Here’s a few questions you may want to consider asking prospective new web design or WordPress services clients.
You can use these questions to create your own checklist depending on the type of work your client needs completed.
Even if you’re not offering web design services, you may find this guide handy if your clients need technical services for WordPress completed.
One of the first things i do is setup an email address on my clients server.
Premium products & services: There’s many products and services that generally need to be purchased. These products and services normally offer support which both the web designer/Tech and client need access to at some stage.
Free products & services: There’s also many services that require an account sign up like Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics, WordPress.com (If you install the Jetpack plugin) Dropbox and other storage providers for backup of files and database.
After the job is completed, the client can easily take over access to that email address without any need to make any changes to usernames or account owners.
They can simply change the password on that email account.
Access Existing Accounts
Asking for and receiving all access details upfront can be a fair bit of work.
You’ll need access to different accounts depending on the job.
Personally, i’ve completed many migrations and have created a site move form especially for this type of work.
However, this form does not cover all the access details for web design clients.
You may also need access to:
- Google accounts: For Google analytics, Feedburner, Adsense and Webmaster Tools
- Microsoft/Bing accounts: Webmaster tools
- Aweber, MailChimp and other email marketing service providers
Going back and asking for all these details during the process of completing web design or technical services can be a pain for your client.
Always better to get all this information upfront once your client has given you the go ahead.
Theme Framework Decision
Its very important to communicate with your client in respect of which child theme framework to use for web design.
Personally, i stick to premium themes including Woo, Genesis and Thesis as these are the frameworks and child themes i have used myself on this site and others.
If a client wants to use a theme which you aren’t experienced with, it can be a steep learning curve and therefore can be harder to achieve the result your client is looking for. This can also take more time and cost more money.
Working with a theme developed by a leading provider like StudioPress or Woo makes the whole job easier and also gives the client ongoing support which they may need.
High Quality Images
No doubt images can make a website look amazing.
Purchasing a dozen or so of the highest quality images is well worth the investment.
And the size does matter!!
Choosing images which are the perfect size is best practice. Resizing images reduces the quality therefore its better to work out the exact size and let the client know before they choose the images.
Read more about which image file formats to use.
You’ll find Shutter Stock and other leading suppliers of high quality photos, videos, vectors and illustrations.
Logo’s & Graphics
Logos and other graphics should also be supplied in the best file format.
This way you can increase or decrease the size and retain the quality which isn’t the case with .png or.jpg format.
You can also change the background color to transparent before adding them to the site. No need to ask your client go back to the graphic designer for this job.
Text content complimented with video’s is a great way to connect with your audience.
Choosing a good quality video player is important and one which is user friendly so your client can easily upload and insert new videos into their site.
I like Proplayer as its been developed based on JW Player and is excellent for displaying your own self hosted videos.
Some clients don’t want to allow redistribution of their video content and will need a service which is customizable like Vimeo Pro. This service is provides professional video hosting and is perfect for hosting your own videos which you don’t want uploaded to Youtube or the like.
Other clients will want you to make it easy for their video content to be redistributed and shared online therefore a Youtube plugin may be the way to go.
Its extremely important to help your client paint the picture of what they want their website to look like and how they want it to function.
Considering every project will be unique, you’ll need to ask the right questions and offer the right solutions to your client so they can fill in the picture.
This is a basic checklist you can use as a template for designing your own questionnaire which your client can fill out.
Questions for Clients
- Why do you or your business need the website/blog?
- Who is your target audience?
- What information, products or services will you offer?
- What will your readers get out of your site?
- What are your readers/clients needs, challenges, frustrations and goals?
- What content will you be adding to the site?
- Who will be adding the content? Staff, Guest posts?
- Will existing text content be added and does it need re formatting or checking for grammar/spelling mistakes?
- Name up to 12 categories you would like to assign your blog posts too.
- Will you be using an existing email marketing service.
- What are your needs and preferences for RSS and email subscriptions.
- What information do you want to collect from your clients and subscribers?
- Monthly/Yearly hosting budget
- Page loading speed requirements & CDN service provider
- CPU Resources requirements for software/plugins
- Choice of country to host website
- Existing hosting access details for server and domain
- Use existing domain or change domain
- Domain branding – does it include industry field and short brand name
- Who needs access to the website and blog?
- Access roles and capabilities
- Guest post authors, subscribers, editors and admins
Layout & Design
- Provide url’s to websites and blogs you like the appearance of.
- Provide screenshots of different design elements of websites you like
- Provide color choices using color tools or existing website/logo branding colors
- Font styles and font pairings
- Font sizes – h1, h2,h3,h4
- Font colors for each size
- Which competitors are you targeting?
- Which competitors websites do you like and dislike
Pages & Navigation
- How many pages (with timeless content) do you want to include in the main navigation?
- Do you want a vertical or horizontal nav menu?
- How many nav menus do you need?
- Do you want to self upload display new video content on your site?
- Do you want the videos hosted on your server or using YouTube?
- Do you want the video content available for download and redistribution?
This post should give you some idea of what information & details you need to receive and communicate with your clients.
I’ve found good clients always give you all the information and access details upfront because they trust you. As long as you know what questions to ask and what information you need in order to do the best job.
This way you have a clear picture and access to all the tools you need to design a great website for your client.
You and your client may also be able to work out if you’re the right person for the job!
Nice read Brad, but I have a question:
How you sell 3d themes to your clients? How you tell them they will not gonna have an unique theme designed for them?
Brad Dalton says
Hi Kevin. I’d put it in WordPress themes directory first and see what the feedback on the forum is. Then i might move it to a commercial site based on the feedback.
I look at what the Automaticians do.
The guys that work on the core are real experts as far as quality goes.
Justin Tadlock http://justintadlock.com/about and Konstantin Kovshenin http://kovshenin.com/about/ are 2.
Brad Dalton says
Another option i think you may want to consider is offering both a free and premium theme. This is what the big theme developers tend to do.