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Letting a client know their existing website needs a serious face lift

By blckspder ·
I just took on a client who wants me to maintain and update their website... Well I took a look at the site and noticed that it is in serious need of a face lift. Several deprecated elements are being used, there is no hint of a style sheet anywhere in the whole website and the DOCTYPE is completely missing... I have talked to my client about this and they do seem to understand the importance. I was just wondering if anyone else has run into something like this and how they approached it.

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Why would a client

by NOW LEFT TR In reply to Letting a client know the ...

care about any of that.

What about - your website needs to meet accessibility standards by LAW (soon) and will fail audits and reduce your visitor numbers. You are also potentially making it harder to add any future enhancements to the site.


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Thank you

by blckspder In reply to Why would a client

That is a good way to put it... I hadn't thought of the accessibility standards as a reason. I was focusing on the terrible coding lol. Thanks I will use that.

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No problem seen

by pj808 In reply to Letting a client know the ...

You were hired to upgrade and maintain (should be in that order). Your client doesn't care about anything you stated (really). They care about Looks, Content, Functionality and Cost (and not necessarily in that order). No problem seen.

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Bringing the client current...would it improve user experience?

by dcdigital72 In reply to Letting a client know the ...

...if so, can you phrase it as "{client name}, I know you've
been using the site in it's current state for a while, but I
believe your visitor experience has become a little
outdated, and is noticeably less than what people expect
on the web these days. That said, online - impression is
everything. I'm afraid that your current website is not
as effective as it could be....and as a result some people
are probably bypassing you that might otherwise be
interested. I'd like to recommend that, in order to begin
capturing the visitor interest that is likely being lost with
your current website design and architecture, we do....."
You fill in the rest. If a client doesn't respond to
something like that, then they don't really care about their
web presence/business...and it's likely not worth your
time to push further.

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I have been in the same situation....

by mathias_r2 In reply to Letting a client know the ...

I currently have several different clients with whom I had the same situation. My approach has been this: If a client comes to me for a quote, I show them my whole array of services related to that technology (site building, maintenance, etc.). If they only want me to do maintenance and content updates after seeing what I have to offer, then I take a look at their code to see how much effort it will take to maintain. Most of the sites that I have taken on have been very poorly written, no CSS, tags left open all over the place, depreciated elements all over the place, useless editor-added scripts, etc.. I take that into consideration when I give a quote. If they hire me, as I perform maintenance and updates I fix any problems and deficiencies that I find. So far I have not run into a situation where I could not recode a site cleanly and to standards and not maintain the "face" in it's original state. This serves two purposes - it makes my job easier and the client stays happy. As you update the site and it becomes easier for you, you can start giving the client loyalty discounts or anniversary discounts or whatever else you want to market them as, which make them happy. A happy client is a good client! Usually every 3 months or so I run a "site building special" and include a little flyer with my monthly bill that gives addresses of some example sites that I have built showcasing my abilities, and a run down of the technology that I can offer. I used to use the "well your site really needs to be updated because of blah, blah, blah..." approach - it rarely worked and I am sure that I lost clients because of it. Using this other approach I currently maintain 14 sites, 9 of which I ended up redesigning their whole site by luring them in with one of my flyers after being hired for maintenance only. I don't think that's too bad for a part-time job. Anyhow, just my 2 cents.

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Thats a

by blckspder In reply to I have been in the same s ...

really good idea. I think I am going to try that approach. Thanks for the help.

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Paint a Clear Picture

by YourAverageManager In reply to Letting a client know the ...

The client?s risk is making a poor financial investment. Investing resources (time and dollars) on a dead end path means that the investment is lost when they realize at a later date that they need to achieve goals that are unattainable along the facelift maintenance path. The business case that you present must help decision-makers realize sooner rather than later the risks by identifying unattainable goals when proceeding down the facelift path. Thus, your first task is to interview the stakeholders and discover their goals. Your presentation proposal identifies the present point ?A?, and Options ?B-facelift?, and Option ?C-New?. It reduces down to identifying achievable tactics in response to their identified goals. Paint a clear picture with your proposal and plan.

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how to tell a client

by Jaqui In reply to Letting a client know the ...

that their site needs a serious facelift?

try how to tell a client that their site is in need of a complete rewrite when they ask for a facelift, that's the issue I have in front of me.

yup, it has a doctype.
yup it has css in it [ 4 different files ]
but it has no style, it's as blah as stale bread.

there is no presence / identity on the site.
the layout isn't really conducive to people browsing it.

since they asked for it to have a new look, making the changes needed isn't an issue, it's getting them to understand why some of the changes are needed.
[ html4.0 loose dtd? .. with CSS? ]

What I did was point hem to a few sites that show the types of things that can be done, so thet they can pick something they like, and I can have some clue as to what will make them happy with the resulting look.

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by blckspder In reply to how to tell a client

are all great suggestions. I am glad I posted this. I have a planned conference call with the person this weekend and I am definitely gonna change the way I was approaching the issue. Hopefully I can get some results... Thanks again.

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Simply say it...

by Duggeek In reply to Letting a client know the ...

Like, "Your site could certainly use an update." I like to use car metaphors when I can; "The finish is fading, it needs new upholstery and it's just a mess under the hood."

Of course, remember that your client is a "layman" with the behind-the-scenes stuff. To a client, there's only two important things about a web presence; how it looks and what it does.

I work on sites for the financial world; mortgages mostly. I work with brokers, bankers, realtors and other high-finance types every day. About 1 in 100 would actually have a clue as to what I'm doing to improve or maintain their site... and that's OK.

You can never really over-estimate how picky your customer will be with the look of the site... then again, others simply delegate to my expertise. You never know, until you get to know your client.

The plain truth is, the site should become your best results according to your client's vision. Focus on the positive points of change; a new "face", improved features, higher search rankings (recently updated pages do get the spider's attention!) and a better chance at being noticed.

I wish I could tell you what to say, but it's pointless. Those would be my words coming out of your mouth.

Take your expertise and give it a voice that your client can understand. Let him (or her) know that you are the one that will make the difference between a forgettable "tetris-pieces" site and a truly innovative source of information and services.

When you can marry all best-practice techniques with a design that your client loves more than their own mother's face, you've got a winner.

- Doug

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