Get to know your client – his/her business, technical skills, goals, vision, mission. Arrange a meeting, skype call or similar so you can interview them:
. What do you offer? Is it a service or a product
. Why do you offer your service? How do you think this product/service will change the life of people? Many people know what they do, but they don’t know why. If they would know, and if that could be presented in special way – it could have a strong effect. For example, nowadays nobody advertises features of cars, everything is about how it makes you feel and look. Consider this, and see how could you implement that mood on a web site.
. Do you have competitors, and who? Explore the competition, see what’s their game, strategy and share of the market. Look for weak spots that you could use to build a better web site
. What’s your target audience (age, sex, income, hobbies, religion – anything that’s applicable for that business) You can’t make a web site that’s going to be appealing to everyone. You can’t offer a product that everyone is going to buy. People have different income, interests and needs. Find a specific aim group for your customer’s service and make a unique design in that direction otherwise you might end up with a plane boring page, that nobody’s gonna use at all.
. Why do you think you can be successful and better than the rest in the market? Listen closely to the answer of your client. Here you need to hang on every word, as small things, might have strong impact. Imagine your client has a strong respect for sustainable development – that definitely would be something to show on the web site and attract customers who value the Earth and don’t mind spending an extra dollar.
. How do you see your company in the long term? This is very important to know in order to build a web site. If they expect to grow as big business, expand to other states/countries or whatever – use a well trusted CMS like Drupal. Drupal is good for big and expanding web sites, it gives a lot of control. It might be hard to set up, but that’s what’s necessary for big projects. If your client wants just a small home-page – go with something simple as WordPress.
. How often do you want to update your web site? How do you want to make the updates – daily, weekly, monthly? Do you want to do it by yourself, or pay extra and hire a person for the task? Customers who want to update their web site often would need some training. You would have to prepare learning materials on how to use the system and how to complete basic tasks. If your customer is a busy wo/man, than suggest that you could keep the web site update for a small payment. It’s also important to know this question from upfront, in order to make a proper choice on CMS. I definitely wouldn’t build a Joomla web site for a non-technical customer, who wants to update the content by him/herself.
You need those answers, otherwise you might end up with developing something that’s not gonna be implemented at all, or you will have to re-develop all the time.
Give your best!
Tell your client that you will give your best and just do it. You should have a great interest in any project, not only because of the money, but because of the experience it will give you and the addition to your portfolio. If you make the customer happy, be sure that he/she will recommend you and there will be more business coming your way, so don’t be lazy and go get heated up!
It’s all good!
It’s all good when you see rise in visits on Google Analytics, rise in followers on Twitter and rise of fans on Facebook. Those are some of the tools you can use to measure success of a web site. Use them, but try not to waste too much time, too.