In this section, I’m going to cover designing websites for clients, or more specifically, how I create websites for my clients once they have purchased my services. Make sure you read the information on the Your Website page first as a starting point for your client websites.
Once I have been hired, and I have a 50% deposit, I go to work on the project. In my mind, at that point, there is no turning back, and I give the project 100%. The better it looks the better for me and for the client, and the better my skills get for the next job. I do not work on a project until I have a deposit in hand. I collect half the remainder as soon as the client approves my design, which is done before I insert and content, and then I collect the remainder upon taking the site live.
I ask the client to show me 3 sites that they like in their industry – and I have them tell me what they like about them. I also do my own research as to what it happening in their industry. I do not search in the client’s city for direct competitors to emulate, but I search for inspirational sites, and good template sites, for sites in the client’s niche. I’m looking for the following things:
- Beautiful and appropriate sites in the client’s industry
- Colors and color schemes that are used on the most professional sites
- Fonts that are used on the best sites in that niche
- The types of functions and features used on the best sites
- The way they are laid out
- The types of images used
- The types of pages on the site
- The style of the writing on the best sites
From what I learn I develop my own take and design that uses the best of what’s currently out there, and keeps the client and his business in mind. I do not imitate or duplicate the competition. I use them for inspiration. I create a new and unique site for the client that is built upon the best practices in the industry as I see them. There is nothing wrong with this method. Artist of all types has been inspired by others throughout history.
It’s also a good idea to study the latest trends in web design. There are plenty of sites that talk about website and graphic design trends. You want to build something that looks modern and will look good for another 5 years. Not something that looks like it was built in the ’90’s. If you pull your designs out of your head, especially when you are new to designing websites, you will create something that you will look back on and think it was awful.