How to make money online as a web developer - Full guide

Learn how to make money online as a web developer in this fully comprehensive guide. These 19 methods show how to make money if you are a complete beginner or a web development expert.

By Will Mayger in Web Development |2020-06-25

There are so many opportunities out there for web developers to make money online no matter what experience level you are.

It doesn’t matter if you are a complete beginner with no experience or if you are an expert who has been a senior developer for years and years.

There is a way out there just for you, on how to make money online as a web developer and you need to start taking advantage of it as soon as you can.

There are common ways that most people know and understand such as:

  • Getting a job in web development and building a career around it.
  • Doing freelance work on sites like Fiverr or Upwork.

But there are so many other options!

I see the same money-making ideas for web developers floating around online without ever talking about the hundreds of other ways you can build an income.

Web development is not just a career or just a job, it is a digital skill that is hugely profitable, valuable, and enjoyable.

So, I decided I wanted to create a complete comprehensive list of how you can make money online as a web developer.

For those who are new here, I’m a web developer who specializes in front-end development using something called Javascript, more specifically something that is called React.

I have been working in web development for over 7 years now and I love it.

I have networked with web developers from all areas and all experience levels, so you can trust me when I talk about this topic.

Now I want to make it really clear that if you are a complete beginner with no experience this blog post is for you, just like if you are an expert in web development or a senior web developer with tonnes of experience, this blog post is also for you.

I will go over all the possible ways you can make money online as a web developer, some will be aimed towards people looking to make money online with no experience, some will be aimed at beginners and juniors and others will be for experts and senior developers, so feel free to skip to the sections which interest you most, or grab yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy the whole article.

How to make money online as a web developer

The list of topics and options go from easiest to hardest, so if you’re a beginner you will want to start at the top and work your way down the list as you gain experience.

  1. Blogging with Wordpress
  2. Affiliate marketing through a blog or website
  3. Google Ads through a blog or a website
  4. Shopify store
  5. Sell a service by creating a basic website
  6. Build websites for your local shops & services
  7. Creating and selling digital products
  8. Sell services on fiverr, Upwork and more
  9. Create mobile apps by using React Native, Vue Native, Ionic, Expo, or Flutter
  10. Learn how to use LinkedIn
  11. Get a remote working web development job
  12. Specialize in a niche or field to earn more
  13. Freelancing and Contracting
  14. Creating a digital business
  15. Creating a SaaS product or business
  16. Creating a Digital agency
  17. Become an influencer on youtube, twitter and instagram
  18. Consulting
  19. Creating a web Consultancy

For anyone who prefers video, here is my video on this topic from the New age of plenty YouTube Channel.

Blogging with Wordpress

I don’t think it is possible to start a list about how to make money as a web developer without talking about Wordpress.

Now, most of you would know about Wordpress but if you don’t, just very quickly, it is the true standard and entry-level to start blogging and dip your toes into web development.

There are other tools for this as well but Wordpress does it better.

Wordpress
Blogging with Wordpress

In my opinion, if you are looking to get started with blogging and web development to make money, it is the only way to go.

You should avoid using sites or tools such as Wix because they are not built for what you need.

Wix is okay for a lot of things but it isn’t great at anything.

So, the reason why Wordpress is first on my list is simply that it allows you to dip your toes into the world of web development whilst providing a professional blog that you can earn money from by monetizing it with ads and affiliate marketing links so you can start without any experience but it still gives you the opportunity to learn basic parts of web development.

So if you’re a complete beginner I recommend starting here.

With a Wordpress blog, you will have to deal with plugins, HTML, CSS, themes, SEO, analytics, and much more.

There are thousands of free resources online where you can learn to use Wordpress and I can assure you that if you stick to it, not only will you learn how to use Wordpress but you will start learning a few of the fundamentals of web development as well.

So how much money can you make from blogging with Wordpress?

Some bloggers can earn upwards of six figures per month from their blogs.

But as a complete beginner, you shouldn’t expect to earn that amount of money right away.

Pick a niche area that you have a passion for or expertise in and write about things that people want to know about in that niche.

After that, the amount you earn depends on how many people you can get to read your content. So it could range from £0 per month to £100,000 plus per month, it just depends on you.

For my first ever blog, I earnt about £40 - £50 which I was pretty happy with - and yes it was Wordpress!

