When you initially quote a project for a prospective client, do you factor content delays into the equation? No, of course, you don’t. That’s because a content delay shouldn’t even be something to contend with at this point in your career.
You provide a valuable service to your clients and you expect to be compensated well for it. However, content delays can seriously mess that up.
The thing is, it doesn’t have to get to that point. There are very clear signs that your project may be headed for a breakdown. Learn what they are, so you can develop processes that help you avoid them in the future.
Watch Out For These 7 Content Delay Tactics
Telling clients that you require content first thing and then holding them accountable to it can be difficult if you’ve never been in this position before. But if a client is as dedicated to the project as you are (and they should be since it’s their website), they should understand the importance of a content-first approach and be willing to do their part.
That said, this won’t always be the case. Which is why you have to watch closely for these content delay tactics that could lead the project to fail.
“Contract looks good; just haven’t had time to sign yet.”
Unless you have a 100-page contract that’s giving your client the rights to your first-born child, there’s no reason why it can’t be signed after a quick read-through.
A WordPress contract includes the essentials to cover your a$$ as well as the client’s. They should be eager to sign it and get started.
If they’re asking you to start without one in place, there’s something wrong. And if they’re willing to ask you to work without a contract, you know they’re going to stretch the limits of what they can get away with - including the delivery of content.
“Not sure where the login details are. I think [some person you don’t know] might have them.”
Login credentials might not seem like a necessity at the start of a project, but think of how quickly those projects fly by.
Before you know it, the WordPress site has been developed and it’s still sitting on your personal server at the near-end of the project. Everything is QA’ed. Heck, the client has even approved everything and asked you to launch - and they’re in a hurry to do it. But they’ve yet to provide you with their domain, hosting or SFTP credentials.
Most commonly, they haven’t given you credentials because they’re dragging their feet on contacting the one person who does have them. And, if that’s the case, you probably shouldn’t take the job. If the last person who worked on the site parted on bad terms, you’re in for quite a (costly and stressful) ride.
“Use the content from the current site for now. We’ll get you new content soon.”
There’s one big problem with this:
You’re redesigning the website for a reason.
If you were to use the current content--that either isn’t any good or doesn’t align with the new goals for the site--the design and functionality you build around it are bound to miss the mark.
Your client is probably thinking, “How hard is it to change some colours or move those boxy-things around?” But you understand there’s a lot more to reconfiguring a website around content than a simple click of a button. Make sure the content you use and/or receive from them is the final cut, so you can prevent these unnecessary reworks later.
“It’s the only format we have. Hope this works!”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever received logos or other imagery that’s been pasted into a Word document. Or saved in a PDF. Or that have clearly been ripped from a Google Images search.
Don’t be afraid to bounce these back to the client. If they had a bonafide designer or photographer create their visual content, then they can certainly go back and ask them for the web-friendly source files.
“Can we just add a couple more pages / make a few more changes?”
In this case, the client has actually taken the time to write content for their WordPress site and have delivered it on time. However, the contract the two of you signed did not account for additional pages. Or for revisions to the content they sent you a month ago.
If you budge on this and add the unexpected content to the site, you’ll show them that you’re willing to do more than what was promised. Then the small favours that they ask will only grow from there; inevitably eating away at your profit margin until there’s not much left.
“We don’t want to hold up the project anymore. Would you mind working your magic on this?”
Now, this one is straight-up annoying. You already had that talk with the client--on multiple occasions--about what they need to deliver and when. They assured you they would create their own content for the site, but now they’re either sending you an incomplete mess of notes or sloppily written content or they’re putting this on you now to create.
If this wasn’t part of the project scope, don’t grudgingly accept the work just so you can get the project done on time. Recite the rules for what they were required to deliver and create a new contract that covers the additional work you (or your outsourced writer or proofreader) will have to do.
You have a seemingly excited client on your hands. You’ve onboarded them. And then… nothing. The last time you spoke was when you reiterated the project timeline and provided the client with a due date for content. That’s when everything went quiet.
So long as you have an abandonment clause and fee built into your contract, this one shouldn’t result in a loss for your business. However, if you haven’t accounted for this possibility and the client pulls a disappearing act, you could end up swallowing the costs of the initial work.
It will also cost you if they resurface and expect you to pick up right where you left off. At which time, they’ll probably ask you to get started without the content so you don’t have to wait on them again.
Don’t. Do. It.
While there are certainly ways to get around missing content and logins from clients, there can be serious consequences that result from not collecting content before a project begins.
Profit margins shrink. Your attention to other clients’ projects is diverted. Last-minute scrambling leaves you feeling burnt out. Clients disappear and you’re stuck footing the bill.
So, don’t put yourself in that position. Have a contract you’re willing to enforce. Set deadlines you’re willing to hold clients to and create an onboarding process that’s user-friendly and ensures you get everything you need before you begin.