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  1. #1
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    1st Job - Client Meeting - What do I ask?

    I am working with a client (family friend) and doing their website for free for knowledge and experience. I am meeting with him to talk about design and features pertaining to the website. I know for a fact that this is a Bar and Grill web design with lodging and located on the lake.

    First course of business is laying out a site map to start with. We know its going to be tableless CSS and going to be consisting of a max of 10 pages.

    My question is what other questions or course of business should i be asking my client during our meeting? I don't want to leave him short and Im looking for professional opinions. After all, this is a forum where beginners get their start and that is what Im looking for, to get off my feet.

    Thanks in advance.
    Buck

  2. #2
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Why do you want a website? That may seem like a strange question but if your client can't answer it you have a long haul ahead.
    There are three kinds of men:
    The ones that learn by reading.
    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  3. #3
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    That's a lot of work for you to do it for free. I did a free site, but it was for a non-profit that has been a big help to a family member. You should get something more for your work, not just the knowledge and experience. If you've already promised it for free and can't change that, then you should get credit links on all the pages. And a free vacation. And free beer.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    Ooook - I did a couple of jobs for free when I first started out just to get stuff in my portfolio.

    One thing I'd say is that you need to be very very clear (and by that I mean in writing) EXACTLY what you're doing for free and what you won't do for free. Otherwise you'll find yourself editing the site in 3 years, still for free and feeling hard-done-by when the "client" won't know anything's wrong or they'll assume that because you did it for free it's less valuable.

    Set out when you'll start charging and for what so they know upfront - even do out a normal invoice stating what you'd normally charge for doing the whole site and then have a discount on it - just so they get the idea that what you're doing is valuable.

    It might sound unpleasant (especially with family and friends) but you'll just have to trust me on this - seriously, get an agreement in writing. Working for friends and family usually turns out to be a pain at the best of times. Working for free for them...
    Little Blue Plane Web Design
    Blood, Sweat & Rust - A Land Rover restoration project

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    Tailside makes some good points so take heed!

    As you're doing it for free resist the temptation to build an all singing all dancing site - keep it simple, perhaps 4 or 5 static pages at most. If they ask for something "advanced" like updating their own menus tell them that will be charagable because you will incur costs and extra time.

    As for what questions to ask...

    mobyme's question (good one!)
    Who is the intended audience?
    Who would a typical visitor want to do on the site? (ie see a menu, find out where the bar is located)
    What impression the site should give to the first time visitor?

  6. #6
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    I'm not sure about what to ask about design aspects except for color, but as far as content goes, I use a content questionnaire to help me find out a little about a client's business and the direction he/she wants the site to take. You can see the truncated version here or download the MS Word version that is in a "form" format. (Its free)
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  7. #7
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    Clarification

    All very good suggestions guys. Thanks for your help.

    I am doing this for a family friend that has sponsored our softball team year in and year out. Although I say I am doing it for free I haven't discussed price with her. She is very kind and will probably pay me for the work I have done but I am doing this to start my portfolio. I have 3 other sites already lined up for local businesses that I will charge them for, at a discounted rate since Im a rookie, and go from there.

    My question was going into the meeting with this family friend its a casual atmosphere. We are going over the site map first and then a timeline for completion. Along with that we have to discuss pictures that were used on their previous design and how I am going to revamp them. (since it is a Summer only resort, I have to take the pictures they previously have an enhance them to web standards. Once summer rolls around again we would take better ones.)

    What other questions do you ask? Design related? Colors?

    few other questions if someone can guide me.

    After design in dreamweaver, what program can the client use to edit the infomation and keep the design? There will be a calendar of events posted monthly and will need updating.

    Also, can someone please give me a source for how much they charge? By Hour? By page? By job?

    Thank you all again. This was a lift and Im excited to start on this.

    Buck

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bucklib View Post
    What other questions do you ask? Design related? Colors?

    few other questions if someone can guide me.

    After design in dreamweaver, what program can the client use to edit the infomation and keep the design? There will be a calendar of events posted monthly and will need updating.

    Also, can someone please give me a source for how much they charge? By Hour? By page? By job?
    Colours - I'd suggest doing some research on colours and their meanings. Colour can be very subjective and mood orientated so choosing a colour scheme needs to be done carefully. Discuss it and get ideas from them, but be prepared to offer your own ideas.

    Editing content - this is where you start charging IMHO. If the client is to do this you'll need some sort of application that you set up on the site so they can login and update stuff. You could probably find a free calendar application for them or even write your own (but at this stage it's porbably too early to start devling into programming.

    Charging - we can't discuss specific pricing here but you need to agree a method with the client. Try to find out how much work is involved for each monthly update and make a decision based on that. Remember it's you that will be doing the work and you have to earn enough to cover your time. It can be a hit and miss affair as to how/what to charge but when you've got a few clients under your belt you'll soon get a feel for it. Try not to undervalue yourself!


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