10 Ways to Go the Extra Mile with Web Design Projects
Simply getting a web design project and doing it isn’t enough these days. To win over clients, and gain repeat clients, we as web designers always need to make an extra effort and go the extra mile. Doing a bit extra per project can really have a lot of benefits. By doing so, we can always be moving forward with our careers and businesses.
Sometimes though, with either a lack in motivation or just unknowing of how to go about it, we don’t put in that extra bit enough to impress a client. It’s probably not that we haven’t done enough, but often times not over achieving (especially if you’re a solo worker), really isn’t enough. In this post we’ll go over ten simple methods for showing the client you care, and tips for giving a project more than what you promised.
1. Under Promise
This is perhaps one of the easiest methods to giving a project more than what the client bargained for. Just simply don’t promise do to all the great things you normally do anyway. Outline what you’ll do for a project just enough to win a client over, and then do what you normally do when it comes to web design projects on top of that.
Perhaps you don’t mind adding extra features to your web designs, and in fact, believe it’s necessary for a project’s success. Perhaps you take the planning and research phase very seriously, and use a lot of detail no matter what the project. Don’t emphasize your strengths through the design process, but instead emphasize the final results to win over clients. Let the client figure out on their own your incredible attention to detail, or your great communication skills while working with them.
2. Give Free Advice
Throughout the relationship of a web designer and client, off-topic conversation is bound to happen. For example, if a client mentions something about the redesign you’re doing as a step towards more website traffic, give some friendly advice on SEO and gaining new customers.
Giving a client tips about their website and business can easily show a client that you’re in it for them, not just for yourself.
3. Beat the Deadline
Always be generous when giving yourself deadlines. When giving a deadline to a client before a project begins, I always make it one week later than what I think I can actually do. This way, in case I get busy or run into a problem, I have that extra one week padding. If not, which is most of the time, I finish with flying colors a week early.
Of course, the one week rule is not universal. Depending on the size and type of projects you specifically take on, this scope can change. For huge, long-term projects, it could be as much as a month, or for short-term projects as little as a day. Either way, the idea is to give yourself some padding, and therefore almost always come out with a client’s project before they’re expecting it.
4. Make it Easy for Them
With many of my clients, unless they specify otherwise, I use PHP includes to create an easy template for them to alter later. I use a header.php, footer.php, and sometimes sidebar.php, and then explain to them what they need to open to alter the right portion of the page. For my many clients that have a hard time reading through HTML and other code, this can really simplify things for them.
While some other clients don’t prefer that, I’m still sure to always clarify that I am available for maintenance and minor updates, and keep my code as clean and as documented as possible. Even when working with other designers/developers, keeping organized and usable code is a great way to keep them coming back.
Find a way to make the web design process easy for the client, and maintenance afterwards equally as easy. Clients are busy and will appreciate the effort.
5. Add Some Cool Features
6. Learn Something New & Add It
Learn a new design technique and implement it somewhere into the project. As one benefit, you’ll be improving yourself and learning something new with each project. (Talk about multi-tasking!) You’ll also give the client something better than your normal work, something better than they expected when they looked at your portfolio.
Just be sure when trying this out, though, that you’re not straying too far from your unique design style that the client fell in love with when viewing your portfolio in the first place.
7. Double-Check for Errors
It is of course expected that every web designer should present their clients with error-free validated code, and a perfect final website. To go the extra mile, though, once you begin the final design stage, don’t show your client the final piece until you’ve double checked for every possible error there is. Check for validation in both XHTML and CSS, re-read for any content errors (if you created any content), check all pages for miscellaneous problems, and check scripts for any bugs. Make sure everything is pixel-perfect for the design as well!
When you present the final design to the client, they will of course look for any final touches or fixes before you send over the files. When they have difficulty finding any, it will show your commitment to the project and fine attention to detail.
8. Give Free Service
Of course, always charge for bigger things, but for any fixes that take under a half an hour such as follow-up maintenance or little additions, give your clients a freebie every now and then. This can lead into dangerous territory when done all the time, as you never want a client always expecting free work. We definitely don’t want to go into debt with this one, but much of the time giving away a bit of free work for a dedicated client will keep them coming back with more projects.
If a blog has average content, average design, average layout, and average things to say you don’t stay long. Needless to say, you likely don’t come back. The web design of a blog is a huge piece of the puzzle. If a design can impress visitors at first glance, they’ll be likely to come back. A great design shows originality and uniqueness, and also quality.
9. Work Harder!
Nobody gives 100% on each project, even though we try. It’s just human nature. We get unmotivated, uninspired, and lazy. No motivation shows through in any design. Going the extra mile with a web design project can just simply mean getting the right dose of inspiration before you start, and that can be enough to create a great project that will impress.
Get in the habit of trying to find inspiration, doing the necessary research, and getting motivated before the start of each project. Don’t let yourself get into a rut or get bored with your design career. Never do, ‘let’s just get this over with’ work ever again.
10. Be Extra Professional
Whether it means meeting in person, over the phone, or spicing up proposals and quotes, step up your professionalism to impress clients. This can often times mean a better overall result to the project as well, because communication between you and the client are likely to improve.
Many repeat clients can come from doing a bit of extra work for each project, any all business depend on repeat business to stay afloat. Without happy clients and great projects, we have no income and a poor portfolio. While this post focuses primarily on impressing clients and going the extra mile for client projects, the same principles should be applied to your personal projects as well. This is a great way to get to where you want to be professionally, and to always be improving.
If you give 110%, you’re likely to improve your skill set by at least 10% as well. Better yourself and your business by staying inspired to do the greatest job you can for each and every project.