When you dive into a website design project, you can finally let your creativity and expertise shine. However, if you’re like most freelancers, eventually you are going to get stuck as you weigh the tool options for the project. Even worse, you might end up choosing a tool for the project that doesn’t give the client the results they need for the project. Don’t worry – it happens to the best of us.
Perhaps the biggest mistakes freelancers run into when it comes to choosing the correct tool for a website project is either sticking with only one type of tool for everything or not taking the time to listen to the project goals. Here are a few questions to consider as you thoughtfully ease into a project.
Do I Only Use Specific Tools All the Time?
You’ve probably heard it before from your peers who say things like, “I only work in WordPress” or “I never do chat boxes”. While specializing in certain tools is certainly helpful over the course of your career and opens doors for those who want to work with an expert, if you automatically go to those tools every time, you could be missing out on the bigger picture of a project.
You can be an expert in WordPress while still considering other options that will meet the client’s goals for the project.
Am I Asking Enough Questions?
Clients can’t always request specific tools by name. Instead, clients can tell you what they need the website to do. Be sure you are asking the right questions so that you can understand the business, what it does, how it connects with customers, and what the goals are for the project. If you are unclear or unsure, it is best not to guess. Instead, ask more questions so that you can use those answers to find the right tool or tools that will elevate the customer experience as well as give the client the results they want.
Am I Offering Options?
While clients are typically not tech-savvy enough to request a tool by name, they can tell you if a tool will be helpful. For example, a client can tell you if they think a chat box will be beneficial to answering questions in real-time for customers or if they would prefer a pop-up box instead that prompts the client to send an email. You can give the pros and cons of each option as well as listen to the discussion about the tools; this can help you brainstorm and find the best option to recommend for the project.
Is the Tool Within My Budget?
Finally, be sure that the tool you are looking at is within your projected budget both time-wise and money-wise. By establishing the client needs up front via the scoping process, you’ll avoid having budget issues in the long-run because you have already quoted for the right tool for the job.
What Does the Scope of Work Say?
When in doubt, return to the scope of work document that you and the client agreed to. This document can guide you throughout the creative and implementation process. You can double-check any specifications or requests here and execute those while designing the project.
Remember, your scoping process should be thorough so you can get the information you need to deliver a project that will meet client needs and expectations. When you thoroughly scope a project, the information you gather during the process will help you determine which tool is the best. By taking the time to ask good questions upfront during the scoping process, you save time later because you will know exactly what the client needs and what tool can meet the challenge.
A well-done scoping process will also ensure you and the client are on the same page for the project, the project goals, the timeline, and the cost.