Building a great website requires a team effort between web designers and their clients. That holds true whether you’re a solo freelancer or part of a larger agency. Web design clients who buy-in and provide us with guidance are crucial ingredients for success.
So often, those of us in the industry talk about what we need from our clients – and that makes sense. But, in order to really serve them, we must fulfill their needs as well. However, it seems like that subject tends to fall under the radar.
With that in mind, let’s explore some things that our web design clients need from us. Some of it may be common sense, while others are a little less obvious.
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An Open Mind
Being open to new ideas is a two-way street. Sometimes, clients may approach their website with ideas that are at odds with what we may think.
Just like everyone else, we web designers are susceptible to being set in our ways. Our experiences can lead us to what we believe is the perfect formula for a website. It may be certain design characteristics, or it could be development tools and techniques.
When a client suggests something outside of our comfort zone, it’s natural to become, well, uncomfortable. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean their ideas are unworkable. It may be a case of getting past those initial thoughts and gaining a better understanding of what’s being said.
Of course, not every idea a client has is a winner. But it’s still important to come into each project with an open mind. You could be missing out on something great.
Beyond that, the fact that you truly listened can help to create a solid client-designer relationship as well.
Listening is only part of the relationship-building process. Honesty is also a key factor.
That applies to client ideas and requests, but it also goes deeper. For instance, providing guidance as to the pros and cons of a feature or functionality. The same goes for pricing and the value received from a particular product or service.
Honesty builds trust and empowers our web design clients to make good decisions. Without that honest advice, project outcomes will likely suffer. Details can be overlooked and money might be spent in the wrong places.
Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is to simply go along with whatever a client says. It’s the path of least resistance, and the thinking goes that it’s also a way to finish off a project faster.
In reality, honesty pays off all the way around. When more informed decisions are made, projects are less likely to go awry. Theoretically, it also leads to faster and better results.
A Proactive Approach
Our clients are often experts in their own field. Whether they run a business or non-profit, they’re likely immersed in their jobs. That means they won’t have as much time to devote to their website.
Because of this, important items could slip through the cracks. WordPress core, themes and plugins may become outdated. Site errors may be wreaking havoc on performance and usability. In short, a website can fall into any number of bad situations without proper vigilance.
That’s where we can be of service. By staying on top of what’s happening in terms of software, security and industry trends, we can keep our clients’ sites running smoothly.
Be proactive by staying in touch with your clients. If you see an issue, or even the potential for an issue, reach out and let them know. They’ll appreciate the effort and any headaches you’ve saved them. In addition, this helps their organization maintain a good reputation with their audience as well.
A Helping Hand
Not everyone with a website is tech-savvy. For these folks, the learning curve for tasks like adding content can be relatively steep. But a helping hand from their web designer can make a big difference.
Using your knowledge to educate clients empowers them to take advantage of the amazing website you’ve built. That could mean anything from fresher content to fewer support requests coming your way.
Still, support requests go along with the territory – even if we hope they’ll be minimal. When they do come in, offering fast and friendly service is vital. It lets your clients know that you have their back and can be depended upon.
Overall, it’s about being there when clients need us (within reason, of course).
Keeping Client Needs in Mind
Web design projects can be full of challenges. Sometimes, that can lead us to simply focus on the task at hand without much thought of those we are working for. It’s an easy trap to fall into.
But client needs do matter – for a lot of reasons. The most important being that it forms the basis of a partnership. We need each other in order to reach a successful outcome.
Even after the site launches, being there to provide guidance ensures a better relationship – not to mention a well-maintained website. As a bonus, it could lead to repeat business and referrals.
While web design is a highly-technical field, there’s a human element that can easily be missed. But if you can master this aspect of the job, both you and your clients will be better for it.
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