Web designers are the unsung hero of web marketing. They are usually depicted as quiet individuals working hard in a corner of their respective offices, creating the single most important marketing tool businesses need online. Without web designers, the entire world of internet marketing will be in shambles. The Internet itself won’t exist.

Every web designer has his or her own bucket list or things that he or she envisions to accomplish. For those who don’t have one yet, here are eight recommendations that will help you stay on top of your game.

Engage in Everyday Learning

Web designers are only as good as their last designs. The best practices of today may not be relevant tomorrow. Everyone involved in internet marketing should be aware that obsoleteness is always just around the corner. Web designing is a profession of life-long learning. It does not stop. Technology evolves and the needs of businesses evolve as well. Make it your commitment to dedicate at least two hours a day to learn what’s happening in the industry.

Earn Your Badges

Trust indicators are powerful tools in conversion marketing and one way for web designers to push forward with their careers is to earn certifications from reputable third party organizations such as IBM, Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle and Google. Given all things equal, it will boil down to trust and businesses will most likely trust web designers who are affiliated with trusted organizations. It’s like earning your own testimonials that will testify to the quality of your work.

Be a Master of All Trades

Online marketing practices that were once exclusively mutual are now converging. Internet stands for interconnectedness so it really comes as no surprise that the different fields of digital marketing are now converging. Looking forward, there’s no other way but to embrace synergy. That being said, web designers need to learn the basics of the marketing practices that are closely tied to web designing. Web designers should have basic web development knowledge, they should be SEO savvy, and they should know the basic of content development and should be attuned with the recent developments in social media. It may sound daunting at first, but there’s really no way to move forward but to learn all these skills.

Strive to be a Team Leader

This is especially true if you’re aspiring to have your own web design firm. More heads are better than one, right? If you want to learn new skills, leading a team composed of the best in their fields is the best way to do it. You’ll get to sharpen your leadership skills and at the same time, learn technical knowledge while growing your business.

Enhance Your Skills as a Persuasive Marketer

Whether you’re running your own independent design agency or employed in one, you need to develop your capacities as a persuasive marketer. For those running their own firms, you need to learn how to win over clients, especially with the cut-throat competition in the market today. For those who are employed in agencies, while your job may be stable right now, a financial crisis is just around the corner and nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. Secure or not, you need to learn how to package and sell yourself. Given all skills equal, knowing how to persuasively market yourself can spell the difference between success and failure.

Walk the Talk

Fashion designers look fashionable. Religious leaders look saintly. Politicians look honorable. In the same line of thinking, your own website should show your clients that you are putting into practice what you preach. You will be surprised how many web designers don’t have responsive website designs while convincing their clients that mobile internet is the next frontier. There are numerous web designers tell their clients to simplify their web properties when they themselves have cluttered and unfocused websites.If you want your clients or prospective clients to believe you, you have to show them that you walk the talk and the things you are telling them are not only lip service.

Learn to Speak the Language of Businessmen

Oftentimes, what causes friction between businessmen or marketing executives and professional web designers is faulty communication. Web designers speak in the jargon of designs while entrepreneurs speak in the language of business. Here’s a reality check: gone are the days when web designs are created for web designing’s sake. In the beginning of this discussion, it was mentioned how a website is the single most powerful tool in online marketing. Hence, your web design should be aligned with a set of business objectives that your client sets. At the end of the day, your clients won’t care if your design looks like a piece of art. What they care about is results. Did it generate leads? Did it increase subscriptions? Did it boost sales? You have to appreciate your client’s business and the things that are important to them.

Go Out There and Network

The stereotypical mental image the people have of web designers are cold, quiet, unsociable individuals who like to be alone while working. While no one wants to be pigeonholed, a lot of designers are guilty of this assumption.

Well, it’s time to move out of your comfort zone and start networking. Be active on LinkedIn. Sign up for seminars not just on web design, but internet marketing as a whole. Form intimate groups with like-minded others and go out with them frequently. Break away from the stereotype and you’ll be surprised how much better of a designer you can be just by socializing and networking with people.

You don’t have to do all of these and you don’t need to go all out immediately. Take baby steps and think about your own goals. Ask yourself: where do I see myself as a web designer a few years down the road? What are my current challenges and what can I do about them? As you answer these questions, you can form your own bucket list, taking into consideration a few of the suggestions above.