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4 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Client’s Web Site

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The most common mistakes made by web developers have to do with leaving things unclear during the project instead of clarifying them in the very beginning.

Those mistakes cause misunderstandings with the client and they’ll make you work more, without getting payed as you should.

some mistakes are below;

  • Letting browser compatibility left unclear

Don’t be surprised if the client suddenly yells at you when they see PNG images with ugly backgrounds in their home PC browser (obviously they have Internet Explorer 6 installed).

You’ll then find yourself working 10 extra hours (at best) without getting another dime.

How to Avoid

In 2010, you can definitely leave IE6 out of the equation, or charge extra for it. Just make sure it’s clear before you even start building the new site.

To be fair with the clients though, tell them about it explicitly instead of just having it typed in small letters in the contract.

  • Having your client think that SEO is a built-in feature of web design

You gotta know those clients who think that having their site indexed in the first position in Google, is 2 hour work (some of them also think that once it’s there, their site will stay in this position forever).

How to Avoid

Make it clear that web design and SEO are two different things, even though they are not unrelated.

As a web developer you should know that there are 101 different ways to code a single web design, and the right way to choose is the one that has clean and optimized code that search engine crawlers like to crawl in.

It may sound strange to you, but your client may not even know that there are full time SEO experts in the world and that most of them didn’t create a single website in their entire careers (and they really didn’t have to, in order to become great SEO experts).

Let your client know that website optimization takes time. and money. lots of it in most cases. and that the top ranked websites work hard to stay top ranked all the time.

  • Not having a signed agreement on the design

Sure, there can be lots of minor design changes in the last minute – maybe the way that top menu looks like and the main headings’ font size.

But having the client come up with major design changes once most of the work is done, can be disastrous if you don’t get paid for it.

Case study

I once had a client who wanted the home page to have some more life to it.

When I ask him to be more specific, he showed me the website of his wife’s company which had a wonderful flash layout with great animations and flying menus.

Imagine that happening to you after finishing 80% of your work…

How to Avoid

Don’t let the major stuff left unmentioned in the contract. I know it’s easier when the site design is already given and all you have to do is code it, but that’s not always the case.

Try to get the contract to be as detailed as possible when signing it, and If you don’t know exactly what the client wants, ask them every single question you can think of – from the way their contact form should look like to which effects the image galleries should have.

Clients will like it if you offer them 3 extra hours (or 5 if you’re generous) of minor changes free of charge.

However, make sure to write down your hourly fee for extra changes as well.

  • Not mentioning domain registration and web hosting costs to your client

While for you it may be a natural fact that websites come to life only after someone purchased a domain name and hosted them somewhere, it may not be as trivial to your client.

Case study

In one of my Word-press projects I didn’t make the first three mistakes, but one thing that I forgot was to discuss the web hosting with the client.

After completing the project, I offered him to host the new website in my web hosting Linux Server.

The client however, insisted that the website should be hosted in the company’s Windows 2003 server with IIS6 where all the other web apps are stored.

I then had to learn by trial and error which PHP and mysql package to install, and how to adjust the entire package including plug-ins to the Win environment.

When you’re used to tools like PHPmyAdmin, .htaccess and other Linux/Apache features, it can be really tedious work to find your way in those Win servers.

How to Avoid

Explain to the client how it works and what are the costs.

Let them know you can help in the registration process (if it’s not done already) and you will take care of launching their site and the hosting of their choosing.

In spite of all the above, don’t ever underestimate or look down on your client.

Be humble and cautious while patiently getting to know your clients, as you might be surprised of how much they actually know.

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