Web Design Tips for Designers
Before you even go to a client interview, do your homework. You need to show you are a professional web designer with their business interests at heart.
Once you have a client you are targeting for business you need to do some research.
- Review all the aspects of the company that you can find online. Research the type of business and services or products they sell. Visit their brick and mortar store, if they have one.
- Research who their top competitors are and where this company stands in comparison.
- Research if there are any negative or positive comments on the Internet for this company. Look for any complaints or reviews. Get to know where they are now so you can better convey where they need to be, especially in social networking.
- If they have an existing web site, look it over inside and out. There’s a reason they don’t like it; be sure to have a good knowledge of the existing site so you don’t propose anything like it!
When you do meet with them explain what you have found out about their company and their competition. Then ask what it is they don’t like about their current site and what other sites they like.
Learn About Your Customers
In your discussions with the company representatives be sure to ask them who they feel is their target audience. Determine if it is going to be a specific age group or gender or if it needs to appeal to a wide-range of people. After doing your previous research on the company and its competition, you should already have a good handle on who their target audience should be. If this conflicts with what they are telling you, ask how previous marketing campaigns worked for them. If they worked well, you might need to open your mind to a different target market. If it did not work well now is the time to give your expert opinion on who their target market should be. Explain why you feel this way and it should be based upon facts you gathered before the meeting.
Now you know the target audience and have an idea how the website should be laid out, the color scheme and its content. Asking direct questions is your best bet. Ask them what they foresee the web site doing for them? Will it just be another venue for advertising or do they want a fully responsive, interactive site?
Make sure you make it clear whether they will be writing the content or expect you to do it. Content writing is a big job. It needs to be entertaining, concise and use keywords that won’t get it kicked off the search engines. It should never be copied directly from printed material.
If you are not a content writer, get one on your team, even if it is a virtual one. Have this in your arsenal for quoting a full job. Know the price this content writer will normally charge and be sure to include it in any quotes you give. They are worth every penny and often the content can raise a company in the rankings as much as keywords.
By now you should know a lot about what is expected on this web site. However you do need to give the prospective client a clear idea of how long this project might take. Before you give a quote or deadline, be sure to advise the new client that deadlines depend on their submitting necessary information, content and web-ready images according to an agreed upon timeline. Ask them if there is a specific date they have in mind for completion. If it is unusually quick, but you could do it if you dropped everything and put staff on overtime, let them know this. Let them know this will affect their bottom line as well. Perhaps they will agree they would prefer a quality project with enough time allowed to review changes and updates as they come up.
As a professional web designer you need to do your homework on your client. You need to show the prospective client the reasons they should hire you (instead of letting a relative do it or purchase an unyielding template). Have your facts before you go and you should do fine. If they choose to go with someone else or a template, leave your card and let them know you are available for any questions that might come up. Be gracious. If things don’t work out, they may see the error of their way and call you back onto the project.