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  1. #1
    Regular Coder Rachy06's Avatar
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    Building a website for a paying client.... useful guide.

    I have put together a 5-step guide for one method of creating a succesfull website, when working for a paying client. It is just a guide that I thought may be helpful for some people... Feel free to add your own suggestions...

    Building a website for a paying client.... useful guide.

    The first step toward effective web design is creating a detailed outline of how each stage of the project will be tackled. This can be quite difficult when you first start designing sites for money, but it is essential to ensure that you get paid correctly. It is also important for good client relations.

    1. Getting Information from the client
    This is the first stage in successful development. This is when you gather specific information from the client regarding their exact requirements. This is what you should base your initial quote on. A few things you should establish are:
    • What exactly will be included in the site?
    • What is functionally required?
    • What images will be provided?/ Will I have to create graphics?/ Who will create graphics?
    • What are the goals of this project?
    • Will the website need to be maintained? How will this be achieved?
    • What bugetary constraints apply to design and promotion amongst other things?
    • To what exteny will I have to deal with post-build issues?
    • How will the site be hosted?
    • How additions during the build will be phased?
    After you have gathered all of the information you deem neccessary from your client, you will be in a position to provide a quote, and if accepted, ask for a deposit.

    2. Design and Planning
    In this stage of development, alot of client negociation is involved. You should work closley with the client to come up with a satisfactory design and a plan on how the content will be presented.

    One of the most important things is designing a site architecture and navigation system.

    You should ask your client to gather the relevant site content and provide it to you in an agreed format.

    For the planning of your site build, you may wish to do some internet research on sites of a similar sort, and possibly create a flowchart describing each stage of the build in detail. (http://www.gliffy.com/ - free online flowchart builder)

    3.Building and Testing
    During this stage of development, you actually build the site, and as you progress, continually work alongside your client, testing and improving specific elements as you go along.

    This stage includes adding all the functionality required, creating or working with images and copy, ensuring that the code is valid and correct, adding things such as meta tags to your scource code etc. Generaly honing the site ready for public viewing.

    It is possible that usability testing may be required. If so, this is the time when obvious problems/ deficiencys should be resolved before the site is launched.

    Browser compatibility testing is a MUST.

    4. Going Live! (Launching The Site)
    In some cases, this stage may overlap with the previous stage, but primarily involves publishing the site ready for viewing by the public. It also involves dealing with any problems that may arise, search engine submissions, and continuous usability testing.

    You could even ask public viewers of the site to complete a usability survey, so that you can evaluate the site from a different perspective, and make the relevant changes.

    5. Maintanance and Updating
    Some allowance may have been made for this in the origional quote, but in any case details of website maintanance needs to be defined clearly as part of the whole project definition.

    If a CMS (content managment system) is used or if the client wishes to update their site using a WYSIWYG software package such as FrontPage (I would't let them use frontpage...), then training and/or support for the client should be considered.
    Last edited by Rachy06; 07-22-2007 at 06:41 PM.
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    nikos101 (08-21-2007)

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    Great post, very well thought out and informative. I'm making this a sticky for a while.

    Thanks!


  • #3
    Regular Coder Rachy06's Avatar
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    no problem
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    Senior Coder nikos101's Avatar
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    just what the doctor ordered, thx Rachy

  • #5
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    You might mention that getting paid a portion (or even all) of your fee up-front is important -- particularly if you are a freelance designer.

    I have heard of a number of freelance workers who have been stiffed on payment for any number of reasons. Just a word to the wise.

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    I think that a 50% upfront is sort of a standard now days... Just make sure you make your clients sign a contract with some terms and conditions.

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    I would also add that you document as much as possible.

    Clients requirments. Design. What is included in the price. For instance how long will you provide support, etc. etc. Keep all communications and write up what is agreed in meetings and send copies out.

    It is amazing how much comes up when you actually write something down in detail. Also the client will take it more seriously and think you are more professional.

    Finally - later on when you have both forgotten the fine details it can be referred back to and any disagreements hopefully resolved amicably.

    Sue

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    If you are working in a big project , it is always better to provide your web design client your work chunk by chunk and get paid something like 50% upfront , 25% when you deliver first chunk and rest of the money when you deliver the final web design project after you have more or less met all of the web design client's requirements.

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    Boy- I just happened upon this thread and it couldn't have come at a better time. I just got my first website contract from a client and many of the suggestions I wouldn't have thought of. This will make the process go much smoother for me. thanks, everyone.

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    Very well described really a useful content I have added this on my website hope you don't mind

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    I know this is an old post/thread, but I thought this might be a few appropriate questions:

    - for you regular developers/designers, what are your rules as far as number of client suggested revisions/design changes per job (if that makes sense)?

    - time frame constraints: what are your "average" time splits to certain stages of development [eg., after 1 day the main logo is done, by day 2 you have the overall design template done, day 3 is funtionality, etc]? do you have a "needed it yesterday" pricing formula in place?

    - and worst case scenario, what if you "complete" a fair amount of the job, to the point that part [or most] of the site is live, and the client bails or denies payment?

    [off topic, but the "regular coder" moniker under my username makes me chuckle, as I'm sure some of you that have helped with my coding issues probably do the same, lol!]
    Last edited by chevy_ls_6; 04-18-2012 at 12:44 PM.

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    this is an old thread and almost every technical aspect has been discussed so I am wandering to contribute some management factors and emotional issues in any development,

    This is good contribution but it is not the only thing, dedication and effort is the foremost requirement, all of the above steps are good but the most important is the one of implementation, this is he most crucial stage and requires patience with commitment and rest is what this thread has told are the things left ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurakay View Post
    You might mention that getting paid a portion (or even all) of your fee up-front is important -- particularly if you are a freelance designer.

    I have heard of a number of freelance workers who have been stiffed on payment for any number of reasons. Just a word to the wise.
    I am a freelance designer and I always require this - half money at the beginning half at the end. It works very well most of the times.
    If they don't agree to it, that's a red alert.

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    Lovely description. This is all one must know while working for a client. Every thing must clear cut however it can be step by step But must be clear and descriptive.
    Thanks Rachy for all this.

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    Great tips mate. It was very helpful to those who are starting a career in web development. A piece of advise before working for a client. Always check your clients background especially when your doing it remotely to avoid getting scam.


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