Business

What are the 5 greatest things I’ve learned after building 100 websites?

I like to be an observer. If you observe things long enough you’ll start to see patterns, and I have seen those patterns.  I have a clear understanding of how to handle different situations that you are certain to encounter while building websites. 

Four years ago, when I established Deluminal web development agency, I couldn’t imagine how certain projects will sharpen our internal processes and improve the quality of delivered work.

These are five of the most important lessons that I have learned while working on various websites during my career.

Communication is everything

It’s a shame we didn’t learn more about communication in school. This is the number one tool for everyone, not only in business but in personal life as well.

Communicate clearly with employees and you’ll create a nice working and stress-free environment. 

Make them aware of the expectations and what their role in a project is in advance. 

I love to be as detailed as possible when I describe a project to my team. In doing so, it will avoid unnecessary questions and save time. In addition, it also makes the development move faster when they know all of the project requirements in advance. 

I speak a lot with my clients so they feel that they are included in every decision. This avoids unexpected surprises and It gives me an opportunity to explain the reasoning behind my approach.

Communicate with the client. Manage your clients’ expectations by explaining clearly what you will deliver to them.  Going over the details will give you the opportunity to explain what you are building for them and why you chose to do it that way. When including them, your client will be comfortable working with you and will not be disappointed with the results.  Don’t surprise the client, even if you feel you want to surprise them with an added feature, the client often may not appreciate the effort, or worse, not want it. For example when ……..????

Inside and outside of your team, communication is the most important thing you need to know.

It is a first step in making your business successful.

Price is not important but your approach

Once a request for proposal email lands in the inbox, most of us will think about the budget before we even talk to the client. 

Did you catch yourself thinking how much a client will pay for your services?

Have to admit, in the early days of my business, I did.

After successfully completed projects, I asked two simple questions to clients who were super happy with my work:

Why do you like to work with me? 

Why did you accept my offer even you said there are proposals with a lower price?

The pattern in their responses made me think deeper about it. Most of those answers were:

– because you are not an order taker, 

– you have provided us value with your suggestions,

– you might be more expensive than others but I like the way you think,

– you were very detailed in the discovery session and asked the right questions

This led me to the conclusion – clients don’t chase a low price. They appreciate your strategic thinking, the way you approached the project and they are willingly paying more to get that.

Organize work in smaller tasks

Project delivery on time is one of the golden rules! That’s easy to accomplish when you work on small to midsize websites. 

It might happen that you “choke” on a large project when you don’t estimate the amount of work properly. 

Why does it happen? A complex website requires much more time to investigate features that need to be developed and to realize the complete scope of the work.

Sometimes it’s not enough to devote a lot of time… One trick I learned over time and want to share with you. 

Split necessary work into smaller chunks. By doing this, you’ll have more insights and control over the time you’ll spend.

For instance, you are doing a design for a website. 

  1. Split tasks by pages/templates you need to design (home, about, products, contact, etc…)
  2. Split those tasks to even smaller tasks by separating every page by sections, let’s take About Us page as an example. You can have hero section, about us section, team members section, founder statement, etc… 
  3. Add tasks for design revisions you included in the proposal and delegate enough time for this part.

It’s much easier to determine how much time you’ll need for a small task than for the whole design.

If you start using this method, not even that you can provide an accurate timeline for the project but you can always give a fair price as well. That’s because you’ll have a clear understanding of what needs to be done and how long it will take.

Would love to share a few more tips about this method with you. Feel free to send me a message in case you find this interesting.

Exceed client expectations

The gut feeling when I hear a client who is thrilled with the work we did is priceless.

While you can meet client expectations, and he is satisfied with the result, it’s not easy to have a client who goes around and spread the good word about your work and how useful you were to him.

One of the things I love to do is to over deliver project a little bit. Just a few touch ups you can think of that are not included in the signed proposal. 

Always give an extra mile.

You’ll get WOW reaction from the client, and he will realize a passion you have for the work you are doing.

First, do the test, then delivery!

Tight deadlines, clients who want to get their website as soon as possible, a lot of projects on a plate. 

Probably, in this situation, you want to finish and hand over the project sooner than later.

Usually, it’s a double-edged sword. Although you completed a website on time if it’s not fully tested, you’ll have to invest more work in it and fix glitches. 

This will also cause the client thinks you are unprofessional because he noticed a lot of mistakes. 

During the time, I created a precise testing workflow and quality assurance checklist. My advice for you, do the same and stick to it no matter what.

Quality assurance test will improve your coding skills and you’ll pay more attention to every new project. It will decrease the number of issues on the first pass.

Download QA checklist PDF: https://www.deluminal.com/quality-assurance-checklist/

At the end, just to recap quickly:

  • Communicate well with your team and your clients
  • Don’t pay attention to the price, but how to help the client
  • Plan carefully every project
  • Always give an extra mile to the work you do
  • Test, test, test, and test again. It will help you minimize errors and make you careful in every aspect of the project.

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