Since the internet hit the mainstream in 1995, it’s had its business ups and downs. But one sector – web pros – has remained hot throughout, and shows no signs of slowing down, according to a new global research study. A business growing at 25 percent or more is in a boom – yet that’s what 79 percent of web developers and designers reported as growth.
What does that tell us?
We’ve seen two stages of the internet. The first was from 1995 to 2005, and was primarily defined by enterprise, news and some retail. The second stage, with the advent of the smartphone and apps, has focused on consumer services. But these stages had one thing in common: the need for web pros to develop and design the way people, organizations and businesses connect. And as we enter into a third stage of the internet – artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things – that need for the services of web pros will continue.
Global research study sheds light on web pros
When GoDaddy conceived the research, it wanted to dive deep into the world of web developers and designers who are creating their own businesses (so the study doesn’t focus on web pros working on behalf of large corporations, for example).
So what does this global research study — conducted by Evans Data in Brazil, Germany, India, Mexico, the United Kingdom and United States — tell us about these web pros?
Like any boom sector, huge opportunities are offset by pain points.
One in three web pros report they are growing at an even faster rate than their counterparts, with annual growth of 50 percent or more. And this remains a young industry in flux: Nearly half reported they have been in business less than five years. That number ranges by country — the United States has the most mature market, with India and Mexico the least mature.
And while what is driving growth can vary by region, there are some clear trends. Travel, retail, food and fitness are common denominators creating opportunities for web pros globally.
Like with any high-growth sector, however, a boom brings challenges. The research shows the importance of continued learning and the need to manage growth and focus on looking where the next clients will come from.
To keep up with demand in the newer markets, pros are focusing on gaining the technical and creative skills necessary to provide services while managing clients. But in the most mature market, the United States, the focus is as much on how the business is run — project management and business skills — as is it is on staying up to speed technically.
Most important skills, by country
|Project Management||Technical||Creative||Technical||Managing Clients|
|Business||Managing Clients||Project Management||Managing Clients||Technical|
In more mature markets, developers and designers are more likely to work for a small firm, concentrating their work on fewer clients who provide larger retainers. That strategy has enabled them to devote more time to securing new clients and growing their business.
Among the 1,500 web pros surveyed for the global research study, 83 percent support a certification program that focuses on improving skills and expertise. That means there is a strong desire for industry standards, which help both web pros and customers looking for consistent service.
Supporting web pros around the globe
One thing the research made clear was the challenge web pros face in managing all the tasks required to succeed in their industry. Most are freelancers or small agencies without internal sales, marketing or business teams to help manage the range of activities required to support their business.
It’s up to industry leaders like GoDaddy to help provide the tools and resources web pros need to thrive.
If we want the web pro sector to progress, we need to stay on top of not only their technical skills and infrastructure but also their business and marketing skill set.
That’s one of the reasons GoDaddy offers complete web pro solutions that include hosting as well as integrated tools that help pros with their daily tasks in managing multiple clients and multiple websites. GoDaddy Pro features one dashboard that automates common administrative tasks. That means web pros can save time and money, and focus on building recurring revenue streams or finding new clients.
The mark of a “Golden Era” for any industry is rapid growth and rapid change. For web pros, that can be both exciting and daunting. Now it’s up to industry leaders to help them understand the challenges and come up with the tools and solutions that can help them manage growth.