If you’ve pried in your website brief, and made your developer adore you—an awesome website is in the pipeline … unless … these website nightmares rear their ugly heads. Fortunately, these messy scenarios are completely preventable! Here are 3 sticky website scenarios you can solve from the onset of a project:
1. Content stalls the design process.
The design is magical, the client is thrilled, and you’re nearly ready to launch … but, where’s the content? When waiting for content, the momentum gets lost—and it’s hard to pick back up. Sadly, I’ve seen lack of content stall websites too many times. I continue to refine my process so it never happens again. If content curation is not your forte, think about hiring a copywriter to get it done. How to avoid: A defined content schedule and persistence.
2. The website gets taken hostage.
Would you buy yourself a car—then give the keys to somebody else? Doubtful. That’s why I believe clients should have the keys to their own car, know where it’s parked, and be named on the title. I’ve seen web developers (intentionally and unintentionally) hold websites hostage from clients, and it’s just not right. If the person with the password moves to a tropical island, the client is out of luck. Clients should have full access. Let’s avoid website abduction in these areas:
Some designers might offer hosting as a service, but it’s not my favorite idea. It can leave a giant hole in support. What happens if this hosting designer is on vacation? What happens at 3AM? I like clients to set up their own accounts with a web host (see my favorite hosts in #3) so they can have their own relationship and manage billing. When a client’s email goes down, they can call the host. In most cases, the host has the support and tools to fix the problem. How to avoid: Ensure client secures their own hosting account.
The domain can be purchased through the webhost, or through a separate domain registrar—but it must be purchased through the client’s account, with their contact information. Nobody cares as much about renewing a client’s domain as the client themselves. How to avoid: Ensure client owns their domain.
If you design a WordPress site for your client, but they don’t have admin access, then they don’t have full control of their own site. With control comes ownership. How to avoid: Give the client their own admin account.
3. Too much downtime.
They are economical choices who have great support, and their websites are up most of the time. Depending on a client’s needs, it’s our job to educate them about which host to use—and there’s a lot to consider, for example: if a client is going to be featured on Good Morning America, their hosting package should be able to handle that traffic. How to avoid: Help your clients make an informed decision about hosting.
We work hard to be awesome, stay at the forefront, and give our clients the best result. It’s why we do things like read the blogs of other creatives, read industry magazines and attend conferences like WordCamp and the upcoming CFBC (if you’re attending, please say hello)! Knowledge is power, and through knowledge, most sticky situations can be avoided before they ever happen.
Alas, no matter how hard we try and how much we plan—the occasional stickiness is bound to come up. True coolness is about how we handle these situations! With good communication, and partners to guide us, we can’t go wrong.
If you ever find yourself in a sticky website situation, I’d be happy to share my insight. I’m here if you need me.