Aug 11, 2023
Average Website Designer Salary: Skills, Experience, and Specialization
Every year, more and more brick-and-mortar businesses start offering services online to improve accessibility and revenue. The increasing number of business websites creates a demand for professionals that design and develop web pages.
This is a great opportunity if you want to become a web designer yourself. The available positions are growing rapidly alongside new technologies and trends.
This article will cover key factors affecting web designer salaries and average compensation in the US. Moreover, we will provide tips for earning more for your skills and experience.
Factors Influencing the Average Web Designer Salary
According to Salary.com, a web designer can earn roughly $51,000 to $78,000/year. The wage variations depend on the geographic location and company benefits.
The job title may also influence salary calculation as web designers’ roles and responsibilities vary based on experience, skills, and specialization.
Since web designer salaries vary based on area, the company may adjust the income range for remote jobs based on where you stay. Sometimes, the employer will calculate the salary according to its headquarters location, allowing you to earn more than the average pay in your area.
Furthermore, the living cost is important in determining web designer salaries. The bigger the city, the more expensive it is to live in.
In addition, metropolises such as Boston, Seattle, and Washington attract more tech companies, thus increasing the salary standard. In comparison, a smaller city like Portsmouth might offer lower wages.
According to Zippia, here are the five highest-paying cities in 2023:
- Seattle, Washington. Web designers earn $85,540/year on average.
- Boston, Massachusetts. On average, a web designer makes $83,854/year.
- Washington, D.C. The average compensation for web designers is $81,027/year.
- San Francisco, California. Web designers make around $80,842/year.
- New York, New York. The average wage for web designers is $72,789/year.
Experience and Skills
Web designer experience and skills can be divided into three levels:
- Entry-level. Consists of fresh graduates without prior work experience. An entry-level position is a great learning experience, letting you learn from professional designers and determine how the market works. Recent graduates usually know how to structure and design a website. However, they must still improve their web development skills to create advanced and intricate projects.
- Junior. It comprises designers with less than three years of web design experience, usually having one or two successful projects. Mostly, they assist senior web designers in creating design templates and mock-ups.
- Senior. An experienced web designer with over five years of experience will naturally get a higher salary. A senior web designer usually works within a single company for several years to get such a position. Additionally, they have experience managing projects, making important decisions, and are trusted to handle crucial tasks.
Area of Specialization
Specializing in a specific niche will influence your job title, responsibilities, and salary. Here’s a list of the most common specialization areas:
- UI designer. They create the style, feel, and interactivity of a digital product’s interface. A UI designer understands color theory, typography, and core UI design approaches such as the Gestalt principles.
- UX designer. These specialists focus on producing a seamless UX design by creating a responsive interface and analyzing customer behavior. They must have user research, wireframing, prototyping, coding, analytical, and responsive design skills.
- Interaction designer. This role focuses on innovation and creativity to improve the overall user experience, creating an interactive design layout that enhances user communication.
- UX researcher. These professionals explore user motivations, behaviors, and needs. They mainly do this via UX testing sessions, remotely observing customers using digital tools, and conducting surveys to gather feedback. A UX researcher also examines competitors, creates prototypes, and assists in web development.
- Hybrid designer. Someone with well-established web design and technical skills is rather rare and valuable. This makes such experts an attractive hiring opportunity for tech companies. In addition, web developer-designer specialists can offer experience-fueled tips on web design nuances.
Company Provided Benefits
Most companies provide additional perks and benefits as part of a web designer’s salary. These may vary depending on the position, specialization, and expertise.
It may include gym memberships, health insurance, or travel packages. Occasionally, companies also provide annual bonuses or profit sharing, giving you an extra commission, usually at the end of a year.
Since many web designers need only a laptop and a stable internet connection, they can work from anywhere. Sometimes, employers may allow them to work remotely or from home.
Average Web Designer Salary
The average web designer salary is divided into three categories based on the abovementioned factors.
Website Designer Salary by Experience
Entry-Level Web Designer Salary
We have compiled the average salaries of entry-level web designers from two different platforms:
- Glassdoor. The average salary is $53,861/year, ranging from the lowest at $38,000 to the highest at $78,000/year.
- ZipRecruiter. The average web designer salary is $49,340/year, ranging from $22,500 to $99,500/year.
According to these sources, entry-level web designers earn around $51,600/year, on average.
Junior Web Designer Salary
Here is the list of the average junior web designer salaries:
- Glassdoor. The lowest salaries start at $43,000 and go up to $100,000/year. On average, a junior web designer earns $65,522/year.
- Salary.com. Web designers make $54,712/year on average, with the lowest salary being $46,864 and the highest $64,637/year.
Combining the data, a junior web designer makes about $60,117/year.
Senior Web Designer Salary
Here are the average salaries of senior web designers:
- Glassdoor. The average salary is $103,913/year, ranging from $68,000 to $160,000/year.
- Salary.com. A senior web designer can make $112,123/year, ranging from the lowest at $100,721 to the highest at $124,349/year.
A senior web designer earns $108,018/year on average.
Website Designer Salary by Specialization
Web designer salaries also vary based on specialization. We will break down five popular subfields below.
Web Designer Salary
We have compiled a web designer salary comparison from different platforms:
- Glassdoor. The average web designer salary is $65,668/year, including additional pay. The income ranges between $42,000 to $103,000/year.
- ZipRecruiter. The average salary of a web designer is around $60,087/year or $29/hour. The pay can range from $19,000 to $113,000/year.
Based on this information, a web designer earns $62,877/year on average.
UI Designer Salary
A UI designer typically receives a higher salary than a regular web designer. Here’s how much they earn:
- Glassdoor. According to the site’s calculation, the average salary is $100,473/year. It can range from $66,000 to 156,000/year.
