What redesigning an entire website taught me
I never used to ask my clients the right questions.
When I started this gig, my biggest learning experience and kick straight to the heart was having to redesign an entire site. The one and only time and it made me feel like a failure, doubt myself, and think “how can I call myself a web designer?!” But I did it, I redesigned the whole site, from top to bottom, and learned two valuable lessons.
- Be confident in WHY you do what you do, tell your clients why you chose to deliver the product or service the way you did. You are unique, be proud of that and communicate that uniqueness in a straight forward, non-defensive, non know-it-all way. If you educate them into why you made the decisions you did, you may just see them do a complete 180. In this case, I was brand new, I knew why I designed the layout of the site the way I did, but I wasn’t confident to explain that to them. We 100% could have met in the middle had I spoke up.
- Ask the right questions of your potential clients/customers. Be sure your product or service IS the right answer for them. Because you can’t always be the right fit for everyone. Ask
- Will it solve their problems?
- Will it make life easier for them in any way?
- Will it save them time?
Knowing your demographic, and more importantly, knowing your ideal client will ensure you are directing your marketing, and your product/service to the people who want and need it.
In this case, I didn’t pay attention to the clients’ demographic. It was a site for primarily senior citizens, and I designed it for 30 year old nature lovers. So the whole thing was directed to attract younger viewers, not the people that were actually engaging with their site. 100% my fault. I was so excited to do the project and flex my creativity, I designed it for what I wanted. Rookie mistake. And I instantly knew I had totally missed the mark, I hadn’t designed to appeal to their audience.
The other mistake was not educating on what I did know. And I did have a great handle on the navigation and usability of the site, but because I wasn’t confident enough to explain WHY it was the most user friendly way to have things laid out the way I did, I just did things exactly, to the tee, what they told me to. I pushed aside what I knew to be right and best for them.
So my advice to you is to spend the time educating your client or customer via your website, your marketing, your face to face interactions. They need to see and understand the value you provide.
I 100% get what it feels like to feel like you are so new, how can you say “Hey, I know what I’m doing, let me tell you about it”, but chances are good, if they are coming to you for a product or service, they really want to know YOUR solution to their problem Don’t leave them wondering why you had no advice or information to give.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost 9 years and some days I still feel like why would anyone listen to me? My hope is that they do because they can feel my love for working with other entrepreneurs and business owners and want to provide the best possible result.Be confident. Show up. Educate. Ask the right questions. You got this. Click To Tweet
I’m happy to report, these same clients hired me a couple years later to do another site and it was a resounding success, for both of us. ?
Thanks for sharing. Love the lesson to speak up as to why you made your design decisions. Sometimes when we are newer or feeling a little insecure, we have to remind ourselves(and the client) why they hired you in the first place. Giving clients the results they are looking for doesn’t always mean being a yay sayer all the way through the process.
Yes! And they are looking to us to educate as to our why, we need to remember that.
Many people make mistakes of not taking back the back up before making major changes to the website.
Absolutely! I’ve been burned by that too in the past. The worst!