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Website Content - to whom the task?
Webmaster, or Client?
Josefu




msg:4535848
 8:31 am on Jan 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hello,

I'm in a bit of a quandary: Until now I have done quite a few commercial and portfolio websites - where either the text is minimal or the product content is the main content - but here I been asked to do a website for a service-oriented business that doesn't sell any product at all. All that is important in the website is the company name and contact info that would appear on the landing page.

The problem is, if my (potential) client wants to appear high in search results, his site has to (at least) contain quality content that matches/betters that of his competitors. Yet he is asking ~me~ to write the text about a trade I do not know, and in a language that is not natively my own.

Our negotiations are beginning to wear thin - what would you do in this sort of situation?

 

htmlbasictutor




msg:4537025
 5:45 am on Jan 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

First of all, what is in your contract with them. If writing content is not included then tell them you will hire a copywriter that writes in the chosen language as an extra.

If that's a no go:
-just do it the way they want it w/ a note I told you this won't work
-walk away

lucy24




msg:4537036
 6:29 am on Jan 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

You did say "potential" client, right? And "negotiations"? You don't sound very enthusiastic about the situation. How hungry are you?

Josefu




msg:4537756
 8:30 pm on Jan 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hey, thanks for the replies - sorry for not getting back to you sooner.

I'm hungry, but I do have to maintain some level of honesty - the guy is hoping to be 'found' on the internet (bringing him lots of business), but I can't seem to make him understand that if he doesn't provide serious quality content he shouldn't even bother paying for a website because he won't appear on even the first page of results. People looking for his sort of services ~call~ the first results (in their area) they find.

Hoople




msg:4537758
 8:37 pm on Jan 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

what would you do in this sort of situation?
Fire the customer and move on. The hit on your reputation (and sanity) would exist long after the site's completion.
MichaelBluejay




msg:4539345
 8:19 pm on Jan 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

This is a familiar tale. The client doesn't realize that having a website designed and getting it to rank well are TWO SEPARATE SERVICES. It also seems like you might not have been good at explaining that distinction.

Back when I did web-for-hire, a large number of my clients seemed to just expect that I would get them to rank well. I started adding SEO as an optional add-on, but then I stopped doing that, as it didn't seem right for me to help websites rank well that didn't *deserve* to rank well.

My suggestion: Give him a price for designing the website and a *SEPARATE* price for the SEO. Make the price of the SEO astronomical (to show the client that it's really a separate service, and because it will indeed be hard for you to get the text written and get them to rank well), but give them a guarantee. (e.g., Rank in the top A results in Google for B out of C search queries within D months. After you achieve that, there's either no continuing guarantee, or you charge a monthly fee for maintenance to maintain the rankings, and if the rankings drop out of the guaranteed range then you refund E months of maintenance fees.

LifeinAsia




msg:4539351
 8:31 pm on Jan 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

a service-oriented business that doesn't sell any product at all.
Not at all true- the company's services are its "products." Unless the company's focus is incredibly narrow, there should be several pages of content describing their various services, customer testimonials, etc.

All that is important in the website is the company name and contact info that would appear on the landing page.
That sounds incredibly short-sighted on someone's part. A discussion between a potential client and web site developer should include the many reasons why this is simply not true.

Now, if the potential customer still feels this way after you have talked to him, run away fast and don't look back. A client who is completely clueless about his needs is a client who will NEVER be satisfied.

buckworks




msg:4539354
 8:36 pm on Jan 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

if he doesn't provide serious quality content he shouldn't even bother paying for a website


It might be more realistic if the client (and you) approached this with the mindset that the site would need to be promoted via PPC and other methods, rather than counting on organic rankings to bring traffic.

A well designed site can be very effective for sales even if the search engines aren't impressed.

wheel




msg:4539373
 9:33 pm on Jan 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

Don't turn him down. Merely quote him the price you need to either outsource the content so that it is written extremely well, or the time it'll take you do do the research to write the content extremely well. Don't shortchange yourself on this - make some money. But don't just say no. Offer him a price, and let him make the choice to tell you no.

However, one other thing. You said:
All that is important in the website is the company name and contact info that would appear on the landing page.

No. All that is important is company name, contact info, and a form that lets them request a call back. Missing that form is going to let 90% of his traffic dribble away to the competitors. And I'd put the contact form as more important than their contact information, particularly for a service oriented business.

And don't neglect LifeinAsia's points either. They're all important. And by important, I mean, they make money. That's important right? :).

The three posts preceding mine are pretty exactly what you should be reviewing and considering.

Josefu




msg:4540257
 6:28 pm on Jan 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thank you all for your insightful replies! Perhaps my description of my (ex) client's business was vague - he renovates apartments and commercial spaces, and installs air-conditioning. He sells no product of his own on his website: without exception, the client will have to call (or write) to order a visit to estimate the value of the work to be done before any 'sale' can be made. One looking for such a service will most likely click on the first results that appear in the search engine results, rather than clicking through to page two and beyond... unless he knows the company already. On second thought, in this light, the company name/logo isn't even important.

wheel




msg:4540305
 8:27 pm on Jan 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

One looking for such a service will most likely click on the first results that appear in the search engine results, rather than clicking through to page two and beyond... unless he knows the company already. On second thought, in this light, the company name/logo isn't even important.

You know what assume spells, right?

The business you describe is not unique, it's no different than any of a million other service businesses. Plumbers, lawyers, etc.

So provide a full website and make sure that contact info is prominent on every single page. * Prominent *. And make sure there's a prominent contact form on every page. That's how service busineses make sales - clients visit the page and call or fill out a form.

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