One of the key areas we focus on in our training is client interaction. This is a primary component of building a successful and profitable web design business.
When it comes to client interaction, one of the most important aspects is the client review and approval process. Partnering with your clients, and soliciting their input as you design their sites, will naturally lead to happy and satisfied clients.
We recommend the following process for client review and approval:
1. Theme selection
It’s important to get your clients involved in the early stages of your projects. We’ve moved away from creating mockups, as it’s simply more efficient to select a WordPress theme and start developing. You can select a theme that you think is a good fit for your client, or you can offer them a choice of themes (no more than three) and allow them to select their theme themselves.
Most quality WordPress theme companies provide demos of their themes, and these are great for letting your clients take a theme for a “test drive”. Elegant Themes is one of the theme companies we recommend in our training, and their Divi Theme Demo is a good example.
Once your client has approved the theme, it’s time to start building!
2. Initial review and approval
We recommend that you build two pages of your client’s site for initial review: The Home page and one sub-page. Once you’ve built these pages, it’s time to submit the site to your client for initial review.
At this stage, you’ll want your client to review all the specifics of the design. Give them specific direction on what to look for, and ask them to be thorough in their review. Attention to detail at this stage will prevent a lot of headaches down the road. You’ll want to make sure you include the following elements when directing your client:
1. Overall appearance. This is the appearance of the website as a whole – the look and feel, how the elements are laid out, etc.
2. Color scheme. Make sure your client is happy with the colors you’ve chosen for their site, and be open to their input regarding any changes.
3. Fonts. Direct your client to review all of the fonts on the site: Heading fonts, content fonts, sidebar fonts, etc.
4. Content. Finally, make sure your client is happy with the appearance of the content on their site. This would include how the content is laid out and styled.
Once you’ve received feedback from your client, make the changes they requested and then submit the site again.
Just as important as initial review is initial approval. Make sure that your client signs off on the design, and let them know that any major changes beyond this stage may be subject to additional billing.
3. Final review and approval
Once you’ve passed the initial review and approval stage, it’s time to build out the site. This stage will include all of the elements of the initial site for Go Live.
Once the initial site is completed, submit it to your client for final review. Once again, give them specifics on what to look for, and then make any changes that they request. Here are the elements we recommend you have your client review:
1. All pages. Make sure that your client is satisfied with the appearance of all pages on the site, including both copy and images.
2. All posts. Make sure that your client is also satisfied with all posts on the site if they have a blog, including both the Blog page and individual posts. Again, this would include all copy and images.
3. Navigation. Have your client review the site’s navigation menu and structure to make sure that it’s set up as desired.
4. Links. Your client should also review all links on the site to assure that they’re linking to the proper destinations.
5. Sidebar content. If your client’s website includes a sidebar, make sure that your client reviews and approves this content, too.
6. Functionality. If you have any specific functionality included on the site – for example, a contact form – make sure that your client is satisfied with the content and appearance.
Once all of the final changes are completed, have your client sign off on the final design. You’ll want to make sure they’re satisfied with the final product before it goes live.
Following this process will lead to satisfied clients, and satisfied clients lead to referrals. By partnering with your clients and making sure they have a voice throughout the initial design process, you’ll earn good favor with your clients and position yourself for repeat and referral business.
Our Successful Web Designer training will teach you everything you need to know about working with clients, including how to position yourself, find clients, interview your clients, and a whole lot more.
What process do you use when interacting with your clients? How does it compare to ours? Are you successfully making WordPress clients happy? Have any questions? Comment below to join in the discussion!