Affiliate marketing through a blog or website

The next way to make money online as a web developer on our list is Affiliate marketing through a blog or website.

Affiliate marketing is beginner-friendly, and you only need a small amount of knowledge about HTML to be able to use it.

Affiliate marketing is a digital marketing strategy to monetize your blog or website. It is very common for bloggers to earn an income through affiliate marketing and it can be very fruitful.

So how does it work?

Basically, you partner up or sign up with a company to promote their products, and every time you generate them a sale, you get paid some commission.

One of the most popular and simplest ways to get started with affiliate marketing is through Amazon Associates Program.

All you need to do is sign up, find a product that you truly believe in which aligns with your blog and your content (this is important, never try selling something you don’t personally use or trust).

Amazon Associates Program product selection - Affiliate marketing
Amazon Associates Program product selection - money online as a web developer - Affiliate marketing

Amazon will then give you a link, or in the web development world, something called an anchor element that you need to add into your page.

For example, the following link is an affiliate link for amazon for the laptop that I personally use for web development (Something I highly recommend if you want to get serious with making money online with digital skills such as web development): Affiliate link example

You can either get links like that or images via things called iframes as well.

Now, all you need to do is place this link into your website or blog and get people to look at the product, if they like it then they will purchase it and you will get a small amount of commission from it.

Again the income stream created from affiliate marketing is deeply dependent on your audience and the amount of traffic you get to your website or blog.

Either way, it is a strategy you should take advantage of.

So, using Google Ads on your blog or website is another way to monetize your blog or website, and again it is beginner-friendly.

Google Adsense
Google Ads through a blog or a website

You do have to copy over more code with Google Ads though, you will need to add a script to your site that looks a little like this:

<script async data-ad-client="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js">
</script>

A script is a little bit of code that will be added to your website or blog to perform a task, in this case allow us to use Google Adsense.

Google Ads Script HTML example
Google Ads Script HTML example

To make use of this money-making strategy, you need to sign up to Google Adsense.

Follow their instructions on how to add Adsense to your website or blog - don’t worry Google makes this very easy with a simple step by step guide on how to add the code to your website.

Now, once approved you will have the ability to add ads to your site through various methods that Google provide!

To make Google Adsense work for you, you will most likely need to have a lot of traffic coming to your site otherwise you may not earn too much money.

But if you do then you can expect to earn a decent, semi-reliable form of income.

Shopify store

Now, no blog post about making money online with web development would be complete without mentioning Shopify.

Shopify has got to be the simplest and easiest way to build an e-commerce website and start selling products online.

Shopify
Shopify store

Now I’m not going to go into too much detail because there are so many ways you can integrate with Shopify, but it is worth looking into and can make creating online businesses and making money online so easy with an online shop where you sell your products.

I would say this is probably one of the best ways you can make money online because you have the freedom to create your own business and brand and it is easy enough for beginners with no experience to get involved with.

You sell what you want and charge the prices you want to charge and it is all down to you. All of this with Shopify supporting you and making it easy to create along the way.

So if you have something to sell online then Shopify is the place you will want to go to do it if you’re starting out.

You can think of Shopify as the Wordpress of e-commerce.

And once again, yes Shopify is beginner-friendly to be able to set up.

Sell a service by creating a basic website

We are now moving on to ways to make money online as a developer that requires a higher experience level.

These next methods can still be done by beginners or junior developers, but you will need some prior experience to be able to do the upcoming ways to make money online.

If you don’t have any experience in developing websites from scratch, then don’t worry, just get started on the first methods and get learning today, there are tonnes of free resources available online, I would suggest starting with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

I would recommend looking at these sites: FreeCodeCamp, CodeCademy.

You should still finish this article though because what is possible in the future should give you plenty of motivation to start learning today!

Anyways back to the topic at hand, selling your services online by creating a basic website.

Creating your own website to sell your web development services is such a good place to start for any junior web developer out there.

Not only will you build your skills as a developer but you will also learn about marketing and other skills you need as well.

Oh and don’t forget about the money you can make.

Now I’m not going to pretend that you will become rich from selling your web development services, but it will be a good start.

I would recommend you start by either working for free for your first few sites or giving a very reasonable rate - after all you are still learning from this which is the main goal.

Never forget that the better you get, the better websites you will create and the more money you will earn.

