Your clients should definitely get involved in the website development project.
But while it’s good to share information about the project with them, this can often lead to complicating the process, or making clients feel unsure, and even backing off.
That’s why you have to be very careful about what information you share – and the way you share it.
In this post, you’ll discover how to get your clients involved in the website development process safely, in a way that makes sure they can understand how their website works without getting overwhelmed.
Let’s jump in!
Why Should Your Clients Care About How Their Website Works?
Although it’s not a client’s responsibility to care about how their website works, it can be a huge advantage for both you and the client.
Here are the most critical reasons why clients should know how their website works.
More Effective Communication with Developers
If your client understands at least the basics of web development, they can provide you with better and more accurate feedback.
That way, instead of getting pretty general feedback, such as:
- ‘The green button on my site is not working properly.’
You can get something more specific:
- ‘The green button on the contact us page for sending emails via a form is not working properly. It does not pass the information to my email address.’
This will usually clear up any confusion, eliminate guesswork, and empower you to make any changes or fix issues on their website faster. But, in some cases, you can still be unsure what a client wants precisely – and that’s why we recommend using the visual collaboration feature in Atarim.
We Empower You And Your Clients to Point Exactly at The ‘Problem Area’
You and your clients can skip the back-and-forth emails about what needs to be fixed.
Instead, all the client has to do is just point at the issue/problem area, click on it, and leave a comment or suggestion. That way, everyone is on the same page, there is no confusion, and since you can see all suggestions in one place, you won’t miss a single thing.
Building Trust and Confidence
Explaining the basics of how their website works to clients may make you seem more trustworthy and transparent. It can give your clients a sense of knowing what you’re doing, how everything works, and they can feel more confident in the whole process.
Also, it makes you seem more authoritative and confident.
This is because you’re not afraid to share exactly what you do and how you do it, giving clients an ability to check your work beyond what the website looks like on the surface.
There are two main ways you can manage clients’ websites in the long-term.
- Educating your clients. You explain to your clients how to manage and maintain their site, so they don’t go to you with simple issues they could fix themselves.
- Offering an on-going care package. You put the best clients onto a retainer where you continue to work with them in the form of an advisor.
The first option, which is about spending time explaining to your clients how their website works will be very beneficial if you’re looking to free up your time. That way, you can focus on other clients and growing your team while avoiding tedious tasks such as:
- Plugin updates
- WP version updates
- Adding new blog posts
These tasks are very easy to do – and every client can do them.
But, without you explaining to clients how their website works and how to do these basic tasks, you will have to get constantly involved in these more mundane tasks.
However, if you have enough time to look after the client’s site, we recommend you do so.
This is especially useful since as we said previously, you can get the best clients onto a retainer where you continue to work with them and manage their website. In most cases, all it takes is just a few hours a month.
Be Careful Not To ‘Accidentally’ Overwhelm Your Client
It’s great to let your clients know what you’re working on, and what they can expect. However, make sure you don’t overwhelm them with too much information – especially with the information they don’t need.
That’s why we recommend sharing only what’s necessary or useful, such as:
- Talk about the most important stuff. Let your clients know the basics and the most important functionality of their website.
- Explain the USP or unique features. Let your clients know precisely what makes their website superior and unique compared to competitors.
A discovery process can assist you with knowing what’s necessary or useful for your clients. This is because in the discovery form, you can ask questions about what is useful for them and what they want to see from you/know about.
Carrying out an effective discovery will speed up the process of creating clients’ websites and provide you with all the information you need. And that’s another thing we’re here to assist you with. Atarim Forms allows you to create detailed and appealing discovery forms in seconds.
All you have to do is create a new form, add questions, and share it with clients.
To make the most out of the questionnaire, we suggest asking about:
- The company’s unique selling proposition
- Major issues they are facing
- The client’s buyer persona
You can also create Form templates with Atarim that you can re-use with future clients.
Leveraging Atarim eliminates the need to use Google Forms or other 3rd-party software tools, and allows you to centralize all of your information into a single place that everyone involved in a project can access.
Just make sure you keep everything simple and explain it in an easy to understand way.
For that, we recommend explaining more complex things (if necessary) in much the same way you would to your mom (unless your mother is a web developer of course). Your clients aren’t stupid, but they might not be very technical, so make sure you explain everything as simply as you can.
