Trust is the number one asset your business can hope to obtain. Your ability to land a project or make an up-sale is directly related to the amount of trust you have established with your client or potential client.  As their trust in you increases, so does the amount of money they are willing to invest in your services.  It is essential that you gain their trust and keep it.

Most web designers hate the sales aspect of their web design businesses.  If high-dollar clients would just fall into our laps regularly, so that we could focus on what we love doing — designing websites — then the sun would always shine and all would be right with the world.  Unfortunately, that isn’t reality.  BUT this trust factor that I am talking about is the the key to unlocking a world that comes as close as possible to that.  If you can become a “trusted advisor” (to use a modern cliche), you won’t have to use sales-speak any more, which will allow you to sleep more soundly at night.  This is another way that you can be more than just a web designer to your clients, like I talked about in my last post.

There are a lot of great ways to gain influence and trust with your clients, and defining a web design project upfront is one way to accomplish this.  However, there are also some quick and easy ways to lose the trust that you have worked so hard to gain!  I’ll use the rest of this post to describe how to avoid a huge pitfall that can cause you to lose your client’s trust.

“Trust is like a vase.. once it’s broken, though you can fix it, the vase will never be the same again.”

Quality speaks to the character of your brand

The things that we produce with our own hands are a reflection of who we are.  A piece of us goes into each website we create, graphic we design, or script that we write.  Thus, your clients will judge you by the quality of your work.  If you hand something over to them that has obvious mistakes, errors, bugs, etc., your client will see that as a sign of who you are and begin to lose faith in your services.

Quality is not something that can be faked.  I am not saying that as web designers we should all be perfectionists; in fact, perfectionism can be the kiss of death to a web design project.  However, we can achieve a good balance between producing quality websites and knowing when to declare something “good enough.”  Everyone in design needs to find this balance.

If you don’t learn when to call something good enough, you may produce amazing websites, but the projects will be so long and drawn out that you won’t be able to complete enough work to make a living and will find it isn’t sustainable.  On the other hand, if you pump out website after website that are mediocre and unoriginal, this won’t be sustainable, either, because it tarnishes your reputation and eliminates repeat customers, leaving you constantly searching for new leads.  Each of these extremes are unsatisfying in their own way. Satisfaction is found in completing a well-done project.  Some degree of satisfaction is lost when either the “completing” or the “well-done” side of the equation is out of balance.

Never let your client become your tester

The unfortunate part of web design is that is it necessary to test many different variables in many different environments.  If all it took was clicking once through a website in whatever your default browser is, then it would be easy; but it is much more complicated than that.  This is why web designers and web developers need a simple and easy process to ensure the quality of their websites.  By quality I mean that you aren’t handing over a broken website to a customer without realizing it.

Without a set process you WILL show a buggy site to a client

I have seen it happen dozens of times. A designer thinks they have tested everything on a site, only to have the client point out a glaring mistake in a browser the designer forgot to test in, or on a page they forgot to look at.  It is human nature to assume that what we created will actually do what we intended it to do, or that one change won’t have an affect on anything else.

Poor quality control wastes both time and money for your clients

I had one client tell me that one of my designers cost them over $2,000 in time that the client had to spend testing the site because the designer wasn’t doing an adequate job.  Obviously, we lost a lot of trust with this client.  We also promptly instituted some defined processes to make sure it didn’t happen again.

“When you compromise (quality), you become a commodity and then you die.”

-Gary Hirshberg

What sets the pros apart from the amateurs

Misaligned graphics, inconsistent fonts and sizes, forms that give a 404 error — all of these things happen to the best of us.  What sets the pros apart from the amateurs is who catches the mistake.  A professional web designer systematically reviews their work before passing it to a client to see; amateurs are sloppy and assume that everything went to plan.  Clients notice this lack of attention to detail, and every time they catch an error that you didn’t, it decreases the amount of trust they have in you and the corresponding level of influence that you have on them.

Web Design Quality Control Made Easy

Fortunately, I have an answer to the challenge of ensuring consistent quality in your websites!  Here at Web Design Business Builder, we have been working our fingers to the bone to put together a guide and checklist that will provide you with a comprehensive and consistent process to ensure that you don’t make common mistakes, or at least that you catch them before giving the site to your client to view.  You can download your free copy of the “Web Design Quality Control Made Easy” guide, which includes a comprehensive quality checklist, by signing up for my newsletter on the right-hand side of the page.