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How to Make Money Building Websites Part Time From Home

“Here you go,” the business owner said as she handed me a check for $500.

As I took the check from her, it’s hard to put into words the excitement I felt as I saw my name in the “PAY TO THE ORDER OF:” line and that beautiful “$500” amount smiling back at me.

After we shook hands and I made my way back to my car, I felt a deep sense of accomplishment as I had just sold my very first client on a web design project.

What made this moment even more fulfilling was that I had only just started building websites 3 months ago.

As I drove back home from this meeting, a litany of thoughts began to plague my mind:

“What if she thinks the site sucks?”

“You’re a fraud, you barely know how to build websites!”

“How are you going to have the time to build her a new site?”

Thankfully, I overcame these thoughts and within a few weeks I built the site, collected the remaining money owed to me, and continued working with the client to this very day.

Since mid-2014, I have made 5 figures (xx,xxx) building and maintaining websites for clients.

The work I did was completely part-time and only with a handful of people, so had I spent more time marketing my services I know I could have made even more.

I didn’t quit my day job, worked a few hours each week on my client’s websites, and still made a lot of money.

So whether you want to build your own digital marketing agency, make side money as a freelancer, or learn skills that can get you a career in digital marketing here are some tips that I’ve used to become a successful freelance web designer and successfully make money building websites.

Start Building Websites

Before you even think about marketing yourself as a web designer or think you can make money building websites, you have to actually get out there and build one yourself (duh!).

I know, it sounds pretty obvious, but plenty of people these days love to talk big games on things like entrepreneurship, digital marketing, etc. when they literally have nothing to show for it.

Don’t worry, though, because gone are the days of having to master coding, HTML, and CSS thanks to software like WordPress.

What You Need to Build Your First Website

  • Domain Name (yourwebsite.com) – This can be bought through a domain registrar like Namecheap for as low as $10 per year.
  • Hosting Server – This is a server where your website’s files are kept. I recommend using Siteground as their pricing is affordable and their site is easy to use.
  • WordPress Software – This can be installed for free on your hosting server with literally one click.

That’s seriously it!

Try building a simple website about anything, whether it be your own personal blog or a fansite about your favorite show.

I started to make money building websites initially by building Amazon affiliate niche sites.

After building a few of these websites, I felt comfortable enough working with WordPress to sell my design services to a business owner.

Spend Time Learning WordPress

Spend time each day learning how WordPress works, play around with new themes and plugins, and, of course, Google anything and everything you can think of related to web design.

Trust me, it’s better to jump in and learn as you go rather than waiting to take action until you “know enough”.

Had I done that, then I wouldn’t have had the skills to build a website for my first client 3 months after I started learning web design!

By that point, my first client’s website was the fifth website I ever built rather than the first, so I had a better grip on what I was doing.

Also, that client may have found someone else willing to build them a site instead of me, and I could have lost out on that opportunity completely!

Thankfully I didn’t, and you won’t either if you just start.

Tell Your Friends

Once you start to make money building websites, let people know about it.

No, I’m not saying you should be like Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration, but I am saying you should make others aware of your new found skills.

The reason why I tell people to do this is simple:

I found my first client through a friend after a chance conversation with him at a wedding.

I told him about how I started to make money building websites on the side (as I mentioned, I initially made a bit of money building Amazon affiliate niche sites before taking on local business website projects), and he told me a local ballroom company that he spent time at needed a new one.

So, I got the owner’s contact information and have been working with them ever since!

I’ve redesigned their website twice, have done SEO work for them, and even found another client thanks to a referral by them.

Let’s just say that chance conversation was what propelled me to not only make several thousands of dollars independently but also gave me the skills to get a job in the digital marketing field.

It also helped me reposition myself to make money building websites for others rather than myself.

Who knows? Maybe there’s a chance conversation waiting for you someday after you let people know what you’re doing!

Get Your Logistics in Order

Ideally, you want to do this before you have a meeting scheduled with your first prospective client, but it’s OK if you end up having to scramble the day before like I did (just don’t expect much sleep that night!).