It’s Okay to Leave Out Certain Parts
If it’s complex, won’t enrich clients, or clients don’t need to know about something, feel free to not mention it. This can include things such as:
- Web application architecture
- Authentication and authorization
- Database design and management
Many website designers are afraid to withhold such information since it may seem manipulative – why would you purposefully withhold information? However, this is not the case, and oftentimes, clients are better off without it. Just make sure the information you don’t share isn’t something they should really know.
What Is A Client’s Role in Website Development?
Clients should provide the information you need to design the perfect website for them. They’re the ones who should point you in the right direction about:
- What they want their site to look like
- Features they need to have included in their site
- What they like/dislike in web design
If you’re just starting out with a new client, we highly recommend you check how suitably they match up to your own requirements in the following three ways.
#1 – Excellent Communication
Your clients should answer your questions clearly and promptly. Waiting for feedback from clients for weeks isn’t acceptable. It will only slow down the whole process and make the whole web development less enjoyable.
Also, your clients should be able to communicate clearly what they want.
It’s one thing to answer your questions. However, your clients should give you suggestions or feedback without you having to ask for anything. This is very important, especially from the project’s get-go.
That’s because if you and your client don’t agree with everything in the beginning, you may work hours on a web project and then realize your client wanted it differently. Not to mention the client’s dissatisfaction with your work.
To get the feedback from your clients, you have to make it as easy as possible for them to leave feedback. For that, we recommend using Atarim’s visual collaboration tool.
This makes it very easy for clients to leave feedback and let you know exactly what they like or don’t like. Plus, you can also take advantage of our shared inbox feature. You no longer have to chase information from clients in an email that might have no subject line, or a message buried deep in an email thread, Trello, or anywhere else.
Instead, you just leverage Atarim, ensuring all communications are organized in a dedicated, shared inbox, with easy-to-use filters for either specific projects or clients.
For the client, it’s much easier than using email! They literally point at the part of the web page they want to comment on, click, and then write a note right there and then.
As soon as they’ve done that, an email pops through in your shared inbox, and a task is automatically generated. The email even includes a screenshot showing exactly what the client was seeing, as well as other data such as their screen resolution and browser.
#2 – Prompt Payment
Waiting weeks for money you should have already received is a huge red flag.
You can often see whether the client is trustworthy or not by the way they handle money. If they have no problem paying you, and they pay on time, you can be pretty sure that they are serious about the project and they value your work.
The ones that delay payments are the opposite.
It’s very risky to work with such clients since you don’t know whether they’ll pay you in the end and that’s why you should get paid upfront with such clients. Another way to stay out of trouble is to take advantage of milestone-based billing.
This approach will empower you to divide projects into smaller sub-goals or milestones such as creating a wireframe, develop a design, design a website in WordPress, etc. and make sure you get paid after each of these milestones is done.
That way, you get paid periodically and can avoid not getting paid after the work is completely finished.
#3 – Supplying Content, Branding, and Images
A client is the one responsible for delivering all content, branding, and photos for the website you are designing (unless you agreed otherwise). Just make sure the client is not downloading low-quality images and content from their previous website.
To avoid low-quality images and content, we recommend giving your clients quality guidelines about the content you need from them, which can include things such as the resolution and format. You can also suggest compressing the content.
Every piece of content should be optimized for quality and website performance.
Summary – Communication With Your Clients Is Key
Your clients are here to help and should not be left in the dark.
To make it as easy as possible for your clients to get involved in your web project and to help you manage your project better, we recommend checking these resources:
- Asynchronous Communication: What Is It? How Does It Help?
- The 10 Best Collaboration Tools for Productive Teams
- The 9 Project Management Skills You Need to Succeed
Looking for an effective way to empower clients to leave feedback on a website?
With Atarim, you can leverage the point-and-click collaboration to empower clients to point at what they’re referring to and immediately leave feedback, say what needs to be changed, and so much more.
If you want to receive feedback that makes sense, make it easier to collaborate with clients, and finish projects in days instead of weeks give Atarim a shot for free now.
- Integrated into the leading visual collaboration platform trusted by 13,000+ agencies (web dev, design, and beyond) worldwide.
- Supporting project delivery for 1,200,000+ of their clients and stakeholders.
- Deliver projects in days instead of weeks.