CHOOSING A WEB DESIGNER, PART ONE
For nearly three decades I have tried to figure out where my clients come from. Some are easy to figure out – they are local, friends, friends-of-friends and referrals from existing clients. The others? A little harder to pinpoint. A scuba-diving company in Cayos Cochinos, the tour guides in Sri-Landa, an engineering firm in Aberdeen, UK – those are a little harder to figure out (but it normally lands on the doorstep of Google or Bing).
Not all contacts and first impressions lead to work. Seldom does. It's part of the shtick. I know that. In part, some people are not ready to move forward. (I realize that when they say they will be trying someone/something else and six months later – or two years later – there has been no change on their old website.)
In part, I assume a portion of the blame. I tend to ask an avalanche of questions that may put some people off – making them uncomfortable. Too nosy? Too intimidating? I'm not sure what they may think. Too expensive? I truly do not know. But, I want to know some "things" about you, your business, your products, your services. And, I want to know about your customers, employees, staff and your customers/clients/users. I don't consider that nosy. If you want me to build a website that works for you, I need to know how you work and what you do. I like to know who and what you work for.
Some of my best clients are the ones that I have had disagreements with. At times the disagreements were entirely about the website or certain aspects of it. Other times it was purely personality conflicts. But, the bottom line is seen after the differences. If you are looking for a designer and web strategist that is going to simply agree with everything that you say, look elsewhere. If you don't have the conviction to disagree with me – it probably won't work out. Successful websites are the result of trial and error, and keeping an open mind. I have to remind myself about those things... often!
My core thought on any project is about sustainability. This pretty much is where the rubber hits the road. I want to build websites that are self-sustaining; websites that have a worth for the website owners beyond the value of their initial investment, websites that may, eventually, need more work to create even more value for the website owner. If I build a website that works for you, you may just someday want me to make it better. I consider that a sound business practice. Building a website that helps create it's own growth is – naturally – a benefit to both of us. Do consider that fact with whomever you choose to work with.
A large part of sustainability is about taking something that is either taken for granted, ignored or discarded, and... using it to an advantage and in a way that creates more opportunities and less waste. It usually starts in very small increments. In some instances, simply having a site "live on the web" is the major accomplishment. Or, it can be taking a website that is simply an online business card and turning it into a substantial (and reliable) source of revenue. It can be the simple satisfaction of knowing that that someone can find your business or organization on the web. And... it can be more. Therein is the "fun" of all this web-stuff. Do not take it too seriously. Always be diligent. Do not hesitate to move forward.