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Old 05-31-2011, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Harrisburg, PA
2,338 posts, read 7,073,272 times
Reputation: 1558

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Ok so this question goes to all of the web designers/consultants out there.

I'm a graduate student who is diligently working on building my portfolio. I am not a professional web designer nor do I strive to be. However having a website is pretty much standard fare for most businesses today. So I cover 'website creation' in my host of services that I offer to small business startups.

So I agreed to revamp some CMS-based sites for a small start-up. It's been a week now, and I'm so frustrated! I came into this thinking that I would be able to just take charge of the website project (and that is how it was presented). My first piece of advice was to change the template...to give the site a modern look. That advice was pretty much ignored...and he would rather have the current one fixed (he thinks that changing a template...which takes about 30 min of work at this early stage, will damage his site ranking). The second piece of advice was that his SEO attempt of buying 30 key-word based domains was pretty pointless UNLESS he was going to put the time in to load unique content on each page was pretty much a lost cause and as a very small firm (3 full-time people), what was the long-term plan for that. His response: everyone does it....he'll use spun content. (). The third piece of advice was about downloading and utilizing all of these free scripts....like HTML/Javascript widgets and contact forms. I said they are not secure....it's better to get an extension for the CMS that is designed for the CMS and can integrate some nice security features so that the site doesn't get spammed. He doesn't want to pay for these (mind you....we're talking maybe $10-$20 bucks...TOPS).

I'm so at a loss. It is such a little bit of money that I feel like saying "You know what, I'm not interested in working like this"....but I feel like this would be bad for my reputation. Also, I should mention that on each area of advice, I supplied either a link or a demonstration of what I was talking about.

Oh, and perhaps I should add that he's bristling that the site(s) don't look the same in IE; and that "most the world" uses IE. I just throw up my hands at that!

Any advice?
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Old 05-31-2011, 05:27 PM
 
10,752 posts, read 18,001,409 times
Reputation: 10244
As long as you offer no guarantees, do what the guy wants and take his money. That's my course of action when clients won't listen to me. They usually eventually find out I was right, and then pay me again to do a proper job.
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Old 05-31-2011, 05:30 PM
 
Location: sowf jawja
1,940 posts, read 8,303,235 times
Reputation: 1042
Quote:
Originally Posted by NHDave View Post
As long as you offer no guarantees, do what the guy wants and take his money. That's my course of action when clients won't listen to me. They usually eventually find out I was right, and then pay me again to do a proper job.

i'm not a web designer, but dave's advice is spot on for my business and pretty much any line of work.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
5,850 posts, read 11,181,712 times
Reputation: 3836
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissShona View Post

I'm so at a loss. It is such a little bit of money that I feel like saying "You know what, I'm not interested in working like this"....but I feel like this would be bad for my reputation.
Nothing wrong with that. I have resigned a few accounts with difficult clients myself - Especially those who refuse to upgrade from IE6 for what ever reason. They are nothing but trouble and not worth it.

This is what generally happens. Somewhere how, somewhere a client will get a bootleg copy of MS Publisher or CorelDraw, learn the basics and then think they are Art/Creative Directors (even worse is when they let their office manager - the one with 3 cats and a home decorated with Thomas Kinkade paintings have creative input)

When presenting your ideas you have to tell the client very firmly and directly why they are making bad decisions. You won't loose the Business, and if they become difficult to work with cut your losses and resign the account, especially if they are not paying much.

Its not worth the aggregation (but you also have to walk the fine line yourself, between being a good, conscientious designer and a prima donna)

It maybe more rewarding to build your portfolio by building sites for charities and non-profits with causes you believe in.

I have a small freelance studio on the side. Everything I do is flat rate, no hourly billing. I charge $4000 to design and build simple websites. With my friend who is an excellent coder, we turn these projects around within a week or two. Word of mouth has been pretty good and I design and manage anywhere from 2-7 websites per month. Not bad for extra cash.

Best part is that I don't need the work, so I have no problem turning down work.

Clients will love you more for a quick turn arounds, but you have to be very direct and tell them that they cannot micro manage a project.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:34 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
30,829 posts, read 56,210,459 times
Reputation: 32811
You won't get rich working for small startups. They will do the minimum required, to save cash, and with the tools available these days many will do their own. And, they don't like being told that their website sucks, even when it does.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:53 PM
 
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
5,850 posts, read 11,181,712 times
Reputation: 3836
Quote:
Originally Posted by bisjoe View Post
You won't get rich working for small startups. They will do the minimum required, to save cash, and with the tools available these days many will do their own. And, they don't like being told that their website sucks, even when it does.
Most of my work comes from small start ups. Making $4000 in two weeks with about 20-30 hours worth of work is a pretty good deal...
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:09 AM
 
Location: Harrisburg, PA
2,338 posts, read 7,073,272 times
Reputation: 1558
Thanks for the advice everyone....I feel better already!
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:48 AM
 
40,169 posts, read 41,782,366 times
Reputation: 16740
Quote:
Originally Posted by NHDave View Post
As long as you offer no guarantees, do what the guy wants and take his money. That's my course of action when clients won't listen to me.

The issue there is your name is on it and I'm not referring to the links some people put on the bottom of a site when they make it (I find this to be poor taste myself), as an analogy if you were a contractor that had a good reputation for doing work and a business owner insisted you did shoddy work so it could be done their way do you really want to risk your reputation?

My advice is you clearly spell exactly what you will do to a site and make sure they know you won't be keeping any cheesy java scripts. You can compromise on may things particualrly the looks but I wouldn't budge on anything that is on the backend.
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Harrisburg, PA
2,338 posts, read 7,073,272 times
Reputation: 1558
Oh I should also add that he is against installing/using Google Analytics...which is just pretty mind boggling to me. I could understand this...if GA was what is was back in 2006 (a slow script that held up your page load), but in my experience, that has been vastly improved. Does anyone know the reasoning behind this? Keep in mind, SEO is like his prime focus (over everything else it seems).

Last edited by MissShona; 06-01-2011 at 10:11 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,815 posts, read 13,956,611 times
Reputation: 8047
What's NOT to like about GA? It's like 8 lines of code and it tells you SO much.
He's an idiot.
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