Building WordPress Sites for Clients

by lirikh
9 replies
Hi there, I wasn't too sure whether to post this in Offline Marketing or Website Design, so here goes...

I need help retrieving and organizing web content from clients in an efficient way. Does anyone know of any good tools to optimize this process? If you develop websites for others, do you mind sharing your workflow?

On my side, what I usually do, when I develop sites with WordPress (WordPress is king), is determine whether the client has any existing asset regarding web content. I gauge their brand, objectives, and anything else that can be pertinent to the website. Basically any fact-finding techniques. This all is done via judgment with no planning (I need a way to find a better way here).

After I finish collecting all the info, I research theme candidates. I select around 3 and shoot them up to the client. They choose one and we progress to structuring the content. All communication is done via email and this can often be a hassle when trying to make sense out of everything. We try to use Google Drive to collaborate on the content, but clients prefer to email their info by forwarding anything they can think will be of help. It's not easy working with clients that have no digital assets, but that's good in a way because in those cases they're desperate for a web presence and here I come.

Anyway, any input would be appreciated. If you got a rant or have a random comment, shoot away.
#building #clients #sites #wordpress
  • Profile picture of the author chaotic squid
    Have you looked into any project management tools? Sounds like that would solve a lot of your problems. Not sure of your specific needs so you may have to search around. Last year I was using Trello but now I'm using Slack for chat like communications, god there are so many choices nowadays.

    10 Apps That Make Managing Projects Remotely a Breeze | Inc.com

    Otherwise, if you're creating content heavy sites, you might want to look into some tools that publishers use to manage written content. One site that's more web design focused is Gather Content (https://gathercontent.com/) where you can create a page hierarchy of the site, organize and approve content for publication.

    I tried a trial of the site like a year ago but didn't keep my account because it's expensive (starts at $80/MO) and most of the sites I do are smaller local business sites that only have a few pages and are light on content, but if you do larger sites it might be of more help to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    So...do you have any kind of system for your business?

    Have you outlined what you do in a process flowchart?

    Do you have forms for standard questions?

    Or are you making it up as you go along anew, every time?

    Do you have an expectations meeting with new clients? Here's how things are going to work...these are the steps...and here are the consequences if this or that is not done?


    Another factor can be price.

    If the investment is low, the client has no motivation to get the project to completion.

    When they've put what they believe is "a lot of money" into the project, they will suddenly want to see the return on their investment.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      So...do you have any kind of system for your business?

      Have you outlined what you do in a process flowchart?

      Do you have forms for standard questions?

      Or are you making it up as you go along anew, every time?

      Do you have an expectations meeting with new clients? Here's how things are going to work...these are the steps...and here are the consequences if this or that is not done?


      Another factor can be price.

      If the investment is low, the client has no motivation to get the project to completion.

      When they've put what they believe is "a lot of money" into the project, they will suddenly want to see the return on their investment.

      I agree with Jason. I've built a couple sites recently for businesses and one has become a real pain. The guy I sold it to passed the project over to his office manager and it's been all downhill since then. I deal with them in another capacity, so I don't want to burn that bridge, but they've really tested my patience.

      I sent them a list of 10 things that I'd be doing for them before the project began, including videos, citation submissions and on-page and on-site SEO. I already have them listed in maps for their primary keyword but still can't get them to approve the video content! I finally had to send them that agreement AGAIN and tell them that they were really pushing it.

      Bottom line, you need to have a written agreement in place. Do what Jason recommends, go over everything you intent to do, make sure that they're in agreement, send the agreement to them by email or fax and have them state "I agree to these terms" and sign or type their name. Also, I'd consider adding a cost per hour with a minimum of one hour for anything you do outside of the agreement. That way there's no misunderstanding if it comes to that. I'd also put a "point of no return" where you can no longer refund them in it and be very clear what that is.

      Finally, if you're going to do this as a business, you really should be focusing on building a backend income stream. Some companies charge from $37-$197.00 per month for hosting/maintenance/upkeep. You can justify a higher price by offer up to 30 minutes (example) of editing per month. It doesn't seem like much, but if you can do one site per week and charge them $97.00 per month on the backend that would add up to $4,850.00 per month in residual money after 50 weeks. Even $50.00 x 50 would be $2,500.00 per month. Think long term. They have to host their site somewhere, right?

      Anyhow, hope that helps.
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    • Profile picture of the author davidmac00
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      So...do you have any kind of system for your business?

      Have you outlined what you do in a process flowchart?

      Do you have forms for standard questions?

      Or are you making it up as you go along anew, every time?

      Do you have an expectations meeting with new clients? Here's how things are going to work...these are the steps...and here are the consequences if this or that is not done?


      Another factor can be price.

      If the investment is low, the client has no motivation to get the project to completion.

      When they've put what they believe is "a lot of money" into the project, they will suddenly want to see the return on their investment.
      This^^^ is very helpful advice.