You’ll want to create a proposal that includes your scope of work, pricing, and how long it will take you to complete their website.

There are tons of proposal templates available on the internet, so just find one you like and add all the necessary information – it doesn’t have to look perfect.

It’s also recommended you either show them your portfolio or a mockup of what you have in mind for their new website.

Again, this doesn’t have to be perfect – just come up with something and do your best to sell them on it.

You will learn a ton just by meeting with this first prospect even if they don’t end up going with you, so don’t be discouraged if things don’t go the way you want right away.

Tips When Meeting With Prospects

  • When meeting with your prospect, have your proposal printed off and ready for them to sign.
  • Make sure the proposal not only looks good aesthetically but is easy to understand.
  • Try to limit your proposal to only a few pages (maximum of 5 in my opinion).
  • Be as descriptive as possible, but at the same time try to only include the necessary information (explain the importance of responsive design but don’t rattle on about a specific WordPress theme you like).
  • Look your prospect in the eyes, and make sure you act very engaged and interested in their business.
  • Sit up straight and speak confidently.

The biggest mistake I made when I first got started working with clients was I priced myself way too low for the amount of work I did.

Price yourself accordingly, for example:

I set my price at $1000 for the first website I built and had my client pay me $500 upfront and $500 when I finished.

Personally, I find this pricing to be sufficient for your first client.

Make sure that you explicitly state in your proposal the work that you will be doing, and advise them that if you end up having to go outside the initial scope of work that it will cost extra.

Of course, you want to be understanding and ensure that your client is satisfied, but getting this out of the way up front will save you hours of working late into the night for free (trust me, I would know!).

Look For Local Opportunities

I’m gonna be honest with you:

You’re probably never going to build a website for Coca-Cola.

You might, however, be able to make money building websites for local restaurants, veterinarian clinics, dentist offices, etc.

Make a list of all the small businesses within driving distance of your house, Google them, and see what their websites look like.

If they’re outdated, hard to navigate or rank low in the search engines then you’ve probably got an opportunity on your hands.

Reach out to these business owners via email or just walk into their establishments and introduce yourself.

Leave them your contact information and try to set up a follow meeting with them to discuss your scope of work and pricing.

Remember: the worst thing they can say is no, so if you want to make money building websites you’re going to have to put yourself out there.

Learn As You Go

If you can’t tell, I’m purposely not being as descriptive with things as I could be because I want you to get out there and learn things yourself by taking action.

I didn’t learn how to make money building websites, write proposals, or work with clients through reading a handful of articles.

I learned by doing.

If you feel like you don’t want to get started working as a freelance web designer until you “know enough” then I suggest you stop reading this and just start messing around in WordPress.

I’m serious, quit reading this right now and start building a website.

Keep going, and if you hit a roadblock Google will be your best friend.

The only thing holding you back from cashing a $500 check written to you by that local restaurant is yourself.

So get to work, learn as you go, stop complaining and start to make money building websites.


You can read a million different articles on things like web design, SEO, or how to make money building websites like this one, but until you actually open the WordPress backend and start exploring it yourself you’ll have nothing to show for your knowledge except a big head.

These 5 steps are what ultimately took me from working at a grocery store to working at a digital marketing agency with double the income and even a nice side hustle that makes me thousands of dollars each year.

Get to work, and I promise if you don’t quit you’ll do well.

27 thoughts on “How to Make Money Building Websites Part Time From Home”

  1. Very informative post! I’m actually considering building websites for other people now. I have two of my own websites.

    There is just one thing that I’m unsure about:
    How do you go about handing over things like the ownership of the domain name after you’re done building the website? Should the client first buy the domain name and hosting themselves and afterward, give you administrator access?

    • Hey Sylrette,

      Great question! What I like to do is build the client’s site on my own domain/subdomain and just transfer it over to their own personal domain’s hosting account when I’m finished. This is also assuming that they have their own domain picked out and purchased, otherwise you can just walk them through the process of buying it themselves. This is the easiest method and also assumes that your client has both a domain and hosting.

