A web design agency can help someone design and maintain a website optimized for search, and filled with engaging content. Partnering with an agency can help a brand owner maintain a competitive edge, differentiate themselves, and achieve their business goals. As a designer, establishing a good working relationship with your client is essential to making the most of their investment and your time. Both parties should be receptive and communicative with one another so that the collaboration can be its most fruitful.
A web agency represents an important investment, both of the client’s time and their marketing budget. A good working relationship will help ensure that you, as a designer, can fully understand the client’s goals and effectively bring their vision to life. The best web designs come from a foundation of understanding and creative collaboration.
When business owners feel their website does not reflect their goals or objectives, it’s often the result of a creative disconnect between the business and the web agency. Fortunately, you can have a beautiful website and set the stage for a productive relationship by following some simple tips.
High quality web design products result from a culture of transparency and mutual respect. Here’s how you achieve it:
Miscommunications can by prevented by encouraging your clients to be upfront about their personality and goals during the planning phase. As a web design client, they have a responsibility to clearly communicate their goals and objectives for the finished product. Articulating their business clearly is a must, as failing to do so could lead to brand confusion.
However, if you do not feel as if the client was clear enough, or if you require another meeting or phone call to get a better grasp on their needs, then it’s your responsibility to convey that to them. Do not rush this phase; it’s better to know exactly what is expected of you before you begin making any initial drafts. Moving too fast during the planning stage can backfire in epic proportions when both parties eventually realize that they aren’t on the same page. Uh oh!
Ideally, a web design company will use the information the client gives them to guide the creative process of building their website. As a designer, make it a priority to find out the client’s business goals and objectives, buyer personas, preferred brand specifics (color, logos, etc), and overall personality of their brand. Share this information with everyone on your design team who will have a hand in the final project. Most of this information should already be in the client’s original business plan, so don’t be afraid to ask for it. Using this information, you can create schematics that will eventually turn into the client’s website.
Ask client for examples of competitors in their field. Look at their websites together and discuss what exactly they like or admire about the competition. If you like the look or overall feel of a competitor’s website, be sure to say so and listen to the client’s opinion. During the planning phase, you may show the client a portfolio of your previous work. Tell the client that they should feel free to use this as inspiration and point out features that they would like you to implement. Keep in mind, however, that it’s just that – inspiration. Remember that you will use the client’s ideas to create a unique, innovative product that still aligns with the company’s brand personality and goals. This ties directly into our next tip:
Client feedback is a useful, even essential part of the design process – but only at certain times. As a designer, you will likely provide regular progress reports and even give the client access to the site on their own server so they can see how it’s progressing for themselves. A good web client will give their designer lots of feedback – but only when they ask for it. More often than not, they will.
This can be one of the trickiest tips for a web design client to follow. A client will usually know what they want and have a lot invested in the success of the website. On the other hand, micromanaging can disrupt the creative process. Instead of calling you up and providing guidance every time they think of an improvement for the site, tell your client politely to create a running list to refer to at the next progress meeting.
Chances are, some of their issues may already be resolved by the time you both touch base.
Many clients find it helpful to arrange regular meetings so they can reiterate their goals and connect with the designer on a pre-arranged basis. This allows the client an opportunity to provide you with feedback about color and other aspects of the site; and it won’t disrupt the creative process.
Every business has different goals and budgetary concerns. If you’re working within tight budget guidelines, be realistic about what your web design company can achieve. A Fortune 500 company with an unlimited marketing budget may produce a much different website than a small- to medium-sized business working with less.
At the same time, make the client realize that “you get what you pay for.” A professional website development company takes a raw concept – the client’s vision – and produces something tangible. A client is paying for both a designer’s technical expertise and creative talent. Someone who is paying $10 an hour for these services might be disappointed with the end result. Just as one wouldn’t hire a carpentry student to build a custom home, don’t rely on a novice or cheap designer to create a converting website.
It’s the designer who will ultimately guide the process of the web page design, which requires clients to be open-minded. You may pitch ideas or present specifications that the client may not immediately identify with (or even like). On the other hand, you are the expert – a good web designer knows the current best practices for designing a website that drives traffic to a site and keeps it there. A good web design client is respectful of your expertise and isn’t afraid to venture from their comfort zone – it might have a greater impact on the end product than they think.
The success of the client’s website directly relies on the working relationship between the client and their web design team, based on a culture of mutual respect and collaboration. A client can enhance this relationship by being upfront about their goals and objectives and respecting the creative process, offering feedback when solicited from their web design team. By being open-minded to new ideas and resisting the urge to micro-manage, you and your client can create a beautiful, optimized website that meets all of the business objectives.