web-designA web designers job requires many skills that are, individually, in high demand. It just so happens that these web designers package all of their talents toward completing one main goal: developing websites for individuals and businesses. But there is so much more out there if one is willing to develop and market one of their individual skills (vertical) or even take upon the task of learning and becoming an expert at one that compliments their current work (horizontal).

The following are five different paths a web designer may take to expand their business and expertise.

1. App Development

App development can be paired with the development of a website. Web designers already understand the value of a mobile website; an app is the next extension. Being able to offer app development alongside the web design can be very lucrative and increase profits to the business twofold.

Do this: Invest in a professional app development course and devote at least an hour a day learning the fundamentals and practicing the concepts. Once comfortable seek other developers and professional communities to gather feedback, suggestions, and guidance to master the new skillset.

2. Online Advertising

Once a website is live the owner will most likely seek the aid of an advertising or marketing professional. Rather than miss this opportunity the web designer can take it upon themselves to learn the trade and provide it as an additional service with their design package.

Do this: Begin researching and launching small campaigns across various advertising networks like Google AdWords, Facebook, BuySellAds, and the others. Record what is learned during this process and then approach individuals and businesses offering these services after the development of their website.

3. Online Marketing

Businesses seek professional in online marketing to provide organic growth on the web. Online marketing is a great, additional offer for web designers because it can present a long-term contract for work since online marketing is a marathon and not a race. Having one or two clients paying monthly for online marketing services can reduce the stress caused from having to continually source new leads and clients (which aren’t always available).

Do this: Similar to advertising – online marketing can be learned through practice. Learning the basics of content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization can be done relatively quickly though mastery does take some years. However, many of these items will benefit the web design business regardless so it becomes an easy addition to the available services.

4. Information Product Development

Knowledge can be condensed into an information product such an ebook, video course, or membership program. These products are sold and delivered through the web which makes them extremely profitable because there is no cost in the physical production of these type of items.

Do this: Create a list of topics that are appealing and part of the existing skill set. Outline and conceptualize the idea of the product (type of media, topics and sub-topics, audience, etc) and set out to create one section at a time. The product could then be offered to existing and future clients through the portfolio or even included as part of a web design package.

5. Theme Development

Costs are a big factor for individuals and businesses trying to develop a web presence which is why many turn toward website themes to reduce the costs. For a web designer this doesn’t necessarily disrupt their profitability because if they choose to release their work via templates they can develop passive income streams with a few tweaks to their workflow.

Do this: Shift the workflow so that the web design is less catered toward a single client and more toward a broad appeal. List the theme through the portfolio website and on theme marketplaces. Expand on the work by offering niche designs per type of industry (e.x. non-profit, beauty, etc).


There are countless options one has when they look at the horizontal and vertical opportunities in business. Finding and developing skills based on existing work (horizontal ventures) leads to an ease in creating new revenue stream. Challenging oneself to learning a new skill that is aligned to current expertise and goals (vertical ventures) can be a game changer. All it takes is a little push and free time.