Getting better at anything takes considerable time and effort. Feel like you are in a rut with progressing your web design skill? Try this:

  1. Find a web site you really love the design of. Maybe browse a design gallery.
  2. Open up your design program of choice and try to copy it identically*. Take a full page screenshot of the site for reference and quick overlays.
  3. During this copying process, there will be many opportunities to put your own spin on the design and make it your own.
  4. Convert your final design into HTML/CSS. If you get stuck, ask for help.
  5. Repeat.

I have heard many fledgling web designers complain that they aren't able to get better because they don't have any clients to make sites for. You don't need a client to make a website. I've long been friends with many musicians. I think of them locking themselves in the piano room for 6 hours on a Saturday head-down in sheet music practicing. Why don't we do that?

*I'm not advocating design theft here, I'm advocating using great design to learn from. Like learning to play a popular song on guitar.