Talking with your client


One of the difficulties members sometimes experience when developing a site for clients is that the client unexpectedly requires major changes to the almost completed site just before the site is due to be released.

In some cases these changes are requested by the client because of misunderstandings regarding content, design, functionality, planning or the complexity of the site. In this article we look at the various aspects that should be discussed by the site developer and the client prior to any work commencing on the website.

This article is not intended to be a fully comprehensive guide, but gives ideas and suggestions from the Joomlabamboo team for the initial planning stage.

Talking with your client

Website building is always a collaboration between the developer and client. A site cannot be successfully constructed without this collaboration. With this in mind, the first step is to sit down with the client, learn about their organisation and discuss what is required from the finished website.

Making notes

These discussions should include aspects such as:

Discussing the business / organisation -

  • Why the company / organisation exists?
  • What is the company / organisation trying to achieve with the new website?
  • What goals does the site owner have for the site?
  • What is the client's business strategy re online and offline marketing, social media, etc?
  • There should be an overview of similar organisations or businesses.
  • How should success be quantified? Realistic goals and expectations should be discussed.
  • Regular contact between the developer and clients should be agreed.

Potential site users -

  • Who will be the main users of the site (e.g. is the site age specific)?
  • What does the site user want from the website?
  • Does the geographical location of the user matter?
  • Is specific content such as manuals, instructions, company policies, etc. required for users?

Understanding the people working with you

making notes while talking

  • Does the client have the ultimate responsibility for making decisions in the site build process? If not, who does?
  • What are the client's skills and abilities? It is important to establish the relevant skills of the client or their team.
  • What time does the client have available to manage the site once it is completed?

Content strategy

Strategy planning

  • Content inventory – is the content available and what is the quality?
  • Content gaps – what content is missing and how will this be addressed?
  • Managing content production and scheduling.
  • Looking at the best content mediums for different users and content areas.
  • Optimising content for mobile devices.
  • User generated content – managing comments and feedback.
  • How best to share content between client and developer i.e. drop box, google docs etc.?

Project time scales

Time frames

  • There should be a clear understanding of project deadlines – is the site release date tied to a date or event?
  • Project milestones should be decided by all parties involved in the project – developer, client and any subcontractor.


The website developer should be aware of the danger of feature creep, which will probably involve extra cost and adversely affect the contract deadline. It's always tempting to add small late requests onto a project as a gesture of goodwill but this can sometimes have the tendency of snowballing into larger demands.


Taking the time to meet the client and understand their business or organisation should help the project go more smoothly and reduce the risk of major last minute changes.

What is your experience of working with clients like? Do you have clients from Hell or is your selection process stringent enough to weed those kinds of clients out? If you have any suggestions, insights or experiences add them below because we would love to hear them.

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