This question was asked at a recent internet marketing seminar I put on for an MBA program at Rutgers University*. “What’s the hardest situation to deal with when building a website?”
Without question the hardest situation to deal with is when clients can’t supply the content that’s required to finish their website.
I’m very clear when I quote my jobs that the content that goes into the website is totally the responsibility of the client. Sometimes this comes as a bit of a shock to them – but when I explain that they’re the expert in their field not me it usually, eventually makes sense to them. I also throw in that I’ll be around to help them get that expert knowledge out of their heads, they talk and I write and I turn those notes into content suitable for the website. Even with this assistance small business owners still find it incredibly hard to get their content together – website projects quickly extend out past the 2-3 months originally budgeted, into 6 months and 12 months and even more.
This puts me into the really tiresome position of being a “nag” asking over and over again for documents, images, stuff. “Have you done it yet?”, “Have you done it yet?”, “Have you done it yet?”, ad nauseam. One thing I have got better at is asking for payment in these situations – people are generally decent and recognize that they’re stringing me out past the time I would have expected to have been paid in full. At time of writing I have one client who has paid 100% of their fees without ever launching their site, another has paid 85% and another around 80%!
What really bugs me about this situation is that we all know money is tight for small businesses but these companies have already spent a lot of money to get almost to the finish line only to literally fall at the last hurdle. I know that if I’d spent 80% on something I’d want to get it finished and earning money back absolutely as quickly as possible.
Thinking of getting a website within the next couple of months, call 973-234-5623 today and I’d be happy to spend sometime with you describing the kind of content you should be collecting. Waiting to the last minute is a recipe for disaster.
* One of my suggestions to the attendees of the MBA program was that they start collecting content now, irrespective of what their business was and whether they even had a website.