      If they don’t have either, you can either buy the domain for them, have them set up their own account on a domain registrar site (NameCheap, GoDaddy, etc.), then transfer ownership of the domain over to them when you’re done with it. The same goes with hosting – you can walk them through setting up their own hosting account then transfer the site over to them when you’re finished.

      Does this make sense? I know it may be hard to visualize if you haven’t done this yourself but I assure you it’s very simple. Don’t let certain technical limitations like this hold you back – it’s very easy to learn how to do this so just focus on finding clients, how to work with them, and how to build killer websites.

    • Hi. What I usually do is get the client to register their domain and hosting company as this saves me the hassles of transferring at a later stage. I then either work live or on my localhost (depending on the size and complexity of their site.

  2. Extremely informative, and well written. Thank you for taking the time to write it. I hope and I’m sure, lots of people will find it very helpful. I did, I’ve also recently started building websites. takes me a couple days to push one out with about 3 to 4 pages, blogs, pics, links, layout, code etc don’t understand much about code yet but I started working with it about a month ago- copy and paste anyway lol…still a little unsure about how much to charge tho!?

    • Hey Pushkraj,

      Try it! You’d be surprised at how much money you can make building websites even part-time.

    • Hi, can help me please? I want to start making webpage but I don t know a good web builder . May I know what are you use to make good web page? Thanks

  3. It does, thanks for responding. I’ve read through a little of the content and will finish it soon. Another question if you don’t mind is in regards to flippa. How detailed or built do sites need to be to sell on the platform.
    Checkout my site if you would, I guess I should back up to ask if you’ve even used the platform…?


  4. Hello, Thank you for the informative article. I am looking at supplemental income, as I would like to retire next year. My question to you is, what experience or degrees do you have that you think were helpful in making you successful. My computer and business skills are minimal as my lifetime career required very little expertise in this field. I also don’t have a bachelor degree, which now days seems to be the new high school if you get what I mean. So, I would be completely starting from scratch. Going back to college does not sound exciting to me, but I would be willing to take a class or two if it sent me in the right direction. I am perfectly willing to learn what I need online. Lynda.com which my work provides a subscription to has one career course on being a website designer. But, is something like this really what one can get by with to succeed in their own business? I’m a realist and don’t want to find out that after a lot of time and investment, that I just can’t compete with the computer gurus with Masters in computer science out there. Thank you.

    • Hi Laurey,

      School didn’t help me with anything – that doesn’t mean it can’t for some people, but definitely don’t think you need school to learn a skill properly. I had zero experience as a web designer until I got out of college and started building websites for fun using WordPress. Within 3 months I had a client thanks to putting myself out there and getting a referral from a friend. Anything I didn’t know I Google’d or watched YouTube videos to figure out. The process took time, but it was fun learning new things and I was making money so that’s always a plus.

      You don’t need to have a Master’s degree to make a lot of money building websites, all you need to have is a willingness to learn and to put in the work of finding people who need a website built. There are a lot of ways to do this, I may need to create some kind of step-by-step course to show you guys how I did it. I will say, though, there’s are a lot of opportunities out there with local businesses who need help with things like web design, digital marketing, etc.

      Just start playing around with WordPress and see where it goes – that’s what I did and now I work at a digital marketing agency and make a pretty good living. I’m also the only person in the company that doesn’t have a 4-year degree – I was hired purely on my skillset.

      Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions!

  5. Hey Thomas, great guide. I think most freelancers tumble upon it the same way you did. How to get started is the biggest problem–it feels insurmountable to them. I love real stories like this that help break down the barriers to getting started freelancers. I’m in the process of building out a guide on helping people make money with WordPress (freelancing is one of the options), which is how I stumbled across this article.

    If you don’t mind, I’m going to write a summary on your article and link to it in the guide I’m working on. Please let me know if you have any feedback on what I have so far (link: https://profitpress.com/articles/make-money-with-wordpress/). It’s broken down by different ways to make money with WordPress, everything from freelancing the building themes/plugins or blogging. Freelancing is definitely the most common way and one of the easiest to get started–especially because you can do it for friends and family. That also helps deter the inevitable imposter syndrome that you also mentioned.

