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One of my favorite ways to make money on the side is by building and selling websites. It can offer flexible hours, great pay, and provides the freedom to work anywhere in the world.

If you are looking for a side hustle to earn some extra money, building websites is a great way to start. I have personally built and sold dozens of websites for local businesses as a way to earn some extra cash.

Don’t worry if you don’t have any experience building websites, we will go through everything you need to know to get started.

Do I Need to Be a Web Developer?

Web developers generally have the skills to build websites, apps, and social media profiles for companies and small businesses. They design attractive and functional website layouts that help to get new customers. They understand search engine optimization, traffic generation, and social media marketing.

Professional web developers usually know how to code websites from the ground up using HTML, CSS, and PHP. Luckily, you do NOT need to know how to code to make money from building websites.

It is possible to build beautiful and functional websites without needing to know how to code. Drag and drop site builders have made it easier than ever for anyone to get started creating websites.

That said, there are a few technical pieces that you need to understand when setting up a website. By knowing how to do this, you can sell your skills to other businesses that don’t have time or the knowledge to do it themselves.

How to Set Up a Website

Building a website is not too hard once you understand the basics. You will need to sign up for a few accounts but we’ll walk you through each of those steps.

For a website to function, you will need:

  • Domain name ( – $15 per year
  • Hosting account – $5 per month
  • Site builder like WordPress – free

To get launch a basic website, here is what you need to get started.

1. Register a Domain Name

A domain name is how people find you online and is one of the most important steps in building a website. It is the URL that they type into the browser address bar, such as

The most common domain name extension is .COM and is usually the best option for websites. Other traditional options are .NET, .ORG, and .CO. Newer extensions are now available that are more creative, like .CLUB, .SHOP, or .DEALS.

To get started, brainstorm a few ideas for your domain name and then head over to to see if it is available. The best domains are short, memorable, and descriptive of your business. Whenever possible, try to get the .COM version since that is the standard extension that people will automatically think of.

Once you have found your perfect domain name, you’ll need to register it. I like to use GoDaddy to buy my domains and it usually costs around $12 for the first year.

2. Purchase a Hosting Account

Now that you have your domain, you’ll need to have hosting to put your website files. Hosting is really just a server that displays your website files whenever someone visits your site online. Your domain will need to be directed to your hosting server so that your site displays correctly.

There are various hosting services available that all provide similar services, like BlueHost and GoDaddy. My personal favorite is Hostgator and I have used them for over a decade without a problem. They have plans starting at only a few dollars per month, great customer service, and are very reliable.

I would recommend going with the Hostgator Baby plan, which will allow you to add an unlimited number of domains. If you can pay for a year in advance, you’ll also get better pricing than paying month-to-month. This will set you up nicely to be able to scale your web design business.

3. Install WordPress

After you get your hosting set up and your domain nameservers configured, you should now have a temporary website live at your URL. The next step is to set up a website builder to actually create your website.

WordPress is a free site builder that is easy to learn and very customizable. It will provide the framework for your website and allow you to install different themes and plugins to fully customize your site.

Login to your Hosting account cPanel and look for the option to install WordPress on your domain. Follow the prompts to set up your account and then you’ll have a base website installed.

4. Install a WordPress Theme

The next step is to install a WordPress Theme on your site. This will create the overall feel of your site by customizing layouts, fonts, colors, and design.

Once you login to your WordPress site, go to the Appearance tab and then select Themes. From here, you will be able to explore the free themes available and activate one that works best for you.

While free WordPress themes are great to get you started, premium themes add a ton of extra features that can take your site to the next level. Professional themes have higher-end design, greater customization, and advanced features like drag-and-drop page builders.

On Couple Wealth, we use the Kadence theme, as seen below.

5. Customize Your Website

Now that you have a theme installed, you’ll need to start adding content and customizing the design. The web design can be adjusted under the Settings tab or under Appearance > Customize. Each theme is slightly different, so you may have to play around with how the design is changed.

To add content to your website, you can create new Pages. Pages are static and generally used for creating the main pages within your site, such as the home page, about pate, and contact page.

If you want to have a blog, you can add Posts. Posts will appear in your blog feed and are designed to be individual articles that provide information to your readers.

Don’t forget to create Menus to help with navigation and Footer Widgets to provide other relevant information to visitors.

6. Add Extra Functionality

There may be other features that you would like your site to have, such as a contact form. To do this, you can install a variety of Plugins that will add extra features to your site.

Plugins are small apps that can be installed and activated from the free WordPress plugin directory. Depending on what you are looking to do, search for it in the directory.

For example, there are plugins to allow accepting payments online, creating a membership site, protecting your site from hackers, and improving your SEO.

How to Start a Web Design Side Hustle

If you are just starting out, I would recommend building a website for yourself first. This will let you learn how to set everything up before trying to find your first client. It will also give you a nice website that you can use to sell your services.

Once you are comfortable with some of the technical aspects of building websites, start putting together a service that you can sell.

Pick a Niche to Focus On

Saying you sell websites is pretty generic, so you’ll want to define who you offer services to. A good option is to go after local small businesses that either don’t have a website or have an outdated one. Take a quick look through Google and you’ll quickly find website that look terrible. Those will be your initial prospects.

The key is to pick a niche to focus on when you are first starting, like landscapers or plumbers. By niching down, you’ll be able to brand yourself as the expert web designer for that specific niche. Plumbers are much more likely to hire a web developer that specializes in plumbing than if you dabble all over.

Plus, it will be easier for you to build the websites. By fully understanding your niche, you will be able to create better content that is tailored specifically to people needing those services.

Here is a list of 300 business ideas and niches that you can use to get some ideas on where to focus on.

Define Your Primary Services

You will want to come up with a small “menu” of services that you will provide to your clients. These will be the core services that you feel comfortable providing a lot of value to businesses.

I recommend focusing on one main service that is simple to understand. After you provide that service, you can try to upsell your client on other related services to generate more money.

The two best primary services for web designers to offer are:

  • Website Design: Build a new website for your client that has all the basic functionality they need like a contact page, about page, and different landing pages. It should be mobile responsive, search engine optimized, easy to navigate, and visually attractive.
  • Lead Generation Site: This is similar to building a standard website but is focused on generating new leads and customers for the business. It is optimized to get more traffic and funnel visitors to sign up or buy something. This is much more advanced but you can charge higher rates once you learn how to do it well.

Be Prepared with Secondary Services

Now, don’t get overeager and try to sell everything at once. Throwing too much at a potential client all at once will just make them run for the hills.

Instead, focus on selling your primary service first. Once they trust you and see your good work, you can try to upsell them on other services. This can include:

  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an ongoing process of getting a website ranked higher in the search engines. If you are good at this, you can easily charge $1,000+ per month per client.
  • Social Media Marketing: Social media is a powerful platform to help businesses get more customers and sales. If you are good with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linkedin, you can charge a monthly fee to manage their accounts.
  • Web Hosting & Maintenance: All websites need to be hosted somewhere, so you could take care of that for your client for a monthly fee. They may also need information updated periodically on the site, so you could charge a flat fee for unlimited site maintenance and upkeep.
  • Content Marketing: Companies that have blogs and publish fresh content regularly tend to rank higher in Google and get more traffic. If you are a good writer, you can charge a fee to write new blog posts or create videos promoting their products or services.

Find Your First Client

Now that you have a website showcasing your services, it’s time to find your first client. Selling your first website can be very daunting. You will likely get alot of no’s before someone is interested.

Don’t get defeated and don’t give up. Keep reaching out to small businesses to see how you can help them with your web design. Using the law of averages, you will eventually land a client.

To speed up that process, set yourself apart from the competition as much as possible. Get creative in your messaging and try to come up with a unique hook that will capture their attention. Be real and honest in your communications to build trust.

You can also ask around with your friends, family, and neighbors to see if anyone might give you a chance to build their website. Referrals can be a great way to get your foot in the door and separate yourself from your competitors.

Land Your Next Client… and the Next

Your ultimate goal with your first client should be to over-deliver and knock their socks off. If they love your service and the website you designed, it will help to build your side hustle and land your next client.

As soon as you have delivered the website and the client is happy, ask them for a review that you can post online. Even better, get them to record a 60 second video of them explaining how you helped them and showing how happy they are.

From there, create a case study with before and after pictures of the website. Include any other information showing how you helped your client, like improving their search engine rankings or getting more traffic.

The review and case study can then be used as powerful marketing material to convince your next client to sign up. As you get more clients, continue to gather positive reviews and build more case studies.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your client for referrals. They probably know someone else who needs a website and they would be willing to make the introduction. Word-of-mouth marketing can be very effective at getting new clients.

Tips for Making More Money with Web Design

As you start to get web design clients, there are ways to increase your income from it. Web design can be a great side hustle to have an extra income stream to help you reach your financial goals. To maximize your profit, here are a few ideas to make even more money.

  • Upsell your client on other services. This can be selling SEO, social media marketing, graphic design, or web hosting.
  • Look for ways to automate your services. Use contact forms to gather key information from prospective clients, use an autoresponder, and use pre-built website themes to simplify the process.
  • Outsource as much as possible. Try using other web design and marketing experts so that they do the work for you. If you sell a website for $1,000 to your client, you can find web designers that can build a full site for you for $400. Just keep the profit without having to do all the work.
  • Charge more money. Many web designers are nervous to raise their prices because they don’t believe in their product. If your clients are happy, you can probably charge more per website and they will happily pay. Contrary to what many people think, it takes the same amount of effort to sell a $2,000 website as a $300 website. Make more per sale simply by raising your prices and providing a quality product.

Finally, reinvest your profits to grow your money and net worth over time. Take your first $1,000 you earn with your web design side hustle and start investing.

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