Starting your own WordPress Web Design Business: A Checklist

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Cottoned on to how lucrative WordPress designing is?

Commercial marketplaces on the internet will testify to the sheer size of WordPress user-base. It makes for an irresistible market for any aspiring entrepreneur.

  • Mojo Marketplace’s highest selling product is a WordPress theme.
  • Envato’s Power Elite Wall of Fame is practically plastered with the names of (at least 29 out of 30 spots belong to) WordPress theme developers.
  • Some of Envato’s best selling themes (remember Avada and X) are single-handedly responsible for bringing their creators to the millionaire club.

It’s obvious that the industry is booming, so yes you want your own WordPress design business sailing in these waters. You always want a platform for your web design and development needs that has been gaining a lot of popularity across the globe, and WordPress without a doubt is an ideal solution that stands out from the crowd.

However, starting off a WordPress web design business is not a cup of tea for everyone. It really requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and patience if you want to the cut the mustard as soon as possible. Besides this, there are many other things that you need to keep in mind before you start a business with WordPress.

WordPress Web Design Business Checklist

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This checklist is to make sure you’re properly equipped to take the journey.


Did you just flinch?

I’m not putting a wet blanket on your hopes and dreams. But jumping headfirst into situations without anything less than complete awareness is beyond foolhardy. Opening a start-up business definitely, counts as ‘risky’.
To ensure that you’re not spending the months immediately following the opening of your business eating out of a dumpster, get into the habit of managing your own books.

Accounting tools like Mint, Zoho Books, Freshbooks, et al will help you manage your income, expenses, taxes and more. These tools will enable you to send invoices, receive payments, integrate with your bank account and even track every transaction on your site. Draw up a rough monthly/annual plan for your expenses:


Even if you are operating out of a garage (or a basement) you’ll probably need to pay utilities and rent.



Your ‘digital office’ aka ‘Business website’ won’t be much use sitting in the dark. Consider your hosting options carefully for WordPress.

The tools of your trade

Design: You’ll need a theme framework (to ensure consistency in your work and to speed up the theme creation process). You’ll also need to take out a subscription for various mockup / Wireframing tools, design kits, etc.

Upkeep and Security: Backup tools (for local files as well as the website), a revision control system, general security tools and plugins, payment security and PCI compliance etc. Make careful note of them all.

Additionally: Time and Project management tools like Zoho, Springloops, Basecamp, etc. will keep you on track.

Despite careful planning, you have to make peace with the fact that there will be unforeseen expenses added to the mix. Be prepared to tackle those.


How much can you do by yourself?

There are so many different interpretations of “What a Web Designer’s Job Entails” that it’s pointless to harp on this. Generally speaking, you are a creative artist with skills in Wireframing/prototyping and you only ‘draw’ the designs.
That’s great, but to actually make WordPress themes, you’re going to need a developer on your team, preferably one with knowledge and experience in HTML, CSS, and PHP, along with an ingenious way of working with JavaScript (JS is all the rage these days).

Now, you can either hire WordPress developers or outsource the coding part to a WordPress development company. It depends on your business goals and your team. Along with developers, make sure you hire/outsource experienced programmer, coder and web designer.

You’ll also need someone to handle support (no-one trusts products/services that don’t provide support) and documentation.


Get an avocado at Law (sorry for the terrible joke, but I had to say it) or look for templates on the web to draw up legal documents like:

  • Contracts
  • Non-Disclosure Agreements
  • Copyright Information
  • Terms and Conditions



There are just so many different ways you can get some eyeballs.

Social Media

You’re on Facebook, you tweet constantly, your Instagram is full of all the doodles full of all the doodles you’ve made, and your LinkedIn is spruced up real nice.

But social marketing for your WordPress design brand goes beyond that.
As a startup, think like a freelance and get on Dribble, Behance, or maybe even try your hand on Cargo. These are ‘design-centric’ platforms where your work stands more chance of bringing in leads.

PPC campaigns are great, but make sure you have someone who can handle the targeting related minutiae of the plan.

And although your service is web based, you can still get some business from real-world advertising. People are more likely to remember an outrageous design they saw in the real world than on the web.

Spec Work

It’s up to you.

As a contributing member of the society, you can fulfill your responsibility and give back by doing spec work for charities/ orphanages/ veterans’ homes/ hospitals/ animal shelters/ anything else that’s close to you.
Doing spec work for business clients is a big no-no. But again, it’s up to you.



After all of that, you are getting some clients.

How you deal with customers is up to you, but there are ways to improve the numbers.

Build email lists: You’ll need to offer something great (awesome content, discounts, etc.) to entice visitors to subscribe/signup. Then tools MailChimp is a great service to start with that.

Follow Up: When you receive a query and don’t drop your baby to answer it, you stand a chance of losing a lead (because of so much competition). Use services like Boomerang or FollowUpThen to handle the response.


The important thing is to nurture a long-term relationship with your clients and keep them satisfied. Happy clients make for glowing reviews, testimonials, and case studies, which in turn brings more clients.

2 thoughts on “Starting your own WordPress Web Design Business: A Checklist

  1. Very useful startup checklist. Regarding the customers section, I would also add learning how to sell. After all the most important aspect of a startup business is the revenue and should be the main priority of the entrepreneur.

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