The questions I ask my clients before agreeing to design their website – TIMESAVER
It’s easy to get overly excited when a new client reaches out wanting to get their website designed. That’s a huge mistake though, not the getting overly excited part but the part where you overlook how ready your client is in the design process. It’s not just booking a client and getting the design part done there’s a lot that needs to be done BEFORE we even start designing.
Don’t jump into new design projects and don’t overpromise to the client. They might have the wrong timeframe in mind of when their website should be done when in reality it might take a couple months to get their website designed because not everything was in order before the process started in order for the process to go smoothly (phew that was a mouthful). After all, clients lean on the web designer to know each step of the way (as we should) so we’re the experts. We need to educate the clients on what needs to be done and when.
What are some of the most crucial elements a web designer MUST have before starting a new web design project?
1. Is your website copy ready?
This is a must have, no exceptions type of thing. In order to ease the process for the clients that don’t have a clue where to start with their website copy, I provide them a Website Copy Guide, yup this is part of the package! There is still work that needs to be done, of course. In a nutshell, the guide asks questions to the client that they might not have otherwise thought of.
Sometimes your clients will outsource their website copy and hire a copywriter. The thing is, if your client is outsourcing their website copy, having it ready can take months (yes this has happened to me). Do you want your project to be stalled for 4 months simply because the copy is not ready?!🤦🏻♀️ I don’t know about you, but my web design process is two weeks not 4 months so having the website copy ready to go even before I say yes to the client is crucial. If you know that your client is outsourcing their website copy, then politely let them know about your process and ask if they have a timeframe of when it will be done. Tell them that you will reach out to them or vice versa once the end of the timeframe nears.
Something you don’t want to do is make promises that you know will bring you and your client headaches. Don’t say things like “Yes, I can still get started on designing your website without the website copy.” They might not know how long it’s going to take to get the website copy done so it’s very important to have it even before beginning the web design process, you’ll thank yourself later.
2. Do you have photos for your website?
Some of you might be thinking, “Oh that’s not a problem at all we can just look for some free stock photos to use and voilà!” WRONG. Unless the client is ok with this and agrees then go for it but in most of my experiences, the client does want professional photos taken.
So, unless the client is fine with using stock photos go for it but if they tell you “I’m going to get them done soon.” and you start designing their website you are essentially giving your client permission to elongate the process more than it should. As a web designer being firm with your timeframe and process is crucial to getting projects done on time.
Of course, there is exceptions. If the client tells you that the photos will be delivered within the web design timeframe then I would use that as an exception...sometimes, and it really depends on the client. Life happens and sometimes you can’t get things done on time, so you have to acknowledge that that might happen to your client and well…you’re just going to have to sit and wait.
You can always set a timeframe as well. If you do make the exception to allow your client to submit their photos during the design process you have to make sure that they are actually doing it and doing it on time! Make it clear that you already made an exception and that you’re on a strict timeline to get everything done on time and if photos aren’t submitted on time late fees could apply.
I know when I was first starting, I made both of these mistakes. I booked a client that didn’t have anything ready. When I say nothing ready, I mean, NOTHING. No photos for their website, no website copy and let me tell you that project took a very long time to complete. Having a process in play & sticking to it truly helps with projects going smoothly. Projects going smoothly equals happy clients. As a web designer we are the experts and our clients depend on us to have everything done so it’s important as a web designer to educate the client on why certain things need to be done before starting their web design project.