In today's video, I share some common pitfalls that clients often fall into that can seriously jeopardize the results of your web project or even keep it from launching altogether. This Oatmeal comic is a hilarious but unfortunately all too real example of how things can go wrong.
Clients often underestimate the level of commitment needed in order to get the best results. The truth is that while a web professional can help you bring your vision to life with design and technology, you can't outsource your vision, passion, knowledge, and expertise so you have to be willing to communicate those things to your web pro.
I asked my fellow web professionals from WP Elevation what are some common issues they've seen that sabotaged the results of web projects they've worked on and boy did they have examples! Below are a few lists of things to avoid.
1. Not Following the Process
Almost every experienced web professional has some kind of Discovery built into their process. This is when we learn about your business and your goals so we can help bring your vision to life. If you don't take the time to define your vision and your goals, don't be surprised when the results are not what you expect.
You also need to have a clear picture of who your ideal customer is because the website is ultimately for them (to attract them to your business) and NOT for you!
2. Second Guessing Your Web Professional
Make sure you trust the person you hire and then let them do their jobs. Avoid the following:
- Unrealistic Expectations
- Empty feedback. “Can you make it look better?”
- After being given ‘copywriting' of about 800 words per page from the customer, with no personal information or pictures…. I get the feedback on the finished website – ‘it's too wordy and not very personal
- Asking about site launches before any content has been produced
- Getting ‘advice' and opinions from non-designer friends and family, or design-by-committee. “My nephew is very creative and he thinks that the logo should be bigger and a bright pink color with a lime green drop-shadow.”
- Designing their own logo…in Powerpoint.
- When it's near the end of the project and they change their mind and want a massive change to the design and layout but don't think it's a big deal lol
- Client: Hey can you try X? Me: that really won't work. Client: can you try it anyway? Me: does it. Client: oh wow that doesn't look good at all.
- Paying 10K for a website, then getting $5 hosting (against your advice) and complaining about how slow it is – “must be your design”
3. Short-Term Thinking
If you're spending all your resources on just creating a website with no plan for ongoing marketing, you're setting yourself up for failure. But don't take it from me. Here are some more examples:
- Not understanding you need to continually invest in your website to get results.
- Losing sight of the goals and objectives for their audience
- Can you make the button look more designed?” I did actually get this quote, but the real problem is wanting design elements because they can, not because they serve a function or even the overall design of the site. Requests for fast-spinning buttons, blinking links, huge drop-shadows for their own sake, not for the sake of the site itself.
- Build it and they will come. (Hint: they won't)
- Thinking design is decoration, not a form of communication.
- Thinking that it's all about HAVING a website, not what you do with it, that matters.
- Not seeing the website as a growing, ongoing project. Not seeing it as a long-term investment and commitment
4. Not Being Involved in the Project
If circumstances change and you need to hit pause on your project, make sure you keep the lines of communication open and let your developer know! Here are some real-life examples of things to avoid:
- Not giving timely feedback
- No communication for weeks or months at a time
- Showing up after a long break and expecting to launch immediately
5. Being Cheap
Don't try to get a BMW website on a Prius budget. Not only will it not work, but you will actually pay more in the long run from having to start over. Not to mention the opportunity cost of the results you could have been having if you committed to doing things well the first time. If you're on a budget, check out this post for some tips on how to get good results without breaking the bank. Sometimes a little help can go a long way.
If you find yourself doing the following, you might be on the road to sadville:
- Writing your own content to ‘save money' even though have no skill or experience doing so.
- Paying late (or not at all)
- Nickel and diming project features after the project has started
I hope this post gives you some insights on how to avoid these common pitfalls. The first step to being a great client is to do your research during the hiring process so that you're comfortable and confident that the person or team you partner with can do the job. And then let them work their magic.
Have a great or terrible web project story? Let me know in the comments.