    Again, great article. Thanks!

  6. Hello, Thomas.

    Rather than handing off the domain and hosting to the client, what do you think about offering a maintenance package where you take care of the hosting, updates, etc for a monthly fee? What do you think would be fair to charge to maintain a simple 4-5 page small business site?

    Or, perhaps even have them sign a contract that includes the design cost in the monthly fee?

    Thank you

    • Hey Roger,

      Sorry for the late response!

      That makes sense – I would charge anywhere from $150 – $250 a month for a “maintenance” fee that would entail keeping their domain and hosting, going in and making updates to the plugins, ensuring the site is kept secure, etc. That’s pretty standard and I’ve done that with clients before.

      I wouldn’t do a monthly fee for the initial web design – just a one-time, one-off fee of anywhere from $500-$5,000 depending on the size of the site they’re wanting, their business, and, most importantly, your confidence in your skill set and ability to sell yourself.

  7. Nice article! Very uplifting and kick in the ass for me 🙂
    But I do have a couple of questions. In the contract, is there something to watch out for? Like additional requests made later and so on … Then, is there a way to somehow insure to be paid the rest of the sum when you hand over the website at the end? Especially, if you get a job via internet and not meet the client live (maybe a client from the other side of the globe).
    And last thing, what about the images. Who provides them? Client or you? I mean, maybe you have one idea of design and you would need a specific images and you have to buy them.

    Thanks upfront!

  8. Hi, I wish I had read this article before I started up, I have been in the legal field for majority of my career spanning nearly 20 years, but always had a passion for IT and delving right into the technical cyber stuff as opposed to just having advanced MS Office skills and simply being IT literate. As a hobby in my spare time, I would sit for hours learning to programme making up silly harmless virus’s for friends or stripping laptops right down in attempts at fixing small problems that arise rendering them totally useless and un-usable lol with my tremendous soldering skills and processor upgrades, blowing up circuits whilst attempting to squeeze the wrong size chip into its socket, powering laptop devices with under current or voltage adaptors
    nearly electrocuting myself int he process when the adaptor blew up those are just many of my IT attributes. Along with my insanely mindset of not giving up and twisted perceived ideology of sod paying someone else, I’m sure I’ll be able to fix that obsessed outlook on things, it was hardly surprising as time passed a vast array of technological nonsense was now cemented in the brain.

    Over the years though I have built a few websites for myself and for friends and for a couple of corporate clients at work not as paid work mainly as a favour or friendly gesture in my spare time as it was something I enjoyed to do in my recreational time, although some were built using word press themes others were built from scratch as a kind of challenge to myself I am programming front ends in html, css, javascript etc and also delving into Node.js, express, SQL, flex-box, angular. For the cyber security I’ve learned Python and write my own basic scripts for implementing attacks etc or writing a basic mac changer etc.

    I am posting on this site to show respect for the genuine web developers out there who do develop various applications and sites from scratch. Web developers are taken for granted these days due to the various technology now that makes it so easy to build a website and people myself included grab a theme throw a few pages together bobs your uncle fanny’s your aunt you have a quick website that you sell to a customer for stupid money passing it off as your very own creation. When a lot of sweat, sleepless nights, stress takes place for the more experienced developer who will lightly spend more time planning, testing and debugging the site than the actual programming. So I’d like to say a massive respect to all you out there.

