Case study

Web designer — Mike McDonnell

After completing self-directed study, Mike founded his own company, Glide Marketing Ltd, and now works freelance

What qualifications do you have?

I haven't got a degree, but I work hard on professional development. The course that got me started was a beginner's web design online Level 3 diploma that cost in the region of £150.

I followed that up with a Level 1 intro course in Commercial Awareness with the Open University.

I completed the courses a couple of years ago but, 90% of what I know is learned from Udemy, forums and YouTube.

What's a typical working day like in your company?

I am involved in various projects, spanning website design, search engine optimisation (SEO), hosting and maintenance, and handling minor upgrades and changes for local businesses. It's a blend that keeps me engaged and constantly evolving to meet the unique needs of my clients.

In terms of  design, I take pride in crafting visually appealing and highly functional websites. My clients include restaurants, designer clothing stores, ecommerce brands, and companies in the gaming and gambling sector.

My knowledge in SEO ensures that these websites not only look good, and function well, but also perform well in search engine rankings. I help brands drive organic traffic to their sites, increasing their leads and brand awareness.

Beyond web design and SEO, I extend my support to hosting and maintenance services, ensuring that my clients' online platforms operate smoothly. Additionally, my commitment to facilitating minor upgrades and changes is invaluable to local businesses looking to refine their online presence.

My role has developed from a web designer to now offering all forms of digital marketing. This gives the client a service they're truly looking for.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Seeing the reactions of my clients when I present them with their website for the first time. There’s something quite magical about bringing someone’s passion, their business, to life online. There's a sense of excitement around their audience seeing and being impressed by their website, as well as the excitement they have for the business that the website will generate.

Also, looking at the data and how the website and SEO improvements have helped generate positive outcomes. Seeing an ever-increasing chart of website traffic and/or sales generated from the new or upgraded website is proof that the work we've done is having a positive impact financially and has been a very worthwhile investment for our clients.

I also enjoy the flexibility of working remotely and choosing when I'd like to work.

What are the most challenging parts of your web design and marketing work?

There being such a vast array of tools out there, with more coming out each week, makes it a bit tricky as everyone does things differently. This can mean there are obstacles to collaboration.

Any words of advice for someone wanting to get into this job?

  • Keep learning outside of your studies. Tools are constantly changing and it's vital you stay up to date with best practices.
  • You need to stay disciplined and keep putting the hard work in, even when no one is looking, in order to succeed.
  • Networking is key to obtaining work. Get yourself out there and talk to as many people as possible, to build relationships and trust.

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