4. Do not reinvent the wheel
One of the problems I have back then is I really don’t like using other programmer’s codes. This is why I always code everything scratch during my early days of web development journey. I always feel like I can do something better than what’s already out there.
Again, I’m wrong.
I realized that there’s no sense coding every websites from scratch. Although it’s a great way to learn specially if you are just starting out but as I get to see other developers creating websites super fast, I start questioning myself why am I moving this slow.
Then I started looking for justifications why I don’t need to reinvent everything from scratch: plugins, stylesheets, html codes, and etc. Here are some of them:
1. Your codes, your support. You don’t want this kind of setup. Open source codes usually are maintained and therefore more stable, less bugs, high security, and most of the time are good for production. Better use open source codes than self made codes.
2. Develop sites much faster. I can remember doing a slider plugin from scratch would take me almost a day to finish but today, it only takes couple of clicks. The codes are much cleaner, much faster, and more stable. Faster development means more cash for you.
3. Create more awesome websites. By using open source or premium codes, you’ll have more time creating awesome sites. Your focus will be spent on creating the website and not on creating troublesome plugins.
These three reasons are enough for me to left my previous mindset of developing websites from scratch. You can think of this as business delegation where you let others do their specialties (doing plugins) so you can focus on your craft which is creating awesome websites.
As a Web Developer, your job is not to create the puzzle pieces. Your job is to find the right puzzle pieces so you can put them altogether to create a website your client needs.
Again, you’re not a plugin developer. You’re a website developer!
5. Specialize in specific set of skills
The entry barrier for web development is actually getting deeper and deeper. To land your first work as a freelance web developer is actually hard. It takes time to learn things and takes time to find clients.
Scripting languages mentioned above are the foundation technologies you need to learn as a web developer. As you go along, you’ll encounter things such as Frameworks, APIs, CMS, and etc.
Don’t fall for the trap of learning everything as soon as possible. You can’t. If you insist, it’s up to you but the purpose of this article to make more money as a web developer so I’ll keep everything here aligned to that goal.
If you’re just starting out, I’d like to share with you this video I’ve found on Youtube. I wish I come across this video when I was starting to properly guide me which path to choose.
The goal is to raise your rate. You cannot do this by simply becoming the “another web developer”, no. For you to standout against the crowd of these “another developers” and increase your rate, you need to get your niche.
I’ve written previously some strategies on how you can increase your rates as home based freelancer. You can check this article to see what I mean with regards to choosing a niche.
6. Recommend Affiliate Products
As a web developer, there are things you can offer to your clients such as themes, hosting accounts, plugins, and earn from those recommendations. This is another way to earn a lot more with your web development career.
As a WordPress Developer myself, I usually recommend to my clients themes I am familiar with. This way, I’m able to earn by getting a commission plus I can quickly jump to the next client because I can do their websites a lot faster. This is one of the best strategies I’ve learned in my web development career.
You’re not just selling your services but you’re also getting commissions from those product you recommend to them. Up-sell as much as you can.