    As said I have built various websites in the past and over the last year which I have kind of just fell into from another mistake might i add. I was doing a couple of projects at the time and I wanted to create a website for myself. I logged into the go daddy platform which I have used in the past to buy my domain and look for hosting etc, and as your going through the things you might need which starts off quite reasonable but by the time your finished you seem to end up with a list of products you don’t need ie several email packages and extra domain names not quite sure how that happens but anyway, I had also somehow signed up to the GoDaddy pro sites and was active for a good 6 months before I realised what it was, I had seen the add user profile section on it but thought it just like a normal profile on a social media site. I had entered some details about myself stating that I worked in the legal profession, was doing the Cyber security training etc and as it was a website platform I mentioned that i enjoyed making websites and had previously created some in the past. A few months later I received an email from a gentleman with a proposal request for me to build him a small site, he had offered a payment of £350 along with a descriptive message on what he was looking for. After the initial shock and panic I decided to take the offer up as it was well within my comfort zone and I knew I would be more than capable of fulfilling the proposal. I went on to create the site transferring it over on completion and assigning his purchased domain name, all went well and the client was very happy. I then updated my profile since I seem to be a member of the pro sites til 2020 stating that I am able to do small front end sites for personal or small business. Since then I have created several more with happy customers and I am also hosting a few of the sites for customers now too on my wordpress hosting package, I am only charging a small fee of £5 per month just to cover the hosting charges but each month I do a report I also keep the sites up to date etc. I have also taken some extensive web development courses online to require extra skills and as well as gaining more knowledge into the whole process from hosting and DNS servers etc as well as being able to offer a customer a sound secure planned out website. I don’t do this for primary work and wouldn’t really consider myself as a freelance which also reflects in my prices compared to what others charge. I don’t even really know what the price ranges of websites are and I’ve probably been outdoing myself over and over but the main thing I care about is the quality that I produce and time and care has been put in to ensure that happens.

    I have now found myself though in a right dilema about 3 weeks I received a proposal for a website,description was a small site for a construction firm, I had been offered £1000 and due to the description on what was required I took up the proposal. I asked for a small deposit just to ensure everything was legit which was kindly paid straight away and I set to work designing and drawing up some wireframes to send to the client.

    Turns out that he wants an identical site to mybuilder.com a full on full stack development with every feature known to man a site which took nearly 10 years to build, with a team of developers and is still in development today, a site that has won awards for its glory. I am aware on the specifics of the site he wants and how it all works together etc with the web forms, database, user registration, builder registration and applications process, using the HTTP protocol for data get and post requests to and from the database and user along with the post jobs and search facility that is built into it amongst the many other fine features and functions built into it. I have also built a kind of blue print if you like and meticulously planned how everything will work, but I just cannot get it come together. I have build untold API’s in different frameworks. Angular for the front end with ASP.NET core framework for the backend, I get to the point where its really comming on great till one little thing puts it all out of sync, where I then have to scrap it and come up with another plan. I have also tried doing it in Express, Node.js, React but I had a problem with the Hyper terminal and that wouldn;t enable me to carry on because of errors with cache js data or something, Ive spent hours and hours just trying to resolve the little problems, the latest problem was an error in the rsjx file latest build conflicting data since updates. I am now at the end of my tether and not sure how I’m going to be able to move forward

    I have now been sat in front of PC for past three weeks I’m now doing 12 hour days and nightshifts straight off the belt I did a full 3 days last week with no sleep until I physically collapsed for about 15 hours and got some rest before getting back to it again, I really don’t want to let the customer down even though I know what he is asking for and for the price etc he is living in a dream land expecting that kind of development in 6 weeks. Maybe I’m looking into things too much and making it more difficult for myself. I don’t know, my programming skills are not what I would call professional but I wouldn’t say I was basic I’m kind of hitting the averages above basic. This is now day 2 without sleep this week. I have thought about just doing a wordpress site with user registration, log in etc etc but if I did that I would feel as though I have just let myself down, if there are any words of encouragement I would be delighted

    • Hi Techie,

      Great suggestion – I do have several videos that I created that I will be uploading to YouTube soon to help you guys out 🙂 thanks for the reminder that I need to get on that!

  9. How can anyone make decent money developing simple local business websites if business owners discover Fiverr (or other bid to the bottom from offshore)?

    “Have been there and done that” with trying to educate business owners who use Fiverr as “blue book” basis for budget/costs and trying to show them difference in quality. Even worse are now free website building tools and free hosting. I sit me, or does one need to find clients who are educated about Fiver and freebie websites differences and/or do not know about Fiverr in order to charge decent rates?

    Soon AI will offer semi-free/free complex web developing services to the masses, then what?


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