How do Web Design and Development Companies find their Clients?

It’s pretty easy to find new clients when you’ve been in business for a long time. You have a network of happy clients that will refer you to their friends and business partners. How do you get your first clients is the problematic part.

Most of you are probably starting out small, without much of an advertising budget (or non of it whatsoever). Fear not! There are lots of potential clients all around the web and if you’re good at what you do, follow these simple instructions and you will get plenty of work.

Section one: You are the expert, prove it!

You don’t have a portfolio of happy clients to back your claims when giving a sales pitch to the potential customer so you need some other way to prove your expertise. There are several things you can and should do:

1. Start a blog. Write useful content. Invest time and energy into it and don’t get discouraged with the lack of results in the beginning. Getting results from blogging (which is a content marketing strategy as a part of inbound marketing) is a long term process but once you start feeling the benefits of it, it will just grow exponentially.

It might even take you a few months before you get your first client that found you organically thanks to your clever content marketing strategy, but as soon as you get your first one, you know you can be found. At this point the more you write the more clients you’ll get.

2. Give away free stuff. You don’t have a portfolio. People don’t like to buy something they’ve never seen. They need to know how your products look and feel. You should invest some time in building a few free templates (or some modules/extensions if you’re a developer) so that you have something to show to your potential clients.

Another good thing that will come from giving away free stuff is backlinks. You’ll get exposure from the community. People love to link to the free stuff. These links will improve your search engine rankings and maybe even send some useful traffic your way.

3. Specialize. You’re starting small, remember? You can’t compete in extremely competitive industry of web design. You’ll have to target some less competitive keywords. Try specializing in some open source CMS, or in developing software for a specific industry.

It will be easier to claim good ranking positions for such keywords and will reduce the time needed for you to find your first clients. Branding yourself as an expert in one really targeted niche will also build you more credibility and give you a big advantage compared to the companies that do “everything”.

Section two: Don’t just sit and wait for them to find you.

You can actually do much more then just sit and wait. These steps described below should be in your daily routine!

1. Job boards. There are lots of job boards all around the web. Some cover wide area of freelance jobs such as, while some are specialized in certain CMS or niche, such as

Locate where your potential clients could be and check these boards daily. Don’t just bid on everything you think you can do. Bid on projects that look promising to you and put some effort in presenting yourself as the best man / company for the job.

2. Real time Search & Engage technique. There is a big real-time web evolution going on and you should join the party. You wouldn’t believe how many people on Twitter write they need a Magento designer or developer. It is impossible to describe the value of the ability to search for the people that need services you provide in real time. You have the ability to talk to the people who need your services NOW!

Twitter is just one of the real-time streams. Don’t forget to check out if there are any potential customers for you TODAY on LinkedIn, Facebook (yes, Facebook has real-time search, just search for something and in the left menu choose “See all results”) and other niche specific social networks.

3. Forums are not dead. There are lots of people on forums TODAY that might be looking for the services you provide! Some general business forums might be a good place to start your search for clients (such as

I’ve seen lots of benefit from being an active member of that particular forum I mentioned above. Remember, your clients probably are not on forums a “developer” would usually hang-out. You need to start thinking like your client and figure out where in the world wide web the client is “hiding”.

That’s it! Follow these simple rules and you’ll get your first clients in no time! Trust me, I know. We’ve built a pretty big design and development company in a little bit of more then one year. Today we get numerous job inquiries DAILY, much more then we can actually handle.

9 Comments on "How do Web Design and Development Companies find their Clients?"

  1. Ivan Mišić says:

    Great post Toni, very useful tips

  2. Grafik45 says:

    Great Artcile. Thank you for this practical tipps. Very good.

  3. Jared Penner says:

    Thanks a lot for the tips, they should help.

  4. Alfredou says:

    Yeah it’s a great stuff and I am sure I will get some information that I can use it as reference purpose.

  5. Finding client is the most difficult thing for most businesses, especially new businesses before you’ve had a chance to build a reputation. It doesn’t matter how good you are if you can’t get clients. I think having your own website (obviously) and SEOing it properly is probably the best way. This means people will find you and they will be able to see the work you can do.

  6. hey toni i am late, but i must say one thing that some how you are right..

  7. I love it Toni! Being part of IT Marketing ofcourse we need to find a client and not just sitting and wait for their inquiry.I will looking forward for your more post.

  8. Crysfel says:

    You can also sell your products in a popular market place, that’s a great way to expose yourself and your work, Many of my customers have contacted me through the marketplaces :)

    Best regards

  9. Zia-ul Islam says:

    Dear Sir,


    I am freelancer web designer & developer,I have 8 years experience in IT.
    I have started my own business for few weeks ago,I am looking for good
    and long terms partnership on designing & development work.

    We are looking for partner who can send us work on regular basis.we have
    a capacity to increase the size of our company,according to work.It depend
    on our partner how much work he can send us.

    For more details please visit:

    IT Resources online
    Zia-ul islam,
    Cell: 92-332-2294928

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