      A couple of years back I received similar advice on this forum about having a systematic process of dealing with new clients. I took it on board and boy did it make life a LOT easier. Gives me a lot more time to focus on what I actually need to be doing.

      The part at the bottom about the low investment is something that is overlooked far too often. Most webdesigners (or almost any service provider) when starting up will look at a customer and think it is hard to justify a high price for their skills as they are fairly new in providing this service.

      You have to learn to view the person/ client in front of you as not an individual, but a company with a budget and many important tasks to undertake each and every hour.

      If your price isn't high enough to at least make him/her ask what he is getting for his money then you can be sure it will be pushed down the line of priorities. I find my clients almost have to be feeling the price to be a pain, but worthwhile temporary pain as it disappears and helps their business the quicker they get their end sorted.
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  • Profile picture of the author RDrekt
    Please visit the WYSIWYG guide for getting all the details that you want.
    It is the starting step of the profession.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
      Originally Posted by RDrekt View Post

      Please visit the WYSIWYG guide for getting all the details that you want.
      It is the starting step of the profession.
      It is?

      Never heard of it.

      Don't know what you're talking about. Can you explain? Add something to the discussion?
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      • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
        Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

        Can you explain? Add something to the discussion?
        Nope.

        You'll need to send a PM to get that "hot" info. ha!ha!
        Then I'm gonna try to sell you some crap you don't need.

        Never ends, does it?

        Too bad the OP didn't respond to yours and Joe's very insightful posts.
        They missed a big learning opportunity.

        Ron
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    Originally Posted by lirikh View Post

    On my side, what I usually do, when I develop sites with WordPress (WordPress is king), is determine whether the client has any existing asset regarding web content. I gauge their brand, objectives, and anything else that can be pertinent to the website. Basically any fact-finding techniques. This all is done via judgment with no planning (I need a way to find a better way here).
    fact finding.. pretty easy stuff... social accounts... articles... an active website, any inactive website information. Printed materials.. have they ever run print advertising, radio or tv advertising? What are their goals? what are their objectives? do they have a mission statement? how about a statement of purpose?

    can you see the framework for a questionnaire here? In all of these things you are looking for a level of consistence or lack there of. Understanding where they have been...and where they are now.. helps in guiding them in a positive direction in the future.

    Originally Posted by lirikh View Post

    After I finish collecting all the info, I research theme candidates. I select around 3 and shoot them up to the client. They choose one and we progress to structuring the content.
    This right here is one of those things that just chaps my hide.... Lets face it, every theme is different than the next... to go off and willy nilly look at themes that you will have to "figure out" and then develop is not very systematic. YOU pick 2 or 3 themes.. get REAL comfortable with them.. learn them inside and out. At the very least keep a text file of any and all CSS or PHP changes you can make to that theme.

    From here you can now customize 1 of your themes you have a working knowledge with to present to your client. this starts the we want this and that, and because again you have a working knowledge you can provide those changes... You are listening to your client and providing great service BECAUSE you have a understanding of the base ( theme ) you are working with.

    So before you ask.. what themes should I look at? I have 4 suggestions... The Divi theme, The Virtue Theme, The Mystile Theme ( It looks like tail when looking at the theme demo, but it is rather flexible ) and StoreFront. With moderate to extensive CSS and PHP manipulation you can get the look of just about any theme from these 4.

    The difference here is the amount of control... you are offering sites you have a working knowledge of... more knowledge, and a larger database of CSS PHP changes.. the faster you can develop a structure base to build from. If time is money.. this is how to maximize your time.

    Originally Posted by lirikh View Post

    All communication is done via email and this can often be a hassle when trying to make sense out of everything. We try to use Google Drive to collaborate on the content, but clients prefer to email their info by forwarding anything they can think will be of help. It's not easy working with clients that have no digital assets, but that's good in a way because in those cases they're desperate for a web presence and here I come.
    Part of system development is not forcing what works for "You", but what works.. you want to use google drive.. but the clients want to send emails.... and the problem is? Speaking of digital assets... would it not make sense to have a fill in the blank type of form a client could get onto and upload files and paste text into? Reduce the friction, and make it easy - FOR THE CLIENT - in a manor that is also easy for you... BTW, my forms save right into google drive LOL

    I am going to state the obvious... you are tripping over the exact same technology that you are trying to tell clients you are a master of. Systems and processes only work when both sides use them. The client has to use it, and you have to be able to get what you need from it. I have spent 1000's of hours and lord knows how much money developing what I have today.... and it works... if its forced, its wrong.. find another way.
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  • Profile picture of the author johnhill001
    Banned
    Will somebody give me some reasonable straightforward direction with respect to building WordPress Websites for others?
    I began outsourcing as a visual fashioner this year, and manufactured my own site utilizing WordPress, which i cherished. I have as of late been requested that by two customers assemble them a site likewise - here is the place I get stuck on precisely the right approach to doing this - I'm not an engineer so I would need to utilize subjects.

    I have introduced a neighborhood WordPress establishment, yet at the same time not exactly beyond any doubt how to utilize it starting yet.
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