I want a website! Do you know how many times I hear this remark? When I start digging into the why, my clients come to understand the importance of catering to their client’s needs when designing and developing their website.

Whenever I hear this comment I know that it is just the tip of the iceberg when helping potential clients decide their exact website needs.  I have a group of questions I ask in order to gauge exactly what their client’s needs really are.  These probing questions helps me build a relationship with my clients.  It also helps the client understand the thought processes that drive the development of their website.  I find that clients normally fit into three groups.

Need an online presence

The first group needs a website to provide an online presence which contains home, about, and contact pages.  This type of website is very easy to create, requires minimal maintenance, and is very cost effective.  For some tech savvy clients, I will give them options such as using another service like Squarespace and Wix.  (note that I don’t like pointing potential clients towards cookie cutter type web companies but sometimes it is what they need) I stress the difference between what these companies offer and what I provide, but I think that the end decision rests with the client.  Some clients appreciate this.  However, not all clients want the work that’s involved in creating their own website with ‘drag-and-drop’ styled website builders. Designing a website is not easy. There is a lot of thought that goes into the development of a website.

Boost their marketing plan

The next group needs a little more from their website.  They want everything the first group has but want to integrate their website into their marketing plan.  This incorporation includes search engine optimization, social media marketing, advertising campaigns, and email marketing.  All of these items require a deliberate plan in order to maximize the client’s marketing budget. Skillfully planned and executed, an online marketing plan can be very successful and is very cost effective when compared to traditional advertising.

Amazon, Facebook, Google type websites

The last group wants everything.  This includes increased bandwidth availability, multiple databases, custom coding, multiple hosting platforms, and large numbers of users.  This type of client requires a dedicated team of individuals (including web designers) in order to meet their requirements.  Often times, I will find that I don’t have the right skill sets available but will assist the client in finding the right company to do the work for them.  Although I would love to have such a large client, there are times when you have to be honest with yourself and your client and let this type of work go. Knowing and understanding your client’s needs helps you find the perfect fit for them.

I do most of my work with the middle group of clients.  These clients are the type I want to build a lasting relationship with.  There is the opportunity to take advantage of ongoing maintenance requirements and upselling as the client grows.  Knowing your limits and going after the right group of clients helps focus your efforts and pays off in the long run.

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