Also start out with friends and family to get a taste for it and so you can start to understand the responsibility before jumping into the deep end.

I made that mistake and jumped into the deep end way too early and I ended up having to spend months creating a website which … let’s just say it wasn’t the best.

So take your time, learn and enjoy the process!

Build websites for your local shops & services

Leading on from the last point, after you have built your first few websites it might be worth looking to expand into your local area a little more.

Try getting in contact with local shops and services.

Local business example
Build websites for your local shops & services

You will need to find what works for you but I suggest creating a list of all local services and shops that have a bad or out-dated website, and just give them a few tips on how they could improve it.

After this, follow up on any potential leads that you generate and say that you will be more than happy to create a website for them for £XXX.

At this stage, I do not recommend talking about hourly rates because you will scare people off.

Local businesses will usually expect to spend somewhere between £300 - £500 in total for their website and will be unlikely to spend more than that.

Here is a good post that explains one method of making money and getting experience from building websites for local shops and services: 10 tips for making money with web development today.

Creating and selling digital products

The next step in your journey to make money online as a web developer could be to create digital products and sell them using Shopify or Stripe

We briefly touched on Shopify in an earlier point, the main difference is here you are going to create and sell your own products that you created with code!

Digital products can be an excellent way to make money online with web development.

This method is also a great way to generate passive income after you have your marketing funnel created.

Digital product
Creating and selling digital products

As a web developer, you have a unique opportunity to be able to create and code digital products from scratch with ease that you can host on your websites or online for free.

Most of the time you can do this for free, meaning that everything you earn is basically pure profit (minus marketing costs and taxes).

If you are not making and selling digital products as a web developer, you really should be.

For almost everyone else it costs money to create and sell digital products, for you as a web developer, it is essentially free so make the most of it!

Some examples of digital products you could make are:

  • Budgeting tools
  • Calculators
  • Automation tools
  • Website themes
  • Wordpress plugins
  • E-Books

Sell services on Fiverr, Upwork and more

Sell services on Fiverr, Upwork and other freelancing sites, now this method is a half-decent way to get your foot in the world of freelancing but I personally think it is not a great method of earning money for most web developers out there.

Fiverr
Sell services on Fiverr, Upwork and more

You have to compete with thousands of others to find contracts and you are completely reliant on the platform to show you as a candidate for those opportunities.

There are better ways to get freelance and contract work as a web developer and I would recommend that you focus on them, (e.g selling to local businesses, or finding your own clients through marketing).

With that said, it doesn’t hurt to have a profile and list your rate on these sites and you never know you may end up getting some work and contracts out of Fiverr or Upwork.

Create mobile apps by using React Native, Vue Native, Ionic, Expo, or Flutter

Creating mobile apps is a fun one.

Ordinarily, creating mobile apps is not something that a web developer would do, but thanks to tools such as React Native, Vue Native, Ionic, Expo and Flutter - from Google, it is now possible and pretty easy for web developers to get involved with mobile app development as well.

React Native
Create mobile apps by using React Native, Vue Native, ionic, Expo, or flutter

The tools that I mentioned above basically take web development and make use of that way of coding to be abel to program mobile apps, almost identically to how you would code a website.

There is still a bit of a learning curve though and there are some key differences between web development with HTML and app development with mobile native elements.

But as long as you have a good understanding of JavaScript and a library or framework like ReactJS or VueJS this should be pretty easy to pick up and start working on.

There are a couple of drawbacks to this approach though, and one is the cost of putting your app on one of the stores, and the other is the amount of time it takes to get your application approved and to perform updates (unless you decide to use Expo with React Native.

The cost of having a developer account on the Google play store is $25 (GBP est), whilst the cost of having a developer account on the App Store is $99 (GBP est).

This is one of the more advanced methods because a lot goes into creating a good, performant mobile application and you do have to have a good understanding of code and Javascript to be able to start learning and creating these apps.

Learn how to use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of my favourite ways, as a web developer, to develop my career and get jobs.

To this day, all of my web development jobs (except the first one) have been through LinkedIn.

It is such a powerful tool to use and can give you endless jobs, career, and work opportunities.

The reason why LinkedIn works is because it’s one of the easiest ways for companies and recruiters to get in touch with you.

LinkedIn
Learn how to use LinkedIn

And you don’t really need to put in much effort either.

