One of the greatest advantages of being a freelance web designer is that as long as you have an Internet connection and your computer, you can work from anywhere and for anyone around the world. Luckily, the demand for freelancers has greatly increased over the last few years, with many excellent opportunities for employment. But when you’re just beginning your freelance career, it might be difficult to know where to look for those jobs. To help you find the projects you need to build your business, we’ve compiled a list of the best websites to get freelance web design projects.
The Heavy Hitters
Although there are dozens of freelancing sites out there, some stand head and shoulders above the rest. Large sites like Elance, Guru, and Krop offer users an incredible array of potential jobs. Large sites also boast a much broader collection of members in the community. The services provided by many of these sites are second to none as well, making them a great option for getting your freelance career off to a good start.
Elance is one of the largest and most popular sites for freelancers. The site doesn’t specifically cater to web designers, but there is a robust Information Technology section with hundreds of web design jobs posted at any given time. There are over 8 million individuals and over 2 million business on Elance, so the opportunities to get projects on Elance are strong. The bonus is that the entire process is conducted through Elance, from searching and applying for jobs to communicating with clients and getting paid.
- Ability to create milestones to break tasks into smaller chunks
- Built-in email, chat, and file-sharing
- Payment protection service
- Mediation services in case conflicts arise with a client
- Space for online portfolio
- All-in-one convenience
- 75% service fee deducted from every transaction
- Most job postings are not in the field of web design
- Some features require a monthly service fee
- Portfolio space is not customizable and is not very user or viewer friendly
Guru is a lot like Elance, but with 1.5 million users it is much smaller in scale. Nonetheless, users have many tools at their disposal including a workroom where freelancers and their clients can meet to discuss project details. There’s also a built-in payment system called SafePay that protects you and your client from shady deals. Just create a profile, list the services you provide, and begin searching for jobs!
- Create agreements and set tasks, all within the site’s interface
- Lots of support services
- Manage your projects from anywhere, anytime
- Portfolio space is customizable and easy to use
- All-in-one convenience
- Most job listings are for careers outside the field of web design
- Some features require a monthly fee
- No set pay ranges, so payment amounts vary widely
With over 1 million views a month, Krop has grown into one of the largest job sites for creative professionals. Simple in its function and design, Krop is a job board only – no transactions take place on the site. Individuals or companies create a job post, and creative professionals such as yourself can search those posts and apply according to each job posting’s instructions.
- Developed by creative professionals, for creative professionals
- Powerful search tools to focus on specific job types, categories, or locations
- Online space to create a portfolio that you can customize to your brand
- Post your resume for free
- The portfolio space is $8.25 per month
- Few features beyond search capabilities and portfolio space
Job Boards Specifically for Creative Professionals
If you’re looking for a more intimate job search experience, there are a number of excellent websites that cater specifically to creative professionals. While these sites may not provide all the bells and whistles that the larger sites do, their focus on creative careers means that the jobs posted are more likely to be in your field of expertise. Plus, the fewer the jobs that are posted, the less time you have to spend searching through them!
Everyone in the design field knows about Dribbble and should have a Dribbble account to showcase their work. What some people don’t know is that Dribbble also offers a job board. The listings are sorted by posting date, so it’s easy to keep tabs on the latest jobs posted. The job board also allows you to search for jobs based on your preferred location.
- Leverages the power of the Dribbble community
- Easy access to your Dribbble profile
- Free to use
- Top companies from around the world post job openings
- Search criteria are somewhat limited
- Job board is still growing; not many jobs posted at this point
Behance, like Dribbble, offers its members a great service by providing a job board. As a member of Behance, you can set alerts for specific types of jobs and flag jobs that pose an interest to you. You can also search for jobs based on their location, creative field, or by a specific company that’s posted the job. Keyword searching is available as well.
- Robust search features and ability to store interesting leads
- Offers Behance members nice integration with their projects and portfolio
- Simple to use
- Wide variety of web design related jobs
- You have to be a member of Behance to apply for jobs
- Little in the way of additional services or benefits
Smashing Magazine is one of the most widely read blogs in the world. That’s a huge bonus for individuals or companies looking for great creative talent, which is why some of the largest creative companies in the world post jobs on the Smashing Jobs board. There are both full-time and freelance postings from companies both big and small. The interface is easy to use, and listings are updated minute-by-minute.
- Intuitive search features allow you to narrow search results down
- Freelance-only job listings ensure you can find the kind of job you want
- Only a few dozen freelance jobs are listed at any given time
- No features or benefits beyond the job board service
Authentic Jobs helps creative professionals find jobs with companies around the world. Although not as large as Elance, Guru, or Krop, Authentic Jobs focuses solely on jobs for web professionals. Like several other sites on this list, Authentic Jobs is a job board only, so don’t look for any additional features.
- Free to browse job listings
- Job listings are specific to web design and development
- Filters allow you to search by job type, location, and level of employment, such as full-time, part-time, or moonlighting
- Job alerts are available – just sign up and you’ll be notified when jobs are posted
- Not many web design-only jobs are posted
- No services beyond email alerts
Coroflot, like Dribbble and Behance, allows users to share their work with other creative people as well as companies looking for creative workers. Their job board isn’t this biggest on the Internet, but it does offer many new job listings each day. You can search for jobs based on location, company, or keyword, or for more refined results, search based upon your area of expertise.
- One of the most active job boards on the Internet
- Robust search criteria allow you to narrow results down to the jobs best suited for you
- Connectivity to your Coroflot projects and portfolio
- Job pool is relatively small compared to other services
- No capabilities to store preferred jobs or get alerts when new ones are posted
We Work Remotely
We Work Remotely is a nice little job board that is designed for people who want a job that doesn’t tie them down to a specific geographic location. There are no fancy search tools or portfolio space here – just a clean and simple listing of jobs sorted by the most recent postings.
- Free and easy to use
- RSS feed available, so you never miss a job posting
- Posts freelance-only jobs
- No special features
- The number of web design jobs posted at any given time can vary widely
Starting your career as a freelance web designer will take a lot of time, dedication, and effort. But utilizing one or more of these sites to search for and apply to jobs will get you going in the right direction very quickly. While it might be tempting to utilize many (or all!) of these sites to find jobs, keeping track of applications and proposals from numerous sites can quickly become overwhelming. Think about selecting one or two sites to begin with, then expand beyond that if need be.
Have you had luck finding jobs on any of the sites we’ve mentioned? Share your experience by leaving a comment below! Also take a minute to take a tour of IM Creator site builder and sign up for an account. It’s free!