If you’re a web developer or designer, you’ve no doubt found yourself in the situation where a website has been ready to go live for weeks, if not months, and all your waiting on is the content from the client. In this post we’ll be looking at how to prevent this scenario, and how to ensure this no longer holds up your websites from going live.
It’s happened to us countless times in the past when working on property websites; Everything seems to move at 100mph for the first couple of weeks, the designs get done, the build is finished, it’s all setup so the content can be dropped in when it’s ready….. and then nothing. And the site then just sits there.
As a result, we’ve introduced some of the tips below to try and prevent this occurring in the future and wanted to share them with you:
1. Add contract terms that state you are not responsible for content, and that payments have nothing to do with content
Don’t let content prevent you from getting paid. If they’ve signed off the design, and the website build is finished, you’re entitled to get paid. Make sure it states this clearly in any contracts you sign before beginning the job so there can be no arguments when you send your invoice over.
2. Take a deposit before commencing the work
If you don’t already take deposits, we recommend that you start doing so now. Having a deposit softens the blow slightly when a site doesn’t go live for months. It also entices the client to get their side of things finished sooner if some money has been paid already.
3. Schedule weekly meetings to get progress updates
Be sure to check-in regularly with the client to see how things are progressing with the content. You should discuss matters such as how much content is left to create, are they struggling with any pages, and to ensure that the content they’ve created fits in with the design of the website.
4. Set content deadlines and put pressure on your customer to hit them
Putting deadlines in place and checking that you’re all still on target to meet them will help. If everyone is working towards the same dates it makes people feel like they’ve got a responsibility to meet them as to not let others involved in the project down. These again are all things that can be put into the contract (see point 1) to cover yourself should deadlines not be met.
5. Assist with content as much as possible without actually doing it yourself
There are various things you can do to assist with the creation of content. Generate a sitemap of the website, and create a checklist/to-do of pages so they can be checked off once content is ready. By doing this the client has no excuses when it comes to knowing which content and photography needs to be supplied.
6. Suggest using a copywriter and/or photographer
Not having enough time is normally the sole reason that content isn’t getting produced by the client themselves. As a result, why not suggest hiring a third party copywriter or photographer to assist. Not only do they have the time, but this is what they do for a living.
The argument against this is often that a third party copywriter doesn’t know the business, the property industry, or the area that the estate agency operates in. Don’t let this put you off. We’ve worked with copywriters in the past that, before even putting pen to paper, make sure they know as much as they can about the business in question.
We hope these tips prove useful if you often find yourself in this scenario. We’d love to hear from you if you have any of your own advice or measures that you put in place.