Just make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date with all your latest experience and job roles, your web development skills, your CV, and what you are looking for.

After that just add all the people you know and have worked with within the web development world, this can be colleagues, managers, past recruiters or even friends.

Having a bigger network on LinkedIn will get you noticed and eventually you will be inundated with messages from recruiters looking to find you a job.

It is pretty quick too.

At the time of writing, I have over 750 connections on LinkedIn and I get somewhere between 2 - 5 messages per day for web development positions (JavaScript and React specifically).

Now that isn’t a lot if I am being honest.

And the reason why it is not a lot is because I have my status on LinkedIn set to be not available and that I am not looking for a new job.

However, if I switch it to actively looking, I will usually get between 40-100 messages per day, all offering jobs and positions in my specialization/niche!

I haven’t had to ever actively look for a new job in my entire career because they always come to me, via LinkedIn.

So if you haven’t already, start setting your profile up today.

Just remember it takes time to build up a quality network on LinkedIn as a web developer so don’t rush it, take your time, and keep it updated and people will find you and want to give you jobs.

Get a remote working web development job

This one is going to be pretty quick, and it is about finding a remote working web development job.

Remote working jobs are an excellent way to make money online as a web developer and can save you a lot of money with your commute.

Remote working web development
Get a remote working web development job

So if you follow the section about LinkedIn then you will be able to pick and choose remote working jobs after you have built up your network.

Another way is through a website called cwjobs.co.uk I generally find cwjobs is better for contract work than permanent positions but you can still find good positions there too.

Aside from that just Google your job followed by the word “remote” and I am sure you will find some!

Just bear in mind that you will most likely need a good amount of experience to be able to successfully get a remote working job as you will have to be somewhat independent.

The web developer salary you can get from remote work, most of the time is pretty similar to that of working in a major city minus a little bit.

So if you find remote work in London as a senior web developer, you would expect a salary between £60,000 to £90,000 per year.

Specialize in a niche or field to earn more

So for your career as a web developer, specializing is a big thing, in fact choosing one area to focus in is probably the best thing you can do for your career.

In my case, after I chose to specialize in JavaScript & React I literally more than doubled my income in less than a single year.

ReactJS
Specialize in a niche or field to earn more

It is probably one of the best things I have done for my career to this day.

If you are unsure what to specialize in as a web developer, I do have a few suggestions for anyone who prefers frontend development.

Firstly you need to become a Javascript expert.

For those that don’t know Javascript is a programming language that is used in basically every single website and can do so many things.

So become a Javascript expert.

After you do that you have a couple of choices, I have put the best for making money first.

Start with one and master it. Then you can think about learning the others, but remember you should only have one of these as your core skill, the others are just there to make you a better-rounded developer.

Freelancing and Contracting

You can find contracting and freelancing opportunities by getting in touch with recruiters through CwJobs and LinkedIn.

Can you make money as a freelance web developer?

Well, Freelancing and Contracting are the two ways where you can make the most money possible through earned income as a web developer.

CwJobs
Freelancing and Contracting

But to obtain the highest day rate, you need to have an area of expertise or specialism before you start.

Also, I personally recommend that you don’t start contracting or freelancing until you have at least 5 years of experience in web development.

So what can you expect to earn from contracting as a web developer?

If you specialize in React, you can look to earn between £400-£900 per day.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment, that is a huge amount of money, and it is pretty average as a React contractor in a major city like London.

You definitely should not be charging any less than £400 per day.

So if you are in permanent employment as a web developer and you work roughly 230 days per year, the higher end of salaries could be £80,000-£120,000 per year before taxes.

If you contract though and you only work 200 days of the year, you will earn £80,000 - £180,000 per year before taxes - on average.

A few notes before you dive in.

  1. Contracting is a good source of income, but it isn’t for everyone, you do have to continually look for contracts because on average a contract length will be around 3 months.
  2. You need to have money in the bank, you need approximately 3 - 6 months worth of expenses saved up incase you have a long period between contracts.
  3. With new IR35 regulations in the UK, it is now becoming more like employment unless you find contracts outside IR35.

Finally, you will need to set up a private limited company to operate through and make sure you get a good accountancy firm whilst you are at it!

So to answer the question, can you make money as a freelance web developer, yes you definitely can, it is some of the highest paying work you can get as a web developer if you’re doing it the right way.

