Client / Developer Communication is a Two-Way Street
Holly Schureman, April 11, 2013
Communication between the client and developer is one of the single most important aspects of any SEO campaign. It is imperative that both sides understand where the other is coming from and what the roles and expectations of each side are. I will go over a few suggestions from both the client and the developers perspective to help break the communication barrier that gets in the way far too often. You will be surprised at how much smoother a campaign can go if both parties start the campaign with the right amount of information and a realistic expectation.
Communicating as a Web Developer is all about Gaining Trust
As a developer, it is important to understand where the client is coming from. In order to fully grasp what your clients' wants and needs are, you have to first take yourself out of the developer mindset and understand what the clients' site is all about. Always take some time to get familiar with the clients' site and business. Think about what the culture of their business is and what type of customer-base they are trying to reach. Also, research the products and services offered on the site as well…I assure you that this step will not only help you make the best decisions for your clients' site, it will also dramatically increase the amount of trust the client has for you. And that will go a long way when trying to persuade them to make certain changes.
Remember that in most cases, this site you are working on is their baby and they are very protective of it, but if you show them that you understand where they are coming from and know what they do, they will be much more inclined to listen to what you have to say.
Another thing I learned as a developer is to not rely on big fancy words and complicated technical jargon. You may think that you sound smart and are making a good impression, but the fact is that what you are saying is probably going right over their heads. If the client isn’t learning anything from you, then you are not doing your job correctly. I'm not saying that you have to use kiddie words in order for them to understand what it is you are accomplishing, just explain why you are doing it and what the benefits are of the changes you are making.
Include lengthy explanations with your suggestions and visual aides to help them understand what you are working on and how it will help their website. I promise you that they don't really care how many lines of code you had to write or what type of font you chose to style their heading tags with - they just want to know how it is going to get them the results they need.
One great thing I learned to utilize are my past success stories. Don’t be afraid to show the client other sites that you have worked on that are similar to theirs. Show them exactly what you changed and how it has affected their SEO efforts. This type of proof is exactly what they want and it is exactly what you need as a developer to show the client that they can trust your judgment.
Communicating as a Client is about Properly Expressing your Wants and Needs
As the owner of a site, you are probably really excited to get your SEO campaign started as quickly as possible. It is important that you come into the campaign with an open mind and an understanding that your developer makes every change with your best interests in mind. But at first, there will be a sort of language barrier between you and your developer. To remedy this, take some time to do a little research about the inner workings of your site. Learn about what a developer does and the types of changes you may expect to be implemented on your site. I understand that you hired a developer so you wouldn’t have to deal with the technical aspect of it all, but learning a little about what he/she does will go a long way when you're trying to express your ideas and needs.. Remember, this is your site and your campaign. You have the ultimate say in what happens. You have to be involved as much as possible. Your developer is there to help you bring those needs and wants to life, but it is up to you to properly express what those are from the very beginning.
It is also important to understand that in order to get the results you desire, you must express your ideas to your developer in as much detail as possible. Don’t be afraid to express your expectations from the very beginning, or ask questions regarding the best ways to reach your goals. Tell your developer what can and cannot be changed on your site. Take advantage of similar sites as examples of the type of resource you want your website to be for your audience.
Effective communication from both sides is the most important foundation of any SEO campaign. In order to obtain good results, both sides must understand what the expectations are of the other. When a developer and a client are working in unison, the road to success is a smooth ride.