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Every New Year is a possible starting point for greatness. Sometimes, resolutions turn into goals leading to sustained execution, which should put anyone on the path to success.

For web designers specifically, it’s a great time to make new resolutions. The state of the Internet is always in a constant state of flux. Further, the web is a hot bed of excitement, and opportunities. As a web designer, what business-specific resolutions did you take? If you haven’t taken any yet or if you’d like to compare your resolution list (like we compare a wish list), here are some of those creative web designer’s resolutions you can take in 2013:


Play the catch up game

Web developers and designers never have it easy. By the time you master one skill or a particular web technology, another sprouts up. Dig into one framework you are comfortable with, then another popular (and even better) framework shows up. Just when you thought you did all you can to catch up with the latest skill set needed to survive in the web development scene, you’ll have even more left to learn. Make it a resolution to set aside time, money, and energy to learn as you go. Earmark an hour or two everyday just to keep up with the webbies.

Seek those certification badges

Nothing looks better on your own website than a badge from a reputed training school, a popular web technology, or a mark of partnership with a renowned web technology brand. Imagine your website plastered with badges from Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM.

Perhaps you might want to add Google’s web master badges or add other professional badges such as those from Adobe Business Catalyst. Strive to educate yourself, get trained, retrain, and add more certification badges to your website, social media profiles, etc. It’s one of those few ways web designers and developers seek to maintain a competitive edge.

Diversify skill sets

Once upon a time, there was this vulnerable species of specialists called web designers. A fair degree of knowledge HTML and CSS with basic graphic design skills could make you a web designer.

Today, this web designer breed is on the decline because of lack of diversity in skills, known technologies, etc. For instance, web design today invariably demands web development (coding) skills stretching into Javascripts, Jquery, Mobile JQuery, CSS frameworks, PHP, My SQL, Ruby on Rails, Python, and Magento. There are also popular CMS (content management systems) that web designers need to specialize in.

Even if you could master a healthy proportion of these above-mentioned technologies, you’d still have to learn how to market yourself (especially if you are a freelancer). As a result, you’d have to drag other skills into the basket such as web designing with SEO in focus, online marketing methods, content development, and social media.

Does it ever end?

Lead a team

As a single web designer or developer, you can only do so much. Further, your skill set is never complete. So, what happens if you are a PHP & MySQL developer but a new client now has a project that runs on Magento? What if your client also wants you to take over the painstaking online marketing part? That’s certainly not your forte, is it?

Leading a team is a perfect resolution for you to take because more gets done with a team than from one person, ever. Also, your respective skills will combine to make a much more resourceful team. Needless to mention, you make more money with the leverage that a team brings in for your business.

Learn the art of persuasive marketing

For a long time, for as long as global economy was robust, there wasn’t a need for most specialists to market themselves. After all, the jobs were here to stay. Today, jobs have just as much of a risk element as freelancing has. Jobs aren’t permanent. Employers sack employees. Many companies are down on the hiring front.

Web designers (much like accountants) have been traditionally the worst group of professionals as far as marketing is concerned. Traditionally, specialists have always been averse to the thought of marketing. It’s not an option anymore. Web designers, then, have to learn to market themselves. Promoting their work through portfolios, promoting websites, getting active on social media, getting clients, generating and nurturing leads – all of this in a days work for a web designer.

Lead by example or fail

It’s funny when web designers and web design companies often promote their services but fail to lead by example. For instance, countless number of web design agencies and companies now have websites that look straight from the 90s. Web design companies that offer responsive design services don’t have a responsive design for themselves yet. Of course, some of them would have the gumption to tell you that they don’t find the time to work on their own website since they are busy working for clients. Alas, it’s not an excuse. It reflects poorly in the minds of customers.

If you aren’t leading by example, you aren’t even following.

Solve problems

A web design and/or development project isn’t just about putting a web site together. For businesses, these web sites should work. Businesses need solutions to their problems and not just websites. Unfortunately, most web designers and developers don’t go that far into the “problem-solving mode”. Web designers design and code websites. After that, It’s for the business owners to figure out how to create content that establishes trust, integrate their marketing efforts with their website, tap into the conversations on social media, and perhaps build a list to do email marketing.

This year, make a resolution to get out of the “design and its done” rut. Aim to provide more than just a piece of code. Provide more services such as content development, online marketing strategy, and even basic work, which costs precious time for your clients.

Build a strong, varied, self-initiated network

Web designers almost work in isolation. If there’s one worm in anyone’s career growth, it’s the inability to build a responsive network of people across various walks of life. Web designers ideally should know their fellow developers along with other professionals in various industries.

Get on LinkedIn; go out for conferences, seminars, and events in your locality. Set up a coffee campaign and spend weekends meeting others so that you grow out of your isolation, extend your network, understand and appreciate other fields of work, and actually broaden your own career prospects.

What’s the value you provide for your clients? Why should they hire you as a designer over millions of other companies and freelancers? Let this year be a hallmark year for you. Each of these resolutions has the potential to change your life as a web designer or developer.

Which one of these resolutions are you going to make?

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Posted by Pete Juratovic

Pete Juratovic is the Strategic Director and founder of Clikzy Creative, a website design company in Washington, DC. Clikzy Creative also offers fashion website design, search engine optimization, and many other services.

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