I often get quote requests for websites. The requests vary greatly as well as the way on how to sell a website. Some will be for small sites; some large sites. Some will want a logo; others won’t. Some will have a website already they want to improve; others will want a brand new one.
However, I often write the same answers to client requests. Over the years, I’ve kept what I have written and constantly reviewed it so that new requests can be answered with a quick copy and paste!
Here is an example of what I tend to write to potential clients about a fairly standard website set up:
Main website email
Thank you for your inquiry. I will definitely be able to help you design and build your website. Here is what will be included in the package:
- The ability to add, edit and delete content You will be able to create pages, insert images and edit content through an intuitive administration area.
- SEO Your site’s code will be optimized for search engines.
- Get the right URLs Your site’s URLs will always include real words separated by hyphens (for example: http://www.your-site.com/contact-us/).
- Sitemap I will create an XML sitemap which is a widely adopted search engine standard that helps search engine robots crawl your site. Your sitemap will also be submitted at Google Webmaster Tools to ensure that your site is properly indexed. Other search engines will also be notified.
- www or non-www You can choose whether your site will have a www or non-www web address.
- Follow web standards Your site will be written with standards compliant code wherever possible.
- Mobile friendly Your site will have a special mobile version when viewed by a handheld device.
- Speed Your site will be created with the smallest and fewest number of files as well as caching devices to ensure minimum loading times.
- Visitor statistics You will have the ability to continually monitor your site’s visitors, how they reached the site, their geographical location, how many pages they viewed, etc.
- Social networking and bookmarking buttons I will enable your visitors to easily vote for your pages on various social bookmarking and networking sites, eg. Twitter, Digg or Facebook.
- Contact page I will create a contact page with a form which, when filled out, will be sent direct to your email.
Obviously the bullet points can be rearranged depending on the client request.
Creating a new website for a client can be a process of educating the client on what works and doesn’t work on the World Wide Web. For example, some people may want a few static pages put up and then hope for the best. I try to explain that the internet is a living and evolving organism and, as such, your website would be better off living and evolving as well.
I always try to persuade my clients to write regular content. I don’t specifically mention the word “blog” if they haven’t mentioned it first. For some reason, I find clients can be initially resistant to the idea of a blog. So, until they “get it” I always try to reserve an area of the website for constantly updated content.
Similarly, I found that clients always came back to me to ask me to set up an email list for them. So now I always try to pre-empt this by persuading them to start one immediately.
I like to use WordPress as a CMS as I believe it provides the client with a intuitive back-end to manage the site as well as a coherent structure and good SEO “out of the box”. If I need to introduce the client to WordPress, I say the following:
WordPress is a robust and feature-full web publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards and usability.
It’s easy to use. There is excellent support documentation and forums because, literally, millions of people use it. It’s database driven so you can transport it to another CMS if you really want to. Anyone can edit a WordPress site (with a username and password) from anywhere in the world.
WordPress, as it says on it’s homepage, is both free and priceless at the same time.
I usually do a google for “WordPress websites” or look on the WordPress showcase to get some links to WordPress sites that the client may like.
I like to show the client a Photoshop visual of the site before starting the development stage. Here is how I explain this:
I will first present a visual of how I expect the home page to look. You will be able to make comments and suggestions on this visual which will be amended and agreed upon. The design of other pages can also be finalized through this process if you wish.
I used to say that the visual stage should never take more than 4/5 rounds but now I don’t believe this is necessary.
I send the visuals to the client as links to a web pages presenting the image and the page title. I find this better for the client to actually see the pages in a browser rather than just sending a JPG in an email.
How To Sell A Website Conclusion
I hope this may help other web designers and developers as well as anyone who want a website designed and developed. If you are a designer or a developer, do you have similar processes? Do you have any other tricks for client communication in this instance?