When I redesigned my website, I was blessed to work with two techie geniuses. Last week Carol weighed in, and his week my web developer, Jake Dohm, gives us some valuable information.
Jake and I have to confess a little nepotism. He is my 14-year-old nephew, and when he first approached me about working on my website, I immediately thought, “No!” However, after solving a list of problems I had been unable to solve in a year in a mere day, I was won around. As my friend Lisa Allen said recently, “We are immigrants to technology. Teenagers are natives.” So true, and I’m proud of the fantastic job Jake did. He’s also highly professional and ran the conference call between Carol, Jake and me.
Without further ado…here’s my beloved nephew, Jake!
1. When you begin to work with a new client, what kind of information do you need from them? How do you get that information?
Typically, before a designer can start to price out a job, they need a full website plan. A good website plan should have a section for each page of the website you want, and also what content you’d like on the page. To learn more about developing a full website plan, see the Next Steps post Create a Website Plan.
2. Do you start with a contract or agreement? How do you outline your services with a new client?
Once I’ve seen a website plan, and understand the scope of work, I’ll send the client a price. When I send that estimate it looks like this. When a price is agreed to, then I create a contract that both parties will sign to confirm the agreement.
3. How can a client best help you to realize their vision?
Meet with your team. I like to have a minimum of around two hours of meetings or phone conversations under my belt before I try to move forward with the pricing, or the website.
Tell them everything. Don’t hold back any idea you think is impossible, or even silly. They want to know everything you’re thinking.
Create a Pinterest board. Seriously, this is extremely helpful. So when you find something that you like, such as a color or a picture or a blog theme, pin it to your board and give your designer access to that board. That gives them a further understanding of what you want.
4. How do you work with a client when they have a difference of opinion about direction? A question or a concern?
Disagreement: Overall, if the client puts their foot down that’s it, you do what they want. But sometimes you just need to bring the client along, and tell them why you think you should do it your way.
Question: Answer it, and don’t just blow over it quickly. Truly answer the question, and keep talking about it until it’s completely resolved.
Concern: First of all, you should make sure that you client feels comfortable to disagree or to challenge something you’re doing. And then, if they have a concern, hear them out. Maybe they’re right, and if they are, thank them for helping you out. And if they’re not, then talk it over until you’re both comfortable with the outcome.
A Few Extra Thoughts from Jake:
1. Name the Leader: As the client when you’re working with a team of two or more, you must name the leader. Of course you (the client) are ultimately the leader, but in the interactions between your team that do not involve you, they need to know who is in authority, so that they can treat each other and interact accordingly.
2. Check In: The best designers/developers will give you updates, and check in with you AT LEAST twice a week. But sometimes it slips their mind, and you have to initiate contact. Just check in and make sure that things are rolling along.
3. Compliment Your Team: As I am usually on the serving end of these jobs, I can tell you, there’s nothing your people would love to hear more than, “The website’s coming along great!”, or “Looking good, thanks for the work”. Seriously, just tell your people you appreciate them.
My name’s Jake Dohm, I’m a 14-Year-Old based in Youngsville, North Carolina. My weapons of choice are Espresso, Photoshop CS4, and WordPress, all run on a 13″ 2011, MacBook Pro. I started Dynamic Design Firm and hired Stephen Breagy as assistant designer in 2012. When I’m not working as a Pixel Engineer, Editing Code, or working on marketing or sales, you will find me doing school, duplicating disks for Merchant Adventurers, or reading my favorite authors on business such as: Dave Ramsey, Jon Acuff, Peter Bregman, or Michael Hyatt.