Web Content - The Great Delay
I don’t know about you, but our projects can get delayed more often than not, waiting on content from the client. Clients who want their websites design done in a hurry often underestimate the time it takes for them to gather and write content. They sometimes think it will take less than a week, to research and write, but the reality is, if they want good content, it can take months. Sometimes clients are so behind, and so stuck, they think it’s a good idea to lift content from a competitors website, in which a whole other article can be written about. However with a few rules to live by you can avoid this common pitfall, during the project process.
Get the content upfront
This approach is aggressive, but works in certain scenarios. I know several designers who work this way. They refuse to design the client’s web site, until the content has been signed off on and submitted. The only problem is that most clients want to see the design first so they can write content to fit it. The designer then fights back saying they need to content so they can design around it. In this type of situation, no one wins. When it comes down to asking for website content upfront, I tend to agree with the client. However if a client is in a hurry, and wants to rush the design process, I would recommend this approach. You may find that the client is in not that big of a hurry, and you can spend more time on client intake process, addressing goals and needs. Ultimately designing a better website.
Another approach to addressing the content dilemma, is including due dates to your proposal and contract. You are working with a contract right? After the client intake process, review a timeline with your client. Address milestones and set expectations. In writing state, that “all content must be received by this date”, and hold the client accountable. In the past we have noted that content must be submitted after the design is finished, and before development begins. That way we can include the content while the development is being done. In most cases the wait is minimal.
Most clients do not understand the nature of our business. They don’t understand the consequence that delays have to a designer’s profit, and time. Explain it to them. If the client is a good client they will understand, follow your milestones and turnover content in a timely matter.
No content needed
If you are using a content management system to power your clients website, you may find this approach useful. When working with a client who cannot stop editing content, or may not have content to turnover, let them know they don’t need content to proceed. Tactfully tell them that they can enter the content on their own after the site is complete, using the content management system in place. Only go this route if there are significant delays. You don’t want to offend the client.
During the handoff process of our clients websites, we always include a manual on how they use can edit their website, along with face to face training. We also offer a 30 day, no questions asked, support package, where we are more than happy to make copy and image edits for the client. This can take the pressure off the client while they gather the content they need.
There are many ways to make sure your content gets delivered in time. What are some of the ways you have handled, these circumstances? Please leave us your feedback below.
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