’re all facing has amplified the need for business owners to get online as soon as possible or risk losing their business for good. I see this impacting two types of web designers in two different ways.
New Web Designers
Based on these stats, now is the time to learn how to build websites and officially launch your web design business. I teach my Web Design Business Bootcamp students that they should never build websites for free. But typically, newer web designers still charge far less than more established web designers. This is beneficial for many business owners.
Think about this scenario for a minute: you own a brick-and-mortar business and see huge success at your physical location. No one ever complains about not being able to order online and it appears that you get enough foot traffic without having a website. With this knowledge, do you factor into your budget having a website built? Probably not.
Then a pandemic hits and you’re forced to shut down your physical location. Even if it’s only temporary, you have the potential to lose a huge amount of money which would force you to lay off a chunk of your workforce. Do you lose the money and lay off your employees or adapt to the situation unfolding around you?
That depends on the cost associated with adapting. In this case, adapting to consumers being home, many of them out of work with tons of time on their hands, and with zero ability to open your physical location for shoppers means getting your business online.
For a business owner who never factored website development into their budget, spending $3,000+ (maybe even $1,000+) on a website is outrageous and potentially out of reach. But then comes along a new web designer. This web designer is just starting out, looking for experience in order to build out her portfolio, and charging less than $1,000 for her services. That is attainable to the many business owners who weren’t prepared to “pandemic-proof” their brick-and-mortar businesses.
Not only is this beneficial to the unprepared business owners, but the mass amount of businesses that now need to hurry up and get online opens up so many doors for new web designers.
A little brainstorming for new web designers: Make a list of local businesses that either don’t have a website at all or are in serious need of a facelift and then reach out to them!
Established Web Designers
Alright, alright… I can hear it already. “If so many businesses weren’t prepared for a pandemic and are only able to afford less expensive websites, how does that help me as a web designer who charges $2,000+ for my services?”
Business owners that feel confident in surviving the pandemic will use this slow time to analyze and improve their business. In the blog post I mentioned earlier all about what you can do during slow times in your business there are 3 things that a business owner should do that has the potential to impact their website. These include refining their ideal client, creating/adjusting a marketing plan, and reviewing/refining their processes.
All three of those things can impact what’s on a business’ website and how they’re utilizing their website. These confident business owners will see investing in their website during a pandemic as a strategic move that will provide a high return on investment into the future. Because of that, they’ll be willing to spend more than a few hundred dollars to have these modifications implemented.
A pandemic doesn’t mean your dream of being a web designer – or an online business owner in general – is squashed. In fact, if you haven’t noticed, this particular pandemic and the aftermath of it actually has a positive impact on aspiring and established web designers. Do yourself a favor and don’t give up on your dream.