Understanding your client’s business needs:
A new client calls you, they want a website. Great, you build them one. But once it’s done, they ask if you can include a blog, or maybe add some additional images within the design itself, maybe a widget or a plugin or two. You’re now left backtracking, having to convince your awesome developer to stick with you, because you’re almost done and you’ll make it up to them. You now also find yourself having to tell the client that something they are now asking for is not possible with “this theme” or the new layout. Everyone is now less than pleased. Understanding your client’s business needs is critical.
So avoid this. Ask your client what the goal of their site is. Or better yet, what their overall goal is and how they plan to achieve it. A goal of a website is typically pretty standard. It’s either to inform, or to sell. That’s easy. A client has a product and wants to sell it online or a client has a service they want to sell online. But how? How do they plan on engaging potential clients? How do they want site visitors to interact with the site. Remember, how they want visitors to interact with the site, might be different to how they need visitors to interact with the site. That’s where you come in.
Do they want a newsletter sign up? If so, do they have an account with a mailchimp type service? It’s your job to line all these ducks up. If you don’t, you’ll be scrambling around looking less than professional. So when a client calls looking for a website, ask them everything about their business. They may think they need a blog, but once you tell them a blog should be updated at least 1-2 times a week, they might think differently. Same goes for a newsletter. Who reads those things anyway? And if you only end up getting 100 people signing up…you’re now pretty much wasting your time. Inform the client on the pros and cons of all the details. Lend your professional opinion and let them make the final decision. It’s their rope.
To find out afterwards that something was left out because it was never brought up during the discovery phase is on you. You need to guide them through the process, leveraging off your years of experience. Your job is to help your client control the bloat. To make sure they have all they need and don’t need for their launch.
You are the Richard Simmons of web development.