Conquering the Dreaded Web Design Launch
By: Mae Demdam
All the hard work and stress is over, or so you thought. Even when a site is 99% complete; the design is approved, the site has been tested, and it’s ready to launch your client is hesitant and won’t pull the trigger. It can be frustrating when your client has cold feet, but our experience has taught us a thing or two about tactics to use when faced with this common situation.
Understand your client
Likely, their nervous to launch because they’ve invested a lot of time and money into this project and they fear their site isn’t perfect. A lot of times clients are scared to launch their website because fear the response from their audience, especially in a site redesign. They may be attached to their old site or they are worried they went too extreme with their new one. Regardless, ensure your client that a website isn’t set in stone and can easily be changed after launch. Set the expectations that a website is a constant work in progress and can be improved as their needs and desires change.
Coincidentally a client may not be satisfied with the project and they’re teetering back and forth between site architecture, design and/or content. The truth is your client may never be satisfied with their website, but again help them understand that sites can be revised and styling issues can be address through the CSS. Be careful though, as your time is valuable and opening the flood gates to ‘free’ changes can suck you dry. Explain to the client what you’ve done for the current scope of work and the goals that were accomplished. Launch the site and then create a new scope of work and goals for an additional phase if changes are still desired.
Commit to your client
As long as you’ve had an amicable and mutual relationship with your client there is no need to sever ties upon website completion. They are overwhelmed with the thought that your development and design skill set will be unavailable after the project is launched. Non-technical clients will feel insecure about managing the site on their own, but a huge aspect of web design and development is maintainence. Be sure to follow-up with your client and provide resources to them even after project completion. Just be sure to have an agreement in place as to scope and billing.
Unfortunately there are other issues when it comes to pre-launch cold feet, a client disappears or runs out of money. These are the two roadblocks both parties cringe at. When a client goes missing it’s difficult to get the communication back and rekindle the relationship and typically the project grows stagnant. Be sure to create a strong business relationship initially, where both parties are accountable through regular meetings, emails and phone calls. Although there are circumstances where you may never hear back from them again, at least you can sense any unusual behaviors.
A client may run out of money. More often than not, they will be straightforward with you and let you know that their budget is up or their coming up on hard financial times. Be flexible, as they are still a client. Be assertive in your need to receive payment for the work done that way you’re not in the negative. Have them settle their final bill or provide a payment plan and put the project on hold until they can resume. Even if you lost the project at least you’ve kept the relationship for possible future business or at least a referral.
Launching a website, not only frees up your workload, but it also offers exposure and another project to add to your design portfolio. Knowing the reasons clients may delay launch can help you encourage them to move forward and alleviate any of the stresses that come with the hesitation.