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The Right Way to Start a Paid Website Project

Many professional website builders and developers consider “difficult clients” to be their number one job-related problem. There are certainly a few clients out there who will deliberately make your life as hard as possible; happily, these stinkers are a small minority. Most client-developer conflicts are based on misunderstandings on both sides. You can reduce or even completely prevent conflicts by asking the right questions BEFORE you start each project.

Once you’ve located a project and sent the prospect your portfolio, and they’ve expressed interest in working with you, the next step is to sit down with your new client and set everyone’s expectations. Most companies consider their websites to be a marketing tool so you’ll often be working with their sales or marketing department, who are almost exclusively non-technical people. This means that they won’t know what information to give you – what’s important for you to know before you start coding. You need to take responsibility for getting that information from the client; that way you’ll be much less likely to have an unpleasant surprise halfway through the project.

Before you start building (or rebuilding) a website you need to know what the client wants their website to do. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Quite often you and your clients will be guilty of making assumptions about the website’s capabilities. So in that initial meeting, you need to toss out all your assumptions and get the real nitty-gritty details on the project. Here are some questions to get you started:

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