10 Things Every Client Should Know

CW clientshouldThere are many great top 10 lists for developers and designers but there are some basic concepts that clients should be familiar with. Many clients will enter into a web design/development contract with no knowledge of what it takes to design and develop a website. So here is my top ten lists for things every client should know.

 

#1 You will get what you pay for

The kid in your neighborhood said he can make your website for you, and he probably can, it may wind up looking nice on the surface but it doesn’t work. The same goes for low budget marketing companies; if they are offering to do it cheap chances are they are not going to give you the necessary time and attention to create a quality product. Your website is often the first and only impression a potential customer will get. So even if you have the most wonderful product in the world, a poorly designed website will easily turn people off. The saying is usually true; you get what you pay for. So the next time you balk at the a web designers hourly rate, keep in mind that a tow truck driver will charge you $190 for an hour of his time.

#2 Designing a great website takes time

You want your website to work on all browsers and platforms, download quickly, perform well on search engines, meets current web standards and all the other things required for a website to be successful. You want your website to look good and be easy to navigate.  Perhaps you want some extra features and functionality built into your site? These things take time.  Many, many, many hours.  Why?…

#3 …Because there’s a lot of code behind the scenes

When you look at a website you are just seeing the end result of a considerable amount of code.  You can view the code of a webpage by choosing view>page source in your browsers menu.  The code you see is just the HTML, just the tip of the ice burg.  Style sheets, php scripts, java scripts and databases all run invisibly in the background.  A web page does so much more than look pretty.

#4 Know what you want and plan ahead

It is extremely helpful if you go to your web designer with some idea of what you would like in your website. Take the time to look at your competitor’s websites and make notes about what you like or don’t like. Your web designer will find it much easier to be creative with some initial ideas to work around.  Nothing slows down the process of building a website as much as an unprepared or indecisive client.  Also, the more you know about what you want when you ask for a proposal, the more accurate your estimate will be.

#5 Every browser will render your website differently

There are more web browsers available now then ever and not all browsers are created equal. What your site looks like on your browser is not what it looks like on everybody’s browsers. IE displays things differently than Firefox does and the same holds true for Safari, Opera, and Netscape. This is a problem for Web developers, and the problem is intensified by the fact that each different browser also has different versions you’re your users could be using any of them.  It is not possible to make a website render identically on every web browser, the developers goal is to allow it to degrade gracefully, meaning that it remains functional even on older or less popular browsers.

#6 Every screen resolution and monitor will make your website look different

 Just as every visitor may be using a different browser, every visitor will be using a different sized monitor, and that monitor may be set to a higher or lower resolution.  The visitors color settings, or graphics card will also impact how your site looks to them and all of these things have to be taken into consideration.  Most importantly the website must be designed in a way that it does not loose functionality if the visitor has a small screen or low resolution.  It usually requires some compromises to make the site work well on all monitors and work it’s best on most monitors.

#7 Fonts will look different on different computers

Some visitors will have pre-set fonts that their browser will display text in no matter what you want your sites text to look like.  If you choose to use a font that is not standard, a web browser on a computer that does not have that font installed will display it in a different font.  Different fonts come in different sizes, some are taller, some are wider, and when the visitor’s browser uses a different font than you intended, if you take this into consideration in the layout and the design then the text will mess up the display of your webpage. Windows and Macintoshes also handle fonts very differently; fonts are typically displayed quite a bit smaller on a Mac.  When it comes to choosing fonts and using text on a webpage the web designer must compromise with what will work best on the most computers.

#8 Honor Google and follow the rules

Google has about 43% of the web search market to the nearest competitor, Yahoo’s 28%. If you want your website to be successful found on search engines then your going to have to play by Google’s rules.

#9 It takes time to drive traffic

Just because your website is finished, that does not mean that visitors are going to start flocking to your website. The key thing to remember is that a successful website does not just happen overnight. People need to be able to find your website on the search engines when searching for relevant keywords. You will need to market and promote your website to current and prospective clients.  Your website will need to have something to offer visitors to keep them coming back.

#10 Your website will need to change… often

More people use the Web as an information source and people will return to a website that changes often.  The most successful websites are more than just static information about your company.  You should consider incorporating a blog, community forum, RSS news feeds, photo gallery or have the ability to go in and change things around.  New, original content is the key to a good Web page.

Tags: digital marketing, website design, social media marketing, clients, expectations, web browser, planning, research, targeted content, website development, web safe, google, web marketing, content marketing, online marketing, web traffic