The power of being in control of your content
No matter if you create a website for a client or if you run your own: You probably already know what the site should communicate. If you don‘t - get back to your desk and overthink if it is really a good plan to drive without knowing the direction.
As professionals anyhow, we know what we get ourselfs into, when we integrate Content Management Systems for our clients to enable them to manage their content by themselves. In the first place this means you have (in most cases) no control at all of the overall communication.
What problems this can lead to and ways how you may avoid it - right here.
A little story
Before I get into details, here‘s a little story of such a situation I ran into not too long ago:
I‘ve been working as a webdesigner in a small agency nearby, where I create several sites including CMS integration. When a site is ready to get launched, we give the client full access to his CMS administration as well as FTP access and so on.
Now, for a long time I cared less about what the client publishes on his site and how he does it, simply because I wasn‘t experienced enough to see the importance of it. Until I worked on a website where I really loved the design and impression it gave visitors. The only thing that I could not control was the content, as usual.
A few weeks after the release of the site I looked at it and I was kind of shocked: Parts of the content were still empty or sloppyly published. The majority of sections were even written in three different (and damn ugly) fonts, several text colors and so on and so for.
All of the hard work in setting up such a beautiful website seemed to be in vain, simply because the client wanted to have full control over his own content and was not willing to pay us to do it properly for him.
End of the story.
Now I know this case is an everyday situation in doing webdesign for the "middle class". But before we start despair und swear at the client, let‘s analyze what he may think:
What does the client want with his website?
Guess what: He want‘s to sell. Maybe in other cases he just want to generate conversion and draw attention to his content, but ultimately he want‘s to make money with it. Because that‘s the reason he payed your ass in the first place, buddy.
What he doesn‘t know yet, is that the content itself will not work how he wishes as long as he keeps it unprofessional. And by unprofessional I mean stuff like I mentioned above wich does not communicate anything we know from the good old AIDA principle.
For a long time this has been the curse of content management systems that we had to deal with. Nowdays we have to find new solutions to maintain great service that fulfill the needs and expectations of our clients.
So how to solve this dilemma?
The main problem is, that your client isn‘t a professional. He doesn‘t know anything about AIDA, the structuring of text or the difference that good typography makes. And to be honest, you can‘t blame him for that. Because that is not his job, it‘s yours. You just have to explain to him, that these factors are essential if he wants to reach his goals with his website.
And this is were our experience and knowledge comes into play. A client won‘t be willing to pay you to take care of his content unless he sees the benefit from it. Show your client other websites, were you already take care of the content and how that influences it‘s business.
And even if you don‘t have any ressources of your own that can demonstrate this: You still have the web. You can come up with professional content from other websites out of your clients industry. Explain how the content builts up interest and desire and how it gets visitors to take action. You should also show up the differences between a good example and the actual site of the client himself (but do so carefully, you don‘t want to insult your client, neither do you want to mediate to him that your work sucks).
The impact this makes on our own reputation
I know, i know, some of you think they‘re designers, not editors. You wan‘t to create stuff, not maintain it. But you should always remember that the condition as well as the impression your product makes, draws back a shadow on your own reputation.
The client wants his business (or at least his marketing) to just work. And as long as you can give this service on your own work to him, he should be satisfied. If he is satisfied he will come back or even recommend you to others. If he‘s not - well, you got it.
Creating a website for a client should be an ongoing service and not a one-time-product. For the benefit of both parties.