Creating a digital business

So we have now been through pretty much all the ways that you can earn money from selling your web development services or via your career or contracting, in other words, all the earned income methods.

The next step up is business, more specifically creating your own digital businesses.

Digital business
Creating a digital business

After you have many years of experience you will be able to develop high-quality products and services and you can use it to create a digital business and start to scale.

The thought of starting a business can be scary but it shouldn’t be, especially since as a web developer, you will most likely possess all the skills you need to create your digital business with little to no money to get started!

So take either a passion, a hobby, or something you or someone you know has knowledge on and then find a problem that can be solved with code, and technology.

Solve the problem and then sell your solution.

It’s that simple.

For the actual formation of your business just take a look at gov.uk because they explain everything there.

Creating a SaaS business

Creating a SaaS business is very similar to creating a digital business and much of the same rules apply.

What is SaaS?

SaaS stands for software as a service and it basically means that you sell software to businesses who can then use it to make money.

I have a full post about it here, How to start an online SaaS business in 2020 that you should check out if this interests you.

Become an influencer on Youtube, Twitter and Instagram

By this point, I would imagine that you are a true expert in the field, and because of that, it might be worth building up an audience that comes to you for tips and advice by becoming an influencer.

You shouldn’t have anything to worry about as long as you are an expert and like to share your knowledge with others. People will eventually find you.

In the tech world or development world, Twitter is one of the most used platforms from my own experience, followed shortly by Youtube, Reddit and Instagram.

Youtube
Become an influencer on Youtube, Twitter and Instagram

Building up an audience can be a really good option because not only are you helping other people out by sharing your knowledge but it also gives you the ability to create and sell relevant products, services or courses to people who want to see and buy them.

Not to mention getting your name out there!

Creating a Digital agency

Creating a digital agency is another business that you can startup.

And again, as a web developer you already have a huge advantage over others who want to start a digital agency, you have all the skills you need to start it with fairly low risk and without having to spend too much money.

So, how do web development companies make money?

The idea behind this one is you create an agency and market it to people who need help with their digital needs, in other words, if they need a website they can come to your agency to build, manage and grow it for them so they build up an online presence that converts sales.

Of course for this to work you need to either hire some digital marketing experts or to have good knowledge and experience in digital marketing yourself.

But after you get enough clients you can look to start expanding and hiring people to help you out.

A couple of tips here if you do choose to start a digital agency:

  1. Make sure you are different - choose a niche. Don’t try to do all websites of all shapes and sizes, choose one small area of expertise and focus on it, for example, you could make an agency that specializes in cricket websites.

  2. Automate everything you can. To work as a digital agency and to keep your prices competitive you need to automate everything you can to keep up with the market.

Aside from that, have fun with it!

Consulting

Consulting can be a brilliant way to earn money from sharing your web development expertise.

It is actually harder than it sounds, you need to be a true expert to make this work for you. Businesses and people will come to you with all manner of varying questions about the topic you choose, and you need to have the answers.

The best way to go about consulting is to first build up a reputation and following, that way you can build trust in the community and it will become easier to find consulting clients who already trust you.

If you do this though, consulting can be incredibly profitable.

Creating a web Consultancy

And the very last option and also one of the hardest with the most risk is to start a web development consultancy.

The reason why this is one of the hardest is because you will be competing with contractors and freelancers for clients, and you will need to justify charging more money than they do as well.

On top of this, you will need to have a couple of expert developers working for you to get your consultancy off the ground.

Consulting
Creating a web Consultancy

But if you do get it up and running, it can be one of the most profitable and scalable options here.

An example of a huge, global web development consultancy would be CapGemini.

A web consultancy works by you giving businesses your expert developers and expert advice in order to build a system or website for them.

For the developers you hire for your consultancy, it will be like contracting or freelancing but they will be permanently employed.

And for you, it will be a lot of dealing with clients and consulting with them.

To finish things off

I know this was a pretty long article, so thank you if you made it this far!

I hoped that you enjoyed it, and have learnt at least one new way to make money online as a web developer! If you did make sure you share this article on social media and with all your friends.

Also, don’t forget to pin this article with Pinterest!

You can do so by hovering over the following image and clicking the “Save” button in the top left corner:

Make sure you check out the rest of New age of plenty for more.

See you in the next one!

By Will Mayger in Web Development.
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