Getting a fully functional, effective website isn’t something that “just happens” after you sign a deal with a client. Clients can get extremely excited about the idea of having a new website and if they’ve bonded with you, they’ll assume you know exactly what they are expecting. Re-doing work because you didn’t ask the right questions in the beginning is a time-consuming mistake.
Here are some things to ask from your client before you get cracking:
High resolution pictures
You may have access to a bunch of generic pictures, but you will often see this pictures used on another site. If you are designing a website for an architecture firm, roof installers, make-up artist or any type of company that can show visual proof of their services, ask for some pictures of past projects. This will not only help you incorporating some great “Case Studies” or “Past Projects” pages, but also help to get your creative juices flowing.
Created by link
Many websites have a “Designed by”, “Created by” or “Maintained by” link at the bottom of the page. A client may be reluctant to give you this credit on their website (especially the larger corporate clients), but you may be able to negotiate if you show them how small and unobtrusive the link is. Your logo or a link to your professional site can help get you business in the future.
Website design can be lucrative, but an ongoing relationship with a smaller amount of hand-picked clients can go a long way too. It’s important not to blindly call up old clients to find out if they “are still happy with their website” or “need work done”. Rather send an e-mail out once or twice a year offering a follow-up service (such as incorporating a blog onto their sites for SEO purposes or a discount on bulk business card design).
Very few website designers want to be stuck with the copywriting part of the website. Give a list of all the information you will need to the client (such as a company profile, full contact details, testimonials, product descriptions) etc. It is good to have a standard template that you can send to each client before you start a design job.