- Salary.com. The data gathered shows the average salary is $77,150/year. Pay ranges between $64,923 to $89,129/year.
To sum up, a UI designer can make $88,811/year.
UX Designer Salary
This role has a higher pay rate compared to a UI designer, according to these resources:
- Glassdoor. This platform’s data shows that the average salary is $98,160/year. The income ranges from $62,000 to $158,000/year.
- ZipRecruiter. The average salary is $102,965/year or $50/hour. The wage typically ranges between $44,500 and $160,000/year.
A UX designer can make around $100,562/year.
Interaction Designer Salary
Smaller companies usually distribute the responsibilities between UI and UX designers, so there might be fewer opportunities for this position. However, interaction designers can earn more than a UI designer:
- Glassdoor. The estimated average salary is $110,593/year. The total income ranges between $70,000 to $176,000/year.
- Salary.com. The national average is $85,011/year. An interaction website designer salary range goes from $76,227 to $93,297/year.
An interaction designer earns $97,802/year on average.
UX Researcher Salary
This increasingly popular position earns similar wages as interaction designers, according to these resources:
- Glassdoor. A UX researcher’s average salary is $102,192/year. The pay can range between $61,000 to $173,000/year.
- Salary.com. A UX researcher makes $91,174/year on average. The site’s data shows that the lowest amount is $75,312/year, while the highest is $110,595/year.
To sum up, the average wage of a UX researcher is $96,683/year.
WordPress Web Designer Salary
Since WordPress is the most popular CMS, a good amount of people know how to use it for web design and web development. This means there’s a lot of competition.
Therefore, WordPress designers earn less than others in the tech industry, as shown below:
- Glassdoor. A WordPress designer’s salary ranges from $36,000 to $84,000/year, while the average is $51,374/year.
- Salary.com. WordPress web designers earn from $54,066 to $73,464/year. They make around $62,603/year.
According to the latest data, the average base salary of a WordPress web designer is $56,988/year.
Hybrid Web Designer Salary
As it is a rare position, the average salary of a hybrid web designer is:
- Payscale. The average base salary is $59,647/year, while the income can range from $40,000 to $90,000/year.
- Glassdoor. The average base pay is $80,374/year. The salary ranges from $69,000 to $174,000/year.
Overall, hybrid web designers earn around $70,010/year.
Website Designer Salary by Employment Type
A web designer’s salary may vary depending on the employment type. If you are employed by a company, they will decide the official wage.
On the other hand, freelancers can determine their web designer hourly rate based on their skill set, experience, and geographical location.
Depending on the project’s complexity, they can earn:
- ZipRecruiter. The average freelance web designer salary is $55,224/year. Their income ranges from $23,496 to $111,504/year.
- Glassdoor. The average salary is $51,346/year. The pay ranges from $34,000 to $78,000/year.
A freelance web designer can make $53,285/year. When calculating your rates, don’t forget to consider your expenses, such as tools and software subscriptions, web hosting if you have a website to offer your services, and other business costs.
Tips for Increasing Earnings as a Website Designer
Even though a web designer’s income is lower than a web developer’s salary, it is still a lucrative career. As long as you have front-end development, time management, and communication skills, you can earn a higher salary by following these tips.
Take on Side Hustles or Freelancing
Web design is one of the most in-demand and profitable tech services. To gain extra income, try side hustling in your free time. Doing so will open more career options and advancement opportunities.
Additionally, side hustles offer a refreshing change from everyday work. They give you flexibility and control over your schedule.
It is also a chance to tackle passion projects. This means doing something you love and enjoy without losing your primary web design income.
Before doing it, remember to manage your time efficiently – always prioritize your main job.
Aside from having a side hustle, you can also try freelancing. Some companies prefer hiring freelance web designers to complete a specific task rather than a full-time professional, as it’s more efficient.
It will give you the opportunity to work for multiple clients and gain different perspectives. It is also a good idea if you want to work remotely.
If you’re interested in becoming a freelancer, we suggest learning how to create a captivating web design proposal for your clients.
Improve Your Skills Through Courses
Spend your free time wisely by expanding your skills through online courses and obtaining web design certifications. Doing so helps advance your future career, such as getting a promotion. Furthermore, this is the best way to go if you want to specialize in a web design subfield.
If you’re interested in UX design, Coursera offers several intermediate and advanced courses, such as Web Design: Strategy and Information Architecture. The class takes around 12 hours to complete, and the instructor comes from the California Institute of the Arts.
Teach Others How to Do Web Design
Teaching web design can be a good way to earn extra money, especially when you have years of experience and skills under your belt. Depending on your location and expertise, you can sell numerous online courses, such as:
- Paid online courses with syllabuses via Udemy, Skillshare, or Coursera.
- Premium live classes through an online boot camp platform, such as Thinkful or Thinkific.
- Free teaching videos monetized via ads, affiliates, or memberships using YouTube.
Start an Agency
When you’ve built a successful web design career, it can be a good time to transition from freelancing to an agency.
Running a web development company means hiring people to help complete projects and find more potential clients. The provided creative services may vary, but we recommend sticking to your and the team’s specialization, for example, UX design and digital marketing.
Starting a web design business means every decision you make may impact your employees. Therefore, ensure you’re ready and have the experience to handle such challenges.
If you’re considering switching to another career in the IT industry, a web designer position is worth pursuing.
However, the compensation will vary depending on your geographic location, experience, skills, specializations, and company benefits.
Aside from being an in-demand career, a web design job can provide side hustle opportunities to earn more income, for example, by becoming a freelance website designer or starting a creative agency.
If you have any further questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below.