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So you’ve been tasked with designing a website for one of your clients. Not only are you responsible for delivering what the client wants in terms of visual expectations, but you’re also there to guide your client through the web design process and educate them along the way. Collaboration, of course, is the key to ensuring a smooth web design process and building your client’s dream site.
Check out these tips for working with clients to produce a website that not only meets their design needs, but also sets them up for success in the long run.
Understand Your Client’s Business
For any design project, learning about your client’s business can be a challenge. After all, that’s not your area of expertise. But positive designer-client relationships require creative professionals whose design solutions are compatible with the business’s strategies and goals. In order to get a thorough understanding of the brand, you’ll need to gather assets and basic information, leverage any user and customer research the client can provide (or conduct your own), and interview the business’s leaders. Keep your clients in the loop throughout the web design process to ensure that their expectations are met and help them feel like they are part of the process.
Choose the Right Platform
Your client may have a preferred platform already, but it’s often part of your job as a designer to help them understand the benefits of different platforms. Both you and your client will enjoy more success if you select a platform that suits their business best. If a client needs a homepage, a blog, and eCommerce elements, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches by choosing the platform that is best-suited to all three. There are many options out there, but Squarespace, for example, offers beautiful, customizable templates that are created with the latest design sensibilities and broad functionality in mind; it also offers quick and easy support for both creative professionals and clients.
Design for Discoverability
Of course, as a designer, discoverability isn’t necessarily your job—but there are a few touches you can add to a web design project to give your clients a leg up, especially if they’re not familiar with discoverability basics like hierarchy and search engine optimization.
Ensuring that the website includes a clear, optimized hierarchy, strategic copy placement, and a unique design that appeals to the audience and complements the website’s layout will keep users clicking. You can also help boost the site’s visibility and Google rankings by explaining SEO strategies and ensuring that your design is simple to optimize. Giving your client a space to blog and keep their site fresh and updates will help more customers find the site in the future.
A diverse range of content and services both impresses clients and makes for a website that’s up-to-the-minute. Empower your client to incorporate video, audio, news and updates, slideshows, interactivity—and even innovative design elements that aren’t yet as common across the web, like 3D design and AR. This may also open the door for you to do more design work as they add content to their website. This also helps with discoverability—the more a website offers, the more search engines will regard it as a respected source for engaging content.
Consult Your Peers—and the Pros
Forums can be a great way to get feedback on your work from other designers, learn more about working with clients working with clients and determine what has worked for other web designers. You can try joining professional and enthusiast groups on Facebook, LinkedIn or Reddit.
If you’ve created a few Squarespace sites, be sure to check out Circle, the forum and community for creative professionals who build websites—for personal use, businesses and clients—on Squarespace. The forums are a great place to find inspiration and advice, discover how to educate your clients about the options available on Squarespace sites, pitch your services, and post questions for your fellow designers. (Plus, Circle members get 20% off the first year of Squarespace’s Website or Online Store annual plans. Learn more.)
It’s a members-only group that also offers resources like advanced guides, marketing materials, tailored help from Squarespace’s support team, product release notes, and more to help Circle members grow creatively and professionally. Circle members also get six-month trial periods for new projects, plus a variety of new perks that are added regularly. Learn more about it here.
There are many platforms that can help you craft portfolio sites and websites for clients, but we particularly like the versatility and user-friendliness of Squarespace, which includes a vast array of drag-and-drop features, impressive all-in-one templates, online store options, 24/7 customer service and more. Give Squarespace’s 14-day trial a shot to test out the platform and experience its web design options for yourself—and use coupon code HOWDESIGN at checkout for 10% off your first purchase.