Getting by as a Web Design in our Down Economy

It seems that every day another article comes out telling you how bad the economy is.  I do so hope that you weren’t banking on this trend somehow passing web design by.
A joint study commissioned by Heart Internet, a UK Web Host, and Design Shack, a web design blog, puts any hopes of that to rest.  It found that 80 percent of web designers find work to be either as hard or harder to come by than it was one year ago.  With less free capital to be allocated towards redesigning existing sites and the existence of more and more free options, this is a situation that does not look to correct itself any time soon.
The web designer who wants to stay in this profession needs to find ways to ride out this storm.  Here are a few suggestions:

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Write for new platforms
If there’s any technology that is advancing faster than all of the rest of technology that intersects with it, it is within the smart phone realm.  New pads and phones and tablets are flying off the shelves.  What isn’t flying with it are the applications and programming meant to make use of their specific setups.
This is reflected in another poll from Heart Internet which stated that only 50% of web designers consider writing their code for use on mobile applications.  Well, there you go: start writing for them and you’ve now got a leg up on half of your competitors.  Of course, this is a lot of changing standards to keep up with.  It’s not easy; but in this economy, neither is anything that you need to do to stay ahead.  With more and more shopping being done from a hand-held device, this is a swelling market demographic that cannot be ignored.

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Fill in the gaps
And it probably goes without saying that this same rule also goes for all of the old services that you never got around to learning.  Can you write for Unix, Linux and Windows servers?  Did you learn Flash, Shockwave, X3D?  Heck, learn Linden while you’re at it.  It may seem absurd or frivolous, but those Second Life dollars can become real dollars, and who even knows where those are going?
Expand downward
There are many other options to consider. Advertising-driving personal blogs, accepting advertising in general, freelance writing, join website design contest website like, even at home customer service; all of these areas are filled with employers who are in constant need of little bits of help.  Those few extra dollars you make could make all the difference, not to mention the fact that by accepting more work you are continuing to make new connections.  Those connections could someday be new webmasters looking for your main service.

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Yes, it may feel demeaning to resort to this after all of your hard training learning PHP or other similar languages.  Take a look at the world, though: you aren’t the only one having to retrain yourself.  Be happy, as a web designer, that you can still make a living at all.  Then, do what you have to do to make sure you